modusTravel - The Art of Travel / Coronavirus   No Trip Selected
 
With all that’s going on in the world today with respect to the Coronavirus outbreak, now is the time to stay home and spend time with family. As much as we all love to travel, now is not the time. Below are some of my thoughts and feelings I have had during my early morning dog walks and I wanted to share them with you. My hope is that everyone stays safe and can find a little peace during this very hard time.
Eddie
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modusTravel - The Art of Travel
Coronavirus  



March 2020

For the past several weeks as I have been on my early morning walks with my dogs, just like everyone else, I have been thinking about the Coronavirus and how it’s now impacting the lives of everyone around the world. I think about all the stores, restaurants, bars, schools and other locations that have closed, or soon will be closing. I think about the other businesses that have closed and how people are being laid off, are tasking pay cuts, and for those fortunate enough, are now working from home. This is new to us and there is so much going on that we have never experienced before. We cannot interact how we used to, we must stockpile enough food and other items to get by should we need to self-quarantine and we have lost much of our retirement due to the stock market continuing to crash. With everything going on, it can be increasingly hard to find a bright spot, or anything good or positive in our lives.

When it comes to this Virus, we must avoid crowds and contact with others. We need to avoid travel, especially international travel. In fact, it has now become nearly impossible to travel as airlines have cut flights, cruise ships have shut down and countries are closing their borders. Even if you were to make it to your final destination, there may be curfews and you would more than likely find that most tourist sites have been closed. The bottom line, now is not the time to travel.

With all that’s going on around us, where can we find something good, some hope and perhaps a bright spot in our daily lives?

Living in Colorado, I love the outdoors and actively participate in several outdoor activities including mountain biking, road biking, hiking, skiing, rowing, running, open-water swimming and others. As a road-cyclist, I classify most of my rides as training rides. These are not leisure rides, but rides focused on maintaining a fast pace over a certain distance with the goal of getting in a good workout. I find sports to be therapeutic as they clear my mind of all the things I may be dwelling on. I don’t consider myself to be someone with high stress levels, but I can usually judge my level of stress by how long it takes me to get my mind off something. I have had rides where the minute I get on my bike, I seem to forget about everything else as I take the first peddle, while other rides have taken several miles to clear my head.

Of course, another benefit of exercise is that it helps to strengthen your immune system.  I found an interesting article on the Runners World website titled: How to Run Safely Amid Coronavirus Concerns.

Now back to my dog walks. Over the last several days, I have noticed how unusually quiet and calm it has been. There has not been the usual roar of traffic and I have only encountered a few other people on the trails. What I did hear was the unusually loud sounds of nature. The sounds were not being drowned out by the usual traffic on the roads. I live against the foothills outside of Denver and as I was walking on a path by one of the ponds, I could not help but notice the hundreds of red-winged black birds perched and singing in the trees. They are a pretty bird having red and orange spots on their wings and are nice to listen to with their many different sounds. As I continued my walk, I heard Canadian geese flapping their wings and honking overhead. I heard the sounds of many different birds including chickadees singing in the trees and a pigmy nuthatch (maybe my favorite bird, for their sounds and the way they tend to walk up, down and around tree trunks and limbs). Then it hit me, with all the negative and uncertainty in the world right now with the Coronavirus, this was a bright spot. I enjoyed the sounds of all the birds and my dogs didn’t care about anything going on in the world and were happy just to be outside on their walk. The birds are not concerned with anything as they are joyfully singing in the trees. Even the mule deer I spotted seemed content eating grass in the open space, with little concern about me or my dogs.

This reminded me of a bible verse, Matthew 6:25-27. Basically it’s saying not to worry because God will take care of you.
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
As I continued my walk, some fond travel memories popped into my head. There have been times when we have walked through a town early in the morning, experiencing the quietness and emptiness of a location that is usually loud and crowded with tourists. I thought of places I have visited such as Rothenburg Germany, Sighisoara Romania and Grindelwald Switzerland, where we walked through the town on our way to catch an early morning train. There were no cars, no people or only a few random people here and there. It was extremely quiet and calm, except for the sound of our footsteps.

With all that’s going on, what I’m trying to say is look for ways to take your mind off everything, even if only for a short while. If it’s possible for you to get out, then get out. Don’t stay cooped up in your home, afraid to get out and do something. Be smart and avoid close contact with others, but get out and do something. Go for a walk or run, take a hike or do some other activity that will help take your mind of things. Let your mind wander to fond memories of past experiences. If you live in a house and have a yard or garden, get out and do some yard work, clean up the yard, pull some weeds or get the garden ready for planting. Even if you’re only outside for a short while, it can really help to divorce yourself from all that’s going on in the world. If you encounter others while you are out, maintain your social-distance, be polite, say hello, then be on your way. If you are able to get out and experience some goodness, you will have something to look forward to everyday, just as I look forward to tomorrow’s bike ride, run and especially the morning walk with my dogs.