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Traveling During A Pandemic

March 10, 2020

It was 17 years ago. The pandemic of the day was Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. It had to have a short easy name. It was called SARS. No one knew a lot about it. We knew it was deadly (9.6% fatality rate.) We assumed it was spread by human to human contact. Or contact with an infected surface.

It also came out of China. One of the first places that was infected was Singapore.

And that’s exactly where my lovely wife and I were going to spend a nineteen our layover. Should we have been flying? It depends on who you ask.

The United States government just recently recommended that Americans not take any cruises until the current epidemic subsides. A friend on facebook asked,

Why would anyone even consider going on a cruise right now?

My dear mother loves cruises. She met my step father on a cruise. They’ve been happily married for years. And happily going on cruises all that time. She takes about 5 or 6 per year. It’s her hobby. And she has the money and the health to enjoy it. She was on a cruise two weeks ago. Yes, in the heart of the Coronavirus explosion.

Why? It’s a lifestyle. Last year I wrote a piece called “Leading Boy Scouts To Their Death.” I talk about the dangers of hiking and camping in our Rocky Mountains of Utah and Arizona. Why do we do it?

It’s a lifestyle.

Several years ago we had a bear attack in American Fork Canyon not far from my house. Bears are a constant danger in the Wasatch Range that I call home. They even invaded a boy scout camp my sons and I were attending one year. The dogs would wake us up at dawn as they chased the bears around the camp. I don’t think they ever caught the bears.

Never once have I cancelled a camping trip on account of bears. Should I? And why not?

Easy, because it’s a lifestyle.

The name of the current crisis depends on who you ask. Well, actually it depends on who old the person you ask is. For whatever reason, younger people, Millenials, call it Covid-19. Old people, Boomers, call it Coronavirus.

Weird that it’s divided along generational lines, don’t you think? But, then that’s not the only weird thing about this virus.

Toilet paper and bottled water? Really?

Those make zero sense as supplies to stockpile during a virus crisis. Surgical masks, although they don’t help keep you from getting sick at least are logical things to stockpile. But, TP and water?

Personally, I think it’s the same reason people donated blood in Salt Lake City on September 12, 2001. The day after the September 11 attacks. There was no danger in SLC (although we didn’t know that at the time.) But, people were scared. And they wanted to do something. So, they lined up and donated blood.

By the way, if you you want something productive to do, donating blood is a great choice. Blood supplies are currently dangerously low.

Anyway, today Americans are scared. Again, they want to do something. This crisis is quieter. And we fight back by going to ground. Toilet paper and bottled water are things you are going to need eventually anyway. (Yeah, you could skip the plastic water bottle and save the planet, but that’s a different blog.)

Should you travel? Should you take a cruise? Should you camp in bear country?

Of course you should. But, just as you never leave food in your tent when camping, and you wash your hands when travelling, and you travel with wipes, refusing to change your routine doesn’t mean you become cavalier or stupid about it.

Last year I travelled nearly 50,000. I’m grateful that this year’s travel schedule has been severely cut back.

So why were we traveling through Singapore in the middle of a SARS outbreak back in 2003? We were on our way to India. New Delhi, in fact. We were there to add the newest member of our family. A darling little girl that is now a confident 18 year old who will graduate in May. Why did we travel?

Easy, it’s a lifestyle.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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(c) 2020 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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