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  • Writer's pictureIsla Ramie

Bucket List Imperative

Updated: Aug 18, 2020

When it comes to travel planning, flexibility is vital, and this has never been truer than during Corona-Time. Every time I say that I wish I were talking about the Mexican beer enjoyed with a lime wedge, but alas. Here we are smack dab in the middle of a pandemic where bucket lists are packed away or altered to meet current travel restrictions.

Since 2nd grade, when my teacher assigned a paper on ancient civilizations, I have dreamed of visiting the Inca ruins of Macchu Picchu high in the Andes of Peru. Last year we planned a 10-day romantic getaway to Peru. We booked two tickets on the Hiram Bingham train to Aquas Calientes to enjoy a beautiful but pricey overnight at The Belmond Sanctuary located inside the park. The spend was justifiable because we were using Marriott Reward points for the remainder of the stay. Our budget for this trip was around 5k, not including meals. Unfortunately, this dream vacation was canceled when, like the rest of the world, our lives were put on hold. Despite this setback and major disappointment, I still find it as important as ever to have a bucket list and to keep working toward checking those boxes.

If you are anything like me, things were pretty depressing early on during the pandemic. Travel was canceled, there were a lot of fears about the unknown consequences of the Covid-19 virus. We had to learn to live with online classes, the inconvenience of toilet paper shortages, wearing masks, while political tension between liberals and conservatives seemed to intensify. For my co-workers and I, we also struggled with saying goodbye to many patients who were like family. Add to that the painful loss of a co-worker, and you have a very depressing start to 2020. Pre-COVID, my husband and I felt an urgency to travel and see the world. Perhaps it was a mid-life crisis, or maybe the loss of both of my husband’s parents, but something stirred in our psyches that compelled us to travel as far and as often as possible. In 2019, we made our first bucket list check. We went to Europe and then Mexico. Those two trips irrevocably changed us, and if we didn’t have the travel bug before, we officially caught it, and it was infectious.

Nothing has changed during Corona-Time, and if anything, to see the fragility of life and how quickly it is over makes checking off those bucket list items even more critical. You may not have next year or even tomorrow. Make a bucket list. It is imperative! Wear a mask and get tested if you travel, but don’t put your life on hold. I wish I could tell you that COVID is not the big, bad, scary thing that the media and everyone make it out to be. It will knock you on your ass. I am not afraid of Covid-19, though. I have seen so many cases now in the most vulnerable people, and I feel very comfortable advocating for responsible travel. Is travel for everyone? Probably not. If you are medically compromised or risk-averse, you should take a hard look at what you want from life and create a bucket list that suits your needs. Maybe that entails using your personal vehicle for a road trip or perhaps not traveling at all. If you are insanely healthy with relatively few underlying conditions, safe travel with masks is an option. That was our decision. We have temporarily pared our bucket list to hitting the 50 United States and will travel further as the world starts to open.

My work tests staff weekly for Covid-19, so I feel reasonably confident in my health status. Honestly, I am more worried about a deep vein thrombosis than COVID (catching it or spreading it) when traveling. As I look out the small window of my budget flight to a COVID hotbed, I shift in my seat stretch my legs as far as I can manage and feel confident in my decision to continue to check off items on my bucket list. I know that the worst part about travel is the judgment from those who choose not to. Sometimes, the fear of something is worse than the thing itself.

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