Here’s Something I Haven’t Used in a While

A travel bag with a ukulele on top of it.

No, not the ukulele. I use that all the time. The travel bag! Krissy and I are doing a weekend getaway, and in doing so it’ll be the first time in (counts) at least fifteen months that I will have traveled more than 15 miles from my house. I hardly know what to do with myself!

No, I’m actually serious about that, it’s been a really long time since I’ve seen people who aren’t actually family members. We will see if I can still, you know, socialize. Don’t worry, we are vaccinated, as is everyone we’re planning to spend time with. I’m not worried about catching things. I’m worried about making small talk.

How about you? Any travel planned? Are you ready to deal with people again?

— JS

42 Comments on “Here’s Something I Haven’t Used in a While”

  1. I’ve got an overnight planned for mid-fall and a longer road trip after that. I already have travel anxiety.

  2. We are fully vaccinated, did a short trip last month, and it was really kind of bizarre. It was awesome to see friends again, but we were far more chatty than usual – it was as if we had fifteen months’ worth of pent-up babble to unleash, and our poor friends were the target. We noticed that they were more talkative than usual as well, so I think that might be a common response.

    In any case, I wish you both safe travels and lots of fun!

  3. First trip is to visit a dear friend whose sobriety lapsed during COVID isolation, and who was hospitalized. Two weeks of helping him return home with the services and support he needs. It hasn’t been fun, and it’s made much less fun by our society’s lack of investing in health care and community services.

  4. I’m fully vaccinated – I’m going to travel out to Maryland to see family and do a little sightseeing with my daughter.

  5. Just barely double vaxxed here (hasn’t been two weeks yet), but it’s hard to imagine being with other people while unmasked (especially indoors) just yet.

  6. We spent a week with family earlier this month. Took along a couple of games (Uno Flip and Cards Against Humanity). My family scoffed at first, but it is a great way to get people sitting together and talking. Worked really well. Not for everyone, probably. It was a low pressure way to give us something to do while talking. Cooking would work too, but that wasn’t an option.

  7. I spent the pandemic months working at Trader Joe’s. I can do small talk for hours on end.

    My goal is to see fewer people.

  8. Did a family vacation in the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge/Sevierville, TN, area a couple weeks back. Spent the entire time in a cabin in the woods, as everything we thought about doing outside of that was way too people-y. ;)

  9. One of my siblings is organizing a family vacation on the Outer Banks of North Carolina the second week of September.

  10. YAY Skedaddlesaurus bag! I’m looking forward to finally using mine. Hope you have a wonderful time!

  11. Wear a mask by all means, if it makes your feel comfortable, or if required by your location, but remember, the mask does not protect you, it protects others by keeping your sneezes, coughs, etc. contained should you happen to be infected. As ever, best to be vaccinated. Safe travels, everyone.

  12. Sadly, it seems we are not only influenced by our circumstances but, to some degree, even trained by them. After a few minutes in the presence of good friends I start getting this internal voice suggesting we need to wrap this up because it’s risky behavior. But then, parting seems to take a lot longer. A real conflict for me. Have a great trip and try to enjoy the change!

  13. We have made a few trips to Chicago to visit our son, daughter-in-law and grandson. Everyone vaccinated. But we were tripped up by daycare. Safe from covid, but not norovirus. We need to remember daycare is a human petri dish.

  14. We did a beach trip last September. I also wouldn’t mind doing a trip up to the mountains. Hubs is going to NJ. If he doesn’t bring me back 1 Black & White cookie – D I V O R C E !

  15. I have four different trips to Yosemite planned this summer – two hotel/ day hike trips and two backpacking trips. Part of the fallout of the various isolation/ quarantine rules is that the park is limiting the number of visitors each day, so it will be less crowded than it normally would be in the summer! Plus, hiking (particularly the solo and small group hiking I’ll be doing) is relatively risk free. I’m still not a the point of having my mask off at stores or places like that, despite being fully vaccinated for months.

