Traveling is always risky. Traveling in times of corona is even riskier. When you make that decision to step foot outside the safety of your home, you are knowingly taking a risk. There’s no guarantee that you won’t get infected or that those you come in contact with also pose a risk, so you’re left with the decision of- is this something you’re willing to do? Are you willing to travel in this new normal? And if you are, what precautions are you taking to lower your and your family’s risk? And what does travel look like for you? A full blown vacation that involves a plane? A road trip? Or even a staycation in your hometown?
I can’t speak for others. I’m sharing our decision and our experience and obviously that differs for everyone depending on comfortability level. Many people don’t feel comfortable leaving their home whatsoever with the exception of a grocery store run, and others are more inclined to venture out, go out to eat, etc. The point is that we all have our level of risks that we are willing to take as we resume life and guess what? That’s okay. It doesn’t make someone good or bad (unless you’re not wearing a mask or washing your hands or adhering to rules because then you’re just an asshole).
When stay-at-home orders were lifted in Miami-Dade, Coco and I spoke about what we were comfortable doing and what we weren’t. While I thought the stay at home orders were lifted too quickly in the state of Florida, we still agreed that we were ready to take some small steps when it came to venturing out, while still staying at home as much as possible. Also, as I writer and influencer, I had some opportunities in regards to travel for a staycation piece I was working on and I had to make sure that we were okay with traveling as a family. That meant reading hotels’ new rules and protocols to keep guests safe, occupancy guidelines, cleaning measures etc. The same applied to dining out. I should mention that this was before Miami became a hotspot.
We were and still are diligent about getting tested after we travel. We started with a day trip to Fort Myers, then an overnight stay at Mr C Coconut Grove, and another overnight at Cheeca Lodge in the Keys. I was definitely anxious and a bit nervous. I did my research on each of the properties. When we got there, we were all tuned in to the surroundings and keeping each other, especially the kids, in check. We only did what we felt comfortable doing and again, while we knew there was a risk, we felt comfortable and safe doing so.
Same mentality applied when it came to the five times we actually went out to eat, focusing on outdoor seating. Making sure our servers were wearing masks and gloves, and that the restaurants took extra precautions for indoor dining. We felt safe all around. It’s a shame that because of a few restaurants not adhering to the rules and safety measures, so many restaurants have had to shut down or are suffering financially because they don’t have outdoor seating or because they depend on a full house. Now that we are back in Miami, I’m not as inclined just yet to go out to eat, but it’s important to support your favorite restaurants with takeout or delivery, but if you do feel comfortable going out to eat, do it! Enjoy it and be safe while sticking to all precautions. Again, doesn’t make you good or bad.
This brings me to my next topic. Our travels to NY and beyond. It’s been seven months since my kids and I have seen our family. With the exception of my dad and his wife and some of my best friends, our whole family is in New York and three in Canada. We missed them terribly. My kids would cry because they wanted their grandma or see their cousins, but with New York being a hotspot at that stage of the pandemic, we weren’t ready to make a trek there. After a few months though once things subsided (again, the pandemic is far from over but at least it wasn’t a hotspot any longer) and Miami showing some ugly numbers, we thought it was the perfect opportunity to visit. I’m sure there were many that disagreed with our choice and that’s fine, but for us, it felt right. Coco’s car was also in NY since he was working in the city before the outbreak, so we thought we could drive it back down to Miami and make a road trip out of it- a very limited one considering the virus. This meant traveling by plane during a pandemic with two kids and a dog, and also having to quarantine, which to be honest, we did for only a few days.
First order of business, though, was to get everyone tested.
Once our covid swabs came back negative, I was fully focused on our flights. I ordered face shields for everyone in the family in addition to the masks we already wear and downloaded shows for the kids’ on the tablets. We flew Spirit and was pleasantly surprised on how organized and on it they were considering the circumstances. We were definitely a little anxious because we didn’t know what to expect but again, they were directing everyone to where they needed to go and be and on the flight, the attendants were very helpful and accommodating and making sure everyone was wearing their masks. I had purchased antibodies tests for us to take a week or so after our travels, to give us peace of mind.
We spent over three weeks away from home, and to be honest, if we had our own place in NY, we would have stayed longer. It’s just not easy to bounce around and invade someone else’s space, even if they’re family. We only interacted with family. We were invited to hang out at parties or gatherings with other folks, but we always politely declined. Even with family, you’re still taking a risk. I want to make that clear because even your family members interact with others, whether at work, with other friends, etc, so we just minimized that risk by keeping to our family. Again, it doesn’t guarantee anything and its a risk we were willing to take. We did dine outdoors, went to the beach, did a lake getaway at a private home (where I did have to tell someone to put on their masks), because it felt right and ok for us.
Now for the second part of our trip- the drive down. If we weren’t in a pandemic, we would have stopped at more cities and explored so much more than what we did, but considering everything on the way down to Wuhan, Miami was a hotspot, we kept it very specific. Also stops are a must when you are driving down with two kids and a dog. We started in the city and spent two days in Manhattan because 1) I need to fuel my soul 2) I wanted to see two of my best friends and I was able to do that in some capacity. From there, we stopped in Philly and checked out a few sites before reaching our family’s home in Silver Springs Maryland/DC. This is the same family we went to the lake with so we felt comfortable seeing them again and they felt comfortable welcoming us into their home. Again, always a risk.
From DC, we continued our journey with a stop at Digger’s Dungeon for Rocco in the Outerbanks of North Carolina, where I requested a private monster jam ride because I did not want to share space with anyone else and I had them disinfect the power wheels maya and rocco rode. After that, we headed to Charleston, South Carolina to sleep and to minimally explore the city before our last drive to Miami. I was hesitant about NC and SC not just because they are hotspots, but because I had heard and read about mask resistance, and while I can’t really speak to NC because I only had one experience, which I had some control over, I can say that our experience in Charleston was awesome. Every establishment mandated masks. The two restaurants we ate at indoors, implemented social distancing and then some. Servers wore masks and gloves and there were hand sanitizers all over the venues. Same for the hotel we stayed at. And because of occupancy limitations, it was easy to get late check outs. We booked a carriage ride and I specifically requested one particular company because their carriages had plexiglass dividers between riders and a limit of eight.
Six hours later, we made it back to our apartment in Miami and we were so happy to be home. Since we’ve been home, we’ve made a point to get tested again. I made us appointments one week from our arrival (we got tested early saturday morning) and until we get results, we aren’t seeing anyone or interacting with anyone. We’ve been indoors with the exception of a beach day and pool day where it was just us four, completely isolated from another soul. The grandparents are dying to see the kids but until we get a favorable result, we’re staying put.
We don’t regret our decision to visit our family. Being in quarantine in an apartment, with two kids, and no outside space, takes its toll and we knew the risks we were taking whenever we stepped foot outside our home. We are diligent about wearing masks, keeping social distance, minimizing our activities, and washing our hands.
It doesn’t mean we are doing it right or doing it wrong, it means we are making choices knowing that despite these measures, there are no guarantees and that’s okay. The pandemic is far from over and we are all just trying to figure it out and see what works and what doesn’t. Don’t judge. We may all be riding the same storm, but as a friend said to me, we’re all on different boats and we are all trying to do the best we can. I wanted to share my experience with you all and mine is only one perspective. What works for me, might not work for you and vice versa. There are many things im not comfortable with that others might be. That’s ok.
Unless you don’t wear a mask and go to bars. Then it’s fair game when it comes to your crucifixion.