As I’ve done here for the past several years, I post my 2020 travel map below, presuming that nothing unexpected is going to happen in the next two weeks to add any paths or routes of substance:
We welcomed 2020 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, while doing exploratory work into cities where we might like to spend our retirement. We plan to end 2020 in our new home in the Village of Oak Creek, Arizona, having settled on this as our expected long-term residence after completing those visits and evaluations. We’re very happy with our choice thus far.
Our plan had been to travel heavily in 2020, with trips scheduled to Costa Rica, Iceland, Sweden, and various domestic locations. Obviously, COVID kibboshed all of those plans. In looking at this final map, I’m struck by the fact that I spent less than 15 nights sleeping east of the Mississippi River in 2020, most of them in the Tampa Bay area just as COVID was breaking bad, with a few nights later in the year spent in Galena, Illinois. As a native Southerner and long-time Easterner, that’s a significant and fundamental change of sea state for me. I hope I’m able to visit family in the Carolinas in 2021, but barring that, I’m not sure that I’ll cross over the Big Muddy much this year either. Westward ho, y’all. We done it. Who’da thunk?
While this map looks light-weight to me (I only visited 18 states, and never left the country, yeesh!), compared to my travels in recent years as an integral part of my work with TREE Fund, I do recognize that we managed to cover a lot more turf than most folks did in 2020. Much of that travel was harrowing, frankly, and we did our best to be safe and remain healthy while planning and executing a nearly-cross-country move in the midst of a pandemic. Thankfully, we did what we did without contracting anything life-altering. Here’s hoping that remains the case until we’re able to get vaccinated for the virus, likely (and rightfully) very late in the process given our health, work status, and ages. I’ve gotten accustomed to wearing my mask everywhere, at any rate, and won’t mind continuing to do so for the foreseeable future.
We’re not actively planning any trips for 2021, yet, but I do hope that things improve to the point where we’re able to safely visit a variety of Western American destinations of interest, and to return to our usual regimen of international travel. Fingers crossed those things happen sooner rather than later. I’m cautiously optimistic, as much as that is not normally the case for me, given my “presume the worst” personal tendencies. But fingers crossed that when I post this report twelve months from now, all of our lives will be a little bit more “normal” (whatever that might be), and a little bit less scary. And who knows, perhaps our paths will cross in the year ahead, somewhere, sometime. If your own (safe) travels bring you to Sedona and its environs, do be sure to holla in my direction!