  16. Well, now that you mention it…we’ve been home pretty much for 15 months straight since we returned from Florida the end of March 2020. Next week we are taking our first trip out of Brooklyn, going to see cousins in Connecticut and going with them to Boston and the Cape of Cod (as Radar called it). Not particularly looking forward to the drive but otherwise, it should be fun!

    Have fun.

  17. When I left my hometown (medium-sized german city) a few weeks ago for the first time in ten months, I was overwhelmed by how far you can look. Months and months of nothing but urban blocks and parks. But no far view to the horizon. Only when I had the view over the landscape again did I realize how much I had missed it.

  18. We’re getting on an actual PLANE in less than 2 weeks and flying to see my parents in SC. I haven’t seen them in almost two years now. I’m nervous, but I’m also ready to get on with our lives now that we’re vaccinated.

  19. Great taste in bags! I have the smaller tote, and have been using it as a purse.

    As for travel, I have an overnight scheduled for October, but everything else has been local, here in my heavily vaccinated state.

  20. We’re going to Rehoboth Beach for my spouse’s 60th in October. And we’re starting to dine out again and see friends. It’s so good to hug people again.

    Fingers crossed that Scotland will be fully open again in 2022, so we can finally go to the Orkneys- a trip we originally planned for 2020.

  21. So far, I feel very weird in public without a mask, and carry it around like a security blanket. Going to the Berkshires next month. We’ll see how that goes.

  22. The pandemic was hard for me as I’m an extrovert you see. There was a time during the last 14 months that really got to me and made me depressed. Am I ready to go out, without question, have I been? Yes. Not wearing a mask is odd but I’m getting used to it again. (Even though I am an out door guy and spend most of my time without one on but I’m usually by myself not with others) Someone smiled at me the other day and I liked it. Although it could have been a grimace, I don’t really know, It’s been so long I forgot what a smile is.

  23. We bought a small camper in June 2020 and camped about 30 nights last summer and fall, mostly KOAs and state parks. It was the perfect pandemic travel option, so perfect that 100,000 people that had never camped a day in their lives bought expensive campers to get out of the house.

    In other news, there are a lot of very lightly used campers for sale right now!

    We did a week in Gatlinburg, TN last month and will be camping about every other week all summer. We still mostly keep to ourselves camping, but it is nice to be able to chat with neighboring campers this year. And extra nice to feel comfortable eating out or stopping by a local brewpub if the mood strikes.

  24. That’s a Calamitryware bag, right? Love their things- wacky and well-made. Perfect for a quick getaway!

  25. We actually just took a trip down to FL for a few days to visit my dad and stepmom, since we hadn’t seen them in person since December 2019. Everyone is vaxxed except for my son (too young) and we were in one of the relatively saner parts of the state (i.e. a part that elects Democrats to the House), but just to be sure he and I are getting tested tomorrow morning.

    Also recently we went to a friend’s house for a playdate with her daughter, and actually had a friend over to our house to perform a song with me during Balticon.

  26. Same thing here, for the first time getting down luggage from storage and invoking the do-in-one’s-sleep ritual of actions, including laundry, for getting on a plane, while having way too many obligations to take care of in the time before going out of always available for communication several days in a row.

    Ay-up — getting on a plane again for the first time since February 2020. This isn’t a get-away though — it’s work.

    Get-aways are next month, to Newport, and August, to Saratoga.

  27. A ritzy hotel, (glass Star Trek style doors) that is all booked for July, still has some half-price rooms for the last days of June. I am booked and going. No fears to report. I am traveling to see an art show in walking distance; I have a timed ticket.

    How ritzy? The shower is a walk-in ROOM. A HUGE room.

  28. I was working all through the pandemic, and work-from-home wasn’t an option. So for me, the only change is how often I need to wash my mask.
    Family trip to Colorado planned for late September, followed by a short trip to Kansas City with a friend to see the Auschwitz exhibit at Union Station. The KC trip could be interesting, because the friend in question has been seriously isolating since the first cases showed up around here. She’ll probably have more trouble adjusting.

