Travel during pandemic. Readers comment

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter – October 2, 2020

By Columnist Tom Blake

Four Champs respond to last week’s topic: Should we go on our planned trip during the pandemic?

Judith, “My partner and I went on the trip you talked about – only we stayed in Paso Robles two nights, had our wine tasting reservations, stayed in Occidental Inn, two nights, and on the way home had one night at the Harris Ranch.

“We went the last week of June and it was great. My granddaughter was getting married at a B & B in Santa Rosa. The ceremony was Zoomed with 50 computers all over the country. 

“We purposely avoided big cities and it was all very respectful.  I am unable to wear a mask and glad it was then. We were careful but all the businesses were cautious and clean. Indoor dining except for the Napa area. The Bed and Breakfast cooked but it was served in a lunch box! 

“My Family gave lots of hugs and we socially distanced only the father of the groom, just recovering from pancreatic cancer. No one got sick.

“We did one more short trip to La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club for two days in August. It was clean and La Jolla enjoyable with few people. My partner celebrated his 83rd birthday during our stay.

“We only live once and we have no fear, it has been a horrible six months for our travel plans, but we have had time to reflect on the importance of our diet, health, and priorities.” 

Bonnie. “You and Greta have had a string of tough luck with travel plans. Your stories are aligned with mine. Almost exactly (Terrorism in Europe in 2015 and fires in CA in 2018).

“The good news is when you enjoy your own company, and in your case, the company of your beloved, you can have a vacation at home in OC and have a wonderful time. I think that is the secret.

“We had tickets and reservations for Paris, Annecy, France, Switzerland, and London this September – right now! – for three weeks. Keyword: had. All were canceled, beginning with my favorite, Air New Zealand, canceling the flight to Europe.

“Solo travel has to wait, for now. I have learned how enriching solo travel can be – without tours. I enjoy a year of planning and research and then the trip, itself. Magnificent experiences. Both planning and traveling.

“I have learned to pack a carry-on only, with a total of 14 pounds, including suitcase weight, which allows me on any/every flight with weight limits. And so light for me to navigate to haul around. Happy traveler. Planning now for 2022 Europe!” 

Gail, “Sorry about all your canceled trips. This is a hell of a year (When traveling roll with the flow).

“I would love to buy your camping toilet – I would even be willing to meet you to pick it up. I have a trip to LA in November and could meet you in Laguna or somewhere convenient. I would gladly pay for it now if you wouldn’t mind hanging onto it for a bit.”

Tom’s response to Gail: “This pandemic has made us all adjust our lives, including Greta and I purchasing the portable potty. I never imagined that I’d publish in an eNewsletter a short discussion about buying and selling a portable toilet but I guess I asked for it by posting (jokingly) if anyone wanted to purchase it.

“Thanks for the offer to buy the potty. However, Greta has subsequently told me rather strongly that she doesn’t want to sell it. So, to keep her happy, I’d better keep the darn can.

“I bought it on Amazon Prime. The brand is a Stansport. It didn’t cost much. They would deliver to your city.”

Fred: “Similar situation as you and Greta. I planned a road trip early September, only to cancel. Hotels along my route were canceling and many places of interest were closed. That coupled with bathroom facilities, dining etc., made me rethink. Do I want to travel to Yellowstone Park via Nevada, Utah, Idaho and return via Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico & Az. under unknown circumstances?

The answer: No. 

“Then made cruise reservations for 28 days in Europe for May 2021 only to be notified by Royal Caribbean a month later that cruise has been canceled.

“As William Bendix used to say, ‘What a revolting development this is!’  So, like you, I’m staying home until this germ is controlled.”

Champ birthday note: Today is Champ Dee’s birthday. It’s a significant one, which I won’t reveal. She lives in nearby Laguna Niguel, in Southern Orange County, Ca. Dee has been a Champ for years and has a heart of gold. Some Champs have met her at the Meet and Greets. So here’s to you Dee. (Rumor has it that there might be a new puppy in the house-arf, arf).


Author: Tom Blake

Tom Blake is a newspaper columnist in south Orange County, California. He has published five books. His primary topic is finding love after 50 and beyond, sometimes far beyond, for people 80 and older as well. He also blogs about travel at

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