In January I decided to take a trip at the end of May. I didn't tell very many people. I didn't even ask for time off work; there would be plenty of time to do that. Unlike the other trips I have taken, I had a weird feeling about talking about it. I almost felt that I would "jinx" it.
Well, I didn't jinx it, covid 19 did. By the beginning of March I could tell it probably wouldn't happen. So instead of packing for the flight that was supposed to take off in thirteen days, I'm cancelling reservations and filing a claim with my travel insurance company. And while I understand the need to cancel, I'm sad.
I was going to fly to Iceland and then on to Greenland for a few days. Amazingly, everything lined up perfectly. I booked a few nights in Iceland, one at a fancy hotel with its own hot water lagoon, as a treat. In Greenland, I was going to a tiny town that overlooked a fjord full of icebergs. One of the places I was staying was a wilderness hut where I would be dropped off by boat and then hike back to town. The flight from Iceland to Greenland was more expensive than the plane from the U.S. to Iceland, but this was a trip of a lifetime, my last big international travel before I have to leave my job due to age limit rules.
Iceland and Greenland's borders will still be closed. They are set to open soon, but after my trip dates have come and gone. Even then, testing and self quarantine will be required. The airlines cancelled my flights. Some of the hotels refunded me; the others refused, even though some of them aren't even open. "We're a small business," one of them said. Listening to the weird feeling when I booked, I bought Cancel for Any Reason travel insurance (most travel insurance companies will not refund you for "fear of coronavirus"). I should recover most of my money.
Will I ever get to go? Maybe not. I won't have the income I have now next year at this time. The virus may return to Iceland and Greenland, causing them to close borders again. Airlines may go out of business (I hope not, because I'm waiting on a refund). International travel may be changed forever, or at least for a long time.
I know it's not all about me. There is a greater goal here. But it's okay to be sad when you have to let go of plans, of seeing friends, of travel. Maybe I can find somewhere to go this summer locally and feel happy about it. Until then, I'll throw away my packing list and tear up my confirmation letters. Maybe someday, after all this is over, I'll be walking down a trail in Greenland. Or maybe not. Despite all the plans we make, we are never really sure what is waiting for us down the road.
|Picture from my last trip to Iceland|