Today I'd like to open up a discussion about a very sensitive topic; traveling during Covid 19 and our perspective of this pandemic. The reason I feel compelled to share my thoughts is because the conversations, and sometimes judgment, we've experienced along the way.
It's important to state this is not a political post.
There is no motivation to convince people of our beliefs or to induce more fighting on such a divisive topic. This is not about debating, mask shaming, or dismissing the reality our world has been greatly impacted by this virus.
This is simply our perspective and how we've dealt with the challenges.
Why are we traveling during Covid 19?
For a lot of people it would seem reasonable, or perhaps a better choice, to just hunker down until we get the "all clear" signal from the government or state leaders. No doubt Covid 19 has a lot of people worried and scared due to the information we've all been told. And rightly so.
Yet having conducted lots of our own research and talked with many professionals in the medical community, we believe not all information or statistics have been completely accurate. The survivability rate for this virus is 99% and not the doomsday scenario many media channels have portrayed.
A CDC update Wednesday says individuals are more likely to survive the coronavirus after contracting it. The health agency says if you have the virus between the ages of 0 to 70, you have a 99% survival rate. And if you’re over 70, the survival rate is nearly 95%.
Wink News Article
Despite the scientific research or lack of, we decided we'd rather potentially risk our health than to risk living with regret. You only get one chance at life.
Life is short. Live for today.
My goal is not welcoming an early death with open arms. As someone who longs to be a crusty 100 years old and cantankerous, the idea is not embracing danger in any form right now. But we also realize and understand life can be cruel as evidenced by the tragic and untimely deaths of many people we have loved.
Why let fear control our quest for living in the moment?
Death is guaranteed for all of us (as of this writing) so it doesn't make much sense to put off our dreams for what "could happen" when we know that life is already very short. Our stance is to go out without any regrets.
Do we practice Covid 19 safety precautions?
This is a tricky question to navigate for a variety of reasons. Washing or sanitizing hands is simple to follow, but avoiding crowds is challenging -- especially when you're hiking national park trails or sunbathing on the beach. Wearing a mask is not required in South Dakota but California it is.
Even though we disagree with the efficacy of the mask and some of the methodologies local governments are trying to enforce, we do our best to follow each state's guidelines while in public.
However, because there are wide variety of scenarios as we travel or enjoy outdoor activities, we simply adapt to the culture around us. If the environment or attitude regarding protocols is relaxed, we go with the flow. If guidelines are more strict, we adhere to them as much as possible.
How has it been in other states or cities?
Friends and family want to know what it's like "out there" during a pandemic. Are all the people masking up and huddling at home while ushering in a new era of ghost towns? Not even close. We have yet to be in a place where it felt like a doomsday scenario.
Traveling during Covid 19 has shown us a much different story than what you see in the media.
In the 14 states and 28 cities we visited so far, it's been rare to find someone who was detrimentally fearful of the disease, adamant about adhering to the guidelines, or who places their faith in the solutions proposed by the government.
Of course this is only anecdotal evidence based on our experience, and may not reflect their entire community as a whole, but it seems most people we've encountered are choosing to live life as they see fit, even in more strict states. This has not been the picture painted by most mainstream media.
Are we being selfish with our choices?
People on social media have an uncanny ability to harshly judge others without a proper understanding of the entire situation. Whether it's opinions about the election, racial issues, or the pandemic, things can get ugly really fast!! The sentiments aren't helped when comments like this are shared and often misquoted:
"The more family members that make that decision to self-quarantine, the more likely it is that you're not bringing a loaded pistol for Grandma's head."
Jared Polis, Governor of Colorado, New Source
No one has directly accused us of being negligent by our traveling adventures, but I have been attacked by people on Facebook and been called selfish or irresponsible for some of my pandemic views. These type of damning comments makes me wonder if people think we're threatening the lives of others.
We understand there are many complexities to Covid 19 including asymptomatic spreading of the virus. As previously stated, we do what we can to adhere to guidelines within reason. Yet at the same time, there are plenty of other diseases that are more likely to kill a person ... like obesity, heart disease, cancer, or diabetes. Are we blaming food companies for their contribution to deaths in America?
At the end of the day, we do not believe we're being selfish or negligent by pursuing our dreams.
What else can I say about traveling during Covid 19?
That we all need to do a better job of understanding each other and the concerns, then allowing each person to have freedom of choice without condemnation. Let us stop the hatred and judgement.
None of us truly know every detail related to SARS-CoV-2. And the details can change weekly.
It's important for all of us to be prepared or practice caution but it's also important to not let every aspect of our lives be controlled by what "could" be. Constantly living in fear is no way to live.
We've made the decision to keep traveling and pursuing our dreams to the best of our ability and current circumstances. It might not be the right answer for many people but it's the right choice for us.