We have traveled on great adventures as a family. Two years ago, we traveled to Vietnam for the end of 2018. We were staying with friends at the Sanctuary Hồ Tràm village along the coast south east of Ho Chi Minh city. Breakfast at the little restaurant in the complex was one of my favorite times of day. Congee, baguette, and coffee were the morning staple.
In the winter of 2019 we traveled to Kirchberg and Salzburg in Austria. We had a wonderful time skiing. Christmas in Salzburg was magical. We were was excited about the upcoming year. We had great trips planned to visit family and far off places in 2020. The day after Christmas I read a headline about a new influenza virus that was spreading rapidly through the far east. A chill, like a ghost, went through me. I turned to my wife and said something was not right. We needed to keep track of this new virus. It could be the one.
It’s been a little over one year since the COVID-19 pandemic was announced and we went into SARS-CoV-2 induced pandemic lockdown in Abu Dhabi. I haven’t traveled outside of the Emirate since that time. An R.E.M. song keeps running through my head in what seems an interminable loop.
Travel will forever be different than before the pandemic. We live in a brave new world now. The temptation to choose sanitized safe destinations, no matter how bland they may be, is stronger than ever. It will take courage to go off the beaten path. To share different cultures and cuisines. I look forward to the day when my family can again travel to foreign lands. I look forward to my next bowl of hot spicy congee to start my day.