For several months, a group of friends and I have been planning to host a Mahjong Tournament for our neighborhood players. A few days ago we decided to cancel the tournament because it felt irresponsible to continue. Obviously, this is a minor alteration to our busy retirement schedule, but there have been many other considerations and cancellations as well.
Besides having a full and active social calendar, the thing we love most about being retired is the ability to travel when and where we want. We spend a lot of time considering destinations, researching options and securing plans. Most of our trips are finalized well in advance, but sometimes we hit the road in a moment of spontaneity, just because we can. I’d like to say that will continue to be our attitude, but this spring has altered our thinking in ways we never thought possible.
Being in an ‘at risk’ category has made us think twice, not only about ourselves, but about the people we interact with – namely, Malcolm’s 90 year old mother. Irresponsible is the best word I can come up with to describe how we feel about exposing her, or ourselves carelessly to a virus that could have devastating consequences. Can we avoid the disease completely? Who knows, but we can take precautions, beginning with what hurts most – cancelling our travel plans for May and June.
After months of anticipation and countless hours of preparation, our Alaskan voyage through the Inside Passage, followed by visits to Banff, Lake Louise and the Canadian ice fields will not happen. At least not for the foreseeable future.
We made the decision to cancel early on, based on a gut feeling, but did not put the wheels in motion until an advisory from Celebrity Cruise Lines declared their intention to transfer paid fees to a future cruise booking. That was just the beginning of the unraveling that was to follow. Three flights, a rental car, and two hotels later, Malcolm had recouped almost 100% of our initial outlay. Had we held out another week, we probably would have received refunds for everything, but we just wanted the pain to be quick and done. Unlike our daughter, who is keeping the faith that her July trip to France will still be possible.
When the final toll is taken this virus will have long term effects that will shape our thoughts and actions for years to come. There will be a new reality, but what will or should it look like?
According to the CDC, anyone over the age of sixty is at risk for complications from this disease. I am not an alarmist by nature, but the thought of death, or reduced lung function from having this flu (who knows what the next one will be) is something I am concerned about going forward.
Will those concerns keep us home? Absolutely not! As soon as I get over my disappointment (almost there) we will begin to think about how we can travel smarter. Maybe this is the year to take a long drive, visit our national parks, or rent an RV and try a new experience.
We would love to hear how the Coronavirus has affected your plans and daily life. Please share your thoughts in the comments below.