I blame the pandemic.
I used to be that person who loves to travel — especially by plane — so much that even turbulence created a feeling of thrilling excitement. I think I still love to travel, and I am not afraid of planes, but the pandemic and everything it caused us to change about the way we live our lives and relate to other people definitely put a damper on the experience for me. I think. I have yet to get on a plane and confirm this, but I plan to do so this summer, and I am finding myself cringing at the thought of it.
I have to say, though, there’s a somewhat serious reason for this dread — and a lighter, less serious reason as well.
I will be traveling with my husband and children on our first airplane trip since the pandemic started, and I am feeling apprehensive about the fact that although my husband and I are vaccinated against COVID-19, my children are too young to receive a vaccine. And I imagine there will be people on that plane who have chosen not to get vaccinated.
Although I am not afraid I will get sick, I do feel some concern about my children and about the possible transmission that could take place. I am not a medical professional — I am a mom who believes in the gravity of this virus and the current variants making their way around. And I have concerns.
I know people have been traveling in airplanes during the pandemic. I know some people who have traveled to the same destination we are going to, and everything has been fine. Still, everything has changed. And if I previously believed it to be no surprise when I caught a virus on a plane, why would I not think it’s possible for someone to catch this one now?
We will all wear masks, and I trust we will be OK (especially the kids), but I still can’t shake the sense of dread — despite the fact that I am so looking forward to hugging my parents and loved ones for the first time in almost two years.
This is the less serious reason. I have honestly enjoyed some level of social distancing. And I know I’m not the only one. I have embraced the parts of me that are introverted, and I have been dabbling in socialization recently, but I don’t know how I feel about the complete opposite of social distancing — which is sitting on a plane full of strangers!
Seriously! I mean, I will be sitting in a row with my two kids, and my husband will be in the seat just across the aisle from us. I will not be sitting next to a stranger. But I will be one of hundreds of people in that long and skinny tin room, and I am not loving the idea. It’s giving me scrunched-up-face-emoji kind of feelings.
I’ve always been fine with flying coach (although I have enjoyed some business and first-class flights, on occasion). Now? I’d go for a first-class upgrade in a heartbeat. But for all of us in the family. I still don’t want a stranger sitting a foot away from me in first class. Ew.
Dread or no dread, I will be getting on a plane soon, though.
And I will survive… I’m pretty sure. And the best thing is that I will be able to spend a few days with some of the people I love and have missed the most. Because of this pandemic. And that will make it all worthwhile. Here’s to hoping it goes so well I get my travel bug (no pun intended) back and say bye-bye to this scrunched-up-face-emoji situation.