Why are we taking this trip?

Just look at all that we’ll miss…….

My husband reminded me this morning, with great anticipation, that we are just one week away from embarking on our 46-day cruise.  At the time, I was in the midst of thinking of all that we would miss, and listing all the reasons that taking a cruise right now doesn’t seem like a good idea:

  1. COVID.  We have been self-isolating for weeks now to avoid “failing” the mandatory COVID test we will take online in 5 days.  A positive test means no trip; the fact that the requirement will be discontinued in just 12 days doesn’t matter.  The fact that CDC just retracted all its COVID cruise rules doesn’t matter.  We could catch COVID from a shipmate, an excursion, or ?.  A positive COVID test on the ship would mean at least 5 days of quarantine in our cabins, missing whatever ports we might be in at the moment or worse, actually becoming ill enough to require medical care.
  2. Uncertainty.  Passengers who just returned from a 180-day cruise reported that, of the 100+ ports on their schedule, they had docked at only 21. COVID, wind, weather, mechanical problems, storms….
  3. Other passengers. Our rather elderly and sedate ship isn’t likely to have brawls similar to those of other lines, but tempers are short anytime politics, or masks, or even vaccinations are the topic of conversation. We absolutely loved the passengers we met on our first cruises, but the topic of abortion aborted a dinner on the last cruise we took, and it may not yet be safe to return.
  4. Lack of comfort.  Our self-quarantine has been comfortable; internet is ample for both of us to work online simultaneously.  Not so on the ship; one device at a time, and limited internet. Nothing will ever be as comfortable as my recliner, with the everchanging meadow view. And we have a community we enjoy. 

And so, I said to him, WHY are we doing this?

  1. Moments of joy.  Joy is often unexpected. In Manaus, we were treated to an absolutely incredible music/dance program. Breath-taking. It was our last day in Brazil; we were tired and ready to go home, and thought of not attending.  It was joyous, and unforgettable. 
  2. Ocean.  My father was a sailor; he took miles of film footage of nothing but water. The beauty and smell of the ocean, the sibilance of the waves, the constantly changing bands of color where water meets sky, the sense that the ocean is our ancestral home.  Restful and restorative and invigorating all at once.
  3. Cultural Insight.  Yes, I know that we are traveling in a bubble, not eating local food, not sleeping in local homes and not staying long, but sometimes a single experience will shed bright light on a totally different set of values.  In a Polynesian outdoor airport lit by a single fluorescent fixture, a little girl wandered among impatient adults waiting for a very late flight. The local residents radiated joy whenever she approached them, respectfully aglow when she offered her toy to share. Their interactions and those of construction workers who stopped work for a word with a curious child showed me how a culture in love with its young behaves; later, I would watch as Americans desperately tried to avoid sitting near a child on the long flight home. I simply had never realized how much our culture abhors children.
  4. Opportunity.  Like many, we traveled when our nest emptied and career pressures subsided.  For the past three years, there has been no travel, and human lives are short.  There really is no time like the present.

Besides, we’re in a heat wave, and going to the Arctic….

Published by

Betty Warner

Married female, mother of two, grandmother of five. Living in a senior living community, where dinner, house maintenance, and continuing care are part of the contract. Residents in this community are actively engaged in our lifestyle here; I currently help produce Zoom programs, and help edit our webpage. Physically "healthy for your age" despite shortness of breath, two knee replacements, a cardiac murmur, various skin issues and an incipient back problem.

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