  29. We’ll yes, I shall be heading out to the back garden to sit in the shade of a Douglas Fir and read. Daring, I know. I’ve stayed within 10 miles of the house for 15 months, going out very rarely, and am happy, so no travel plans.

    Those who do, be safe, careful, have fun.

  30. Good for you. I am planning a 3 week trip to Scotland to see a good friend that I have not seen in 5+ years and I am going to walk across the country!!!

  31. …Basically all of Arizona is on fire. I have thus replanned my upcoming hiking vacation like 4 times now.

  32. I never stopped. Traveling essential worker. But in January, after 56 airports and 47 airplanes, I too got vaccinated. Now at least I’m not getting nauseous for 24hrs before each flight.
    Enjoy your trip!!!

  33. Yes! In a couple weeks we’re driving 300 miles to see some old friends (also vaccinated). No particular reason, just the easiest out of town trip we can think of, on top of the pleasures that this particular trip will entail.
    I’m less concerned about small talk – I’ve conversed with these folks by e-mail and Zoom over the interim – than in seeing how my health holds up. The isolation of the pandemic has been difficult on me in that respect.

  34. Dear John,

    Based on my experience so far, making small talk is NOT going to be your problem. Stopping will be your problem.

    I made my first post-vax trip two months ago, a long weekend in the Twin Cities to see two sweeties I hadn’t seen in 15 months. I’m right now in the midst of my second trip, this time 11 days in the Twin Cites, seeing them and a whole lot of other people I haven’t seen TWO EFFIN’ YEARS!

    Al of us are experiencing exactly the same phenomenon, which I have dubbed Post-Plague Chat Syndrome. We all have a year and a half (give or take) worth of pent-up social-interaction energy to discharge, and it just comes pouring out in an unstoppable flood.

    Learning how to chat has most definitely NOT been a problem. Shutting it down before one is completely exhausted (mentall/physically/whatever) is.

    To quote from Auntie Mame: “Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death.”

    I heartily concur, but would add, “It is important to avoid overeating!”

    I thin you’ll be surprised, happily, but monitor yourself more than usual to make sure you don’t overrun your energy.

    Have fun!!!

    pax, Ctein

    (who is also going to DC in December)

  35. Conventions have always been a Big Deal for me, and two weeks ago I went to my first con in almost two years. Wonderfest, in Louisville, Ky, is a sci-fi / horror modeling convention, (as in plastic models, not the runway kind). I don’t get to go to Wonderfest every year, and last year I was all set to go after a long hiatus, when everything came to a halt. I’ve been vaccinated for months, as are the friends we travel with. Still we wore masks all through the con, and happily so. And it was Glorious! To be able to do this again has been so much better than I’d imagined.

  36. I’m currently waiting on my flight home in O’Hare. We spent two weeks in Alaska. Alaska is a bucket-list trip and the 49th state we’ve visited as a family.

    The family is 7/8th vaccinated, with the youngest child due for their last shot next week.

  37. Planning on an East Coast trip this fall; we did one very short trip last month to see relatives, but the cabin fever is still strong. It will be nice to see people we haven’t seen for years in some cases, or only over e-mail/Zoom in others (online gaming friends).

  38. We are all fully vaccinated, 13yo got his 2nd shot last month. Prior to that our youngest did remote learning, we did not dine out, did not travel and masked up always. Since getting fully vaccinated we have been to visit family both in Ohio and Tx, been to Orlando, wife and I went to Austin, going to Santa Fe in a few weeks and Maui next month.
    If we go somewhere that requires or requests masks we mask up. Other than that, don’t wear them

  39. We drove to Melbourne from Sydney (9hr almost 900km drive) at Easter school holidays to see my sister and her family.
    It was great the kids had so much fun with their cousins.

    But their return visit isn’t happen because Sydney is back in a Sydney basin wide Lockdown and the state of Vic has rightfully shut their borders to NSW.
    We will make do with FaceTime and good old snail mail.
    Our kids have loved getting post in the mail and have become letter writers, Posting letters, stories, notes, packages and pictures to each other.

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