Vacationing Pandemic style – in isolation.

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Summer is a time where kids are out of school, and more importantly, the weather is beautiful. It’s a time where a lot of people take a vacation to soak it all in and enjoy themselves. The idea of a summer vacation is ingrained in our culture for a good reason. We’ve been going on an annual summer trip for the past few years, actually ever since my daughter started going to school.  But this year, the world decided it was a good time to change, drastically.

We just got back from our summer trip, we have a small RV and go camping (really, it’s glamping).  We had a vacation booked that we had to change and alter, but we still had one planned and considering everything that’s happened this year. Having an RV is great because it allows you to be pretty self-contained, it’s the perfect way to stay local-ish (Ontario is pretty large) and explore around. And that is what we did, we stayed in our province and camped, essentially in isolation.

This year being as strange as its been I wanted to share a few things I noticed on our trip:

Taking it seriously – In Ontario, where I live, most people are taking the social distancing measures pretty seriously. There are signs for people to wear masks everywhere and, in general, people do. It’s encouraging because, in more rural areas, it can be very easy to dismiss COVID as a city problem.

Keeping to themselves – For me, campgrounds have always been a bit of a mixing pot. My daughter would routinely make friends, and I would undoubtedly have a bunch of random conversations with strangers. This year the general mood is more subdued, and you could tell people were keeping to themselves. The overall atmosphere was a little different — a little more isolated, a little lonelier.

Life is resuming – While everything is a little different, the reality is that people are starting to move on and that life is returning. It’s not all doom and gloom, and there does seem to be some positive signs amidst all the masks and protective barriers.  

Local support – Part of life resuming has been a strong push for local businesses. I am pretty encouraged by this. Local shops and stores are that base layer that in our conglomerate world we can take for granted. If we did, we’d lose a lot of jobs and, more importantly, a lot of character. The various radio stations along our trip all had ads and commercials to help support the local communities. If you can support your local stores, the people running them and working there are your neighbors.

Restaurants are hurting – As you travel, especially on a road trip, you inevitably end up eating out or on the road. This year we made sure to pack a lunch and snacks because we weren’t sure we could find food. A lot of places were still doing take out only even though the rules have been relaxed. This isn’t enough to sustain them. The impact is visible, and I think in a lot of cases will be permanent.

Fall is in the air – Would you believe that some leaves are already starting to change color? It was just a few at first, but by the end of our time, the furthest north we went, it was clear that the changes were starting. I’m caught off guard by this every August, it’s subtle, but you can start seeing this.

Appreciate where you are – We were already planning on staying local for part of our trip, though it changed, and we made it the whole trip. We take the things around us for granted all too often. The states and provinces that we live in are often wonderful places to explore and experience.

The Steady March of Change

We really enjoyed our vacation; we got to explore a part of our province and do a lot of hiking and even more swimming. It was a very nice bit of ALMOST normal in a crazy world. I wish we could have made a longer trip of it, but unfortunately, as those fall colors were starting to peek through in a few spots, change is in the air.  

Now that we are back, we will need to make changes to start back to a fall routine, especially with schools opening back up. It will be interesting to see where things end up going, but for me, I need to start making money again. It has been a wonderful summer with my daughter exploring the city around us, but the steady march of change means reality comes back.

Photo by Natalie Rhea Riggs on Unsplash

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