Fall at Silent Lake Provincial Park

Put the luggage down and pick up a hobby

by W. Andrew Powell

My wife and I love to plan things, dreaming of the next time we can take a trip, get in the car, and just get away for a few days. The last eight months have been something else though, haven’t they?

We’ve been lucky, but most of our plans have gone right out the window.

Back in January, I was in Las Vegas covering CES, and I was starting to think about fall travel, and getting to California for a few days. We had a Disney cruise planned for the spring, too, and we were looking at a trip to the German Christmas markets, which would have opened today, if things were different.

That all turned out to be a dream, of course, and since then it’s been a bumpy ride for anyone hoping to get away. The COVID-19 pandemic has made us all pause, and to be absolutely safe, and protect everyone, the best plan for the foreseeable future has been to avoid travelling.

That’s not what everyone wants to hear, and not everyone is listening, but it’s true. Like the Government of Canada said in their travel advisory, “Avoid non-essential travel outside Canada until further notice.”

For a while, just to keep working on travel stories, I toyed with ideas for articles about road trips. I’ve also been sitting on stories about Chicago, Christmas at Universal Studios Florida, and Ottawa, but every time I got close to writing anything, I realized that it’s just not a good time to write about it.

This will be the new normal for some time, too, and while it won’t last forever, we’re still months away from vaccinations, and I want to be transparent about anything I share, and avoid stories that make it seem like everything is normal.

Starting today, Toronto went into a new lockdown, and at this point, we all should just be staying home, rather than risk spreading COVID-19 further. That’s similar to what we’re seeing across Canada. Prince Edward Island closed their borders to non-essential travellers, and no matter where you live, that’s obviously the best answer right now.

So, in the interest of public health, please listen to your local officials, and don’t travel for now. I’d love to talk about safe travel this winter, but I think it will be January before I’m willing to start talking about much. Hopefully by then it will make more sense. If we all stay home, and stay safe for a while, maybe road trips will be back on the table for some time in winter (my fingers are definitely crossed for Ontario’s skating trails, like the one in Arrowhead Provincial Park).

Until then, order take-out, if you can, visit trails and parks in your own neighbourhood, wear a mask around others, and why not try getting into a new hobby? I’ve been trying to learn guitar since April, and I’m planning to spend as much of the Christmas holiday practicing (and possibly, gaming) as I can.

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