Reflections on 90 Days of Not Traveling

I don’t keep very close track, but last year I went through emails and discovered that I had purchased about 100 plane tickets for that year. Many were short hops to reposition and sometimes one trip would be three different tickets, but still– that’s a lot of travel. And now, I’ve flown twice in the past three months. Once to help my mom move across the country and once to visit some quarantining friends in Florida.

If you’d asked me a year ago what the chances were that I would fly only two domestic trips in three months, I would have said about zero. And yet… here we are.

It’s rare to get such a big change in behavior, so I thought I’d write about a little bit, as much for future me as for you.

The biggest surprise is that I really like it. The first week or two was novel. The next two weeks had me searching the map to see if there was anywhere I could justify going, knowing that the answer was no. And since then I’ve been loving it. Paradoxically I can’t wait to travel again and know that I will as soon as I can, but I also sort of hope the lock down keeps going for a while.

I talk a lot about routines, but my main reference points with them were in the past. I sometimes felt a little bit weird prescribing routine to solve peoples’ problems, while knowing that I wasn’t in much of one myself. Now I have an incredible routine where all I do is drink tea, work, work out, eat Chipotle, use the sauna, read, and go to sleep. I feel amazing all the time and love tweaking my routine in ways you can only really do when you live with it for months.

I’m more productive than I’ve been in years, in the best shape I’ve been in years, am reading more than I have in years, etc. I got off of my strict routines for travel, then brought them back partly by cruising a lot (best routines ever there!) and buying a bunch of home bases with my friends, but it’s sort of obvious that that only gets me to about 60-70% of how good routines can be.

Also in the same way that I like eating the same thing every day and wearing the same clothes every day to avoid thinking about things that don’t matter, I like that for the most part I have no choice in what to do with my day.

Last, my wife and I have been able to spend a ton of time together. It’s definitely the most contiguous time we’ve ever spent together, and it’s been really good for us. We’ve always had an excellent relationship, but I think the constant interaction forced us to iron out a few details that will be good for us going forward.

My plans before quarantine all seemed so important and immobile. It was pretty amazing how easily they were wiped away and how few consequences there were.

So that’s the good stuff. I’m not sure exactly how I’ll integrate it into my life going forward, but I think I may force myself to spend at least one month in Vegas with no trips per year. Even having not traveled for three months that feels crazy, but I think it’s probably the right thing to do.

The biggest downside is that my world feels so much smaller. I’ve been traveling virtually non-stop since 2008 or so, and I forgot what it was like to not travel. Especially with our home bases in different places, I feel isolated from communities I care about. I missed the entire spring in Budapest and didn’t get to see any of my friends there. I was lucky enough to go to Hawaii and Japan right before this all started, but I miss going to Hawaii every month or two for my tea classes. We’re into island season already and I’m not sure I’ll even get to go once this year. I’m dying to see how the forest is and see all of the people we know there.

I’m generally pretty introverted and am totally content by myself, but most of my social time is traveling with friends and it’s weird to basically not have that for a quarter of a year. More productivity, but just about zero shared experience.

CruiseSheet is in a coma. It was doing really well and then… we spent about a month refunding everyone’s cruises. People are starting to book a few future cruises now, but it’s a just a trickle of business. I’m not too worried about its long term prospects and I don’t mind the lost income too much, but it’s not very exciting to work on a business where I know nothing I do is going to move the needle for a very long time. Recently I’ve been using the time to read more about coding and become a better coder.

I think I’ll probably start traveling again whenever borders open. I’ve got a cruise booked for the fall which I hope will sail. I really hope I can visit the island at least once this year and I’m dying to get back to Budapest, mainly because I walk so much when I’m there and Vegas in the summer isn’t much of a walker’s paradise. I don’t usually crave going to China but for some reason I’ve been thinking a lot about going there.

Overall the quarantine is a mixed bag, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make the best of it. I suspect that I’ll look back fondly on it and wouldn’t be surprised if I considered it to be one of the best eras of my life. Of course, it’s a lot easier to think of it that way when you’re eating lobsters on a cruise ship…

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Photo is a terrible photo of the moon from a night cruise on Lake Mead. Sorry! I don’t leave the house much so there’s not much for me to take photos of. Expect a lot of Lake Mead photos…

Sorry that my blog has not been consistent. I’ve been putting off writing and have been battling with Sett (that’s why you either got a zillion notification emails for the last couple or none…). I think one of my next quarantine projects might be to either rework parts of Sett or write a new blogging platform just for me. I’m 50/50.

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