As we navigate these uncertain times, it’s natural to pause and reflect on happy memories like an unforgettable family vacation or a dream trip that was even better than you thought it would be. While our travel agents have been assisting you with your travel plans, they’ve been supporting each other by sharing memories as well as their passion and enthusiasm for travel on social media. We’d like to share a story from one of our travel agents, Corey Green from AAA Downingtown, Pennsylvania. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
COVID-19 makes international news as it spreads through China
When I was in second grade, my family and I took a road trip. We drove down the eastern coast to stop in Myrtle Beach, SC before our final destination, DISNEY WORLD! I saw my first palm tree, and my first alligator. We chased an armadillo and tried to scare it to see it jump straight up and down. Mickey was so big to me then, and Orlando was so warm. My dad told me that the rain comes and goes fast there, and that he could predict when it would stop. I was in awe. I felt like I had traveled to the other side of the world!
COVID-19 spreads to Italy. People being to worry. Then, it was called an epidemic
When I was 10, my mom, Aunt Cheryl, Cousin Kristan, my brother and I took a 21-state road trip. We got lost in the Tetons, hiked Bryce Canyon, smelled the terrible sulfuric smells of Yellowstone, walked through a giant redwood tree and kayaked with orcas in the San Juan Islands. It was the first time I had ever seen snow-capped mountains. We even stood in snow in the middle of July! CRAZY! I went whitewater rafting down the Snake River in Wyoming and fell in love with the sport. I saw the most beautiful garden in Victoria, and even walked barefoot along a desert road. I had fallen in love with the world.
Cases of COVID-19 reported in the USA. Borders to most European countries close. It's getting weird out there.
I joined Carnival Cruise Lines when I was 19 and fresh out of high school. What a leap for me. I left my hometown on my own to dance professionally on a ship with people from around the world while we traveled all over the Caribbean. I met some of my closest friends in those eight years, friends who have become family and people I will cherish forever. I saw not just the islands, but cultures I had never experienced before. I tasted real Mexican food with people I loved. During this time, I met and befriended people from at least 75 different countries around the world.
Schools close due to COVID-19. States and companies shut down. The stock market crashes and people lose money, then fight over toilet paper. I'm scared.
I took my mom to Greece for her 50th birthday. Neither of us had been to Europe before and we were excited! Everything that could go wrong with the flight schedule, did, and we laughed about it and carried on. That was the moment I knew I had found a lifelong travel buddy. We explored the food of Mykonos, Santorini and its sunsets; and stood in buildings built thousands of years ago in Athens. Every aspect of this trip was perfect. From the screw-ups with the airlines to the pelicans that had the same hairdo as I did back then, I fell in love with Europe and with travelling with my mom.
The UK and Ireland close their borders. Aruba and the Dominican Republic no longer allow Americans in their countries. People are stuck on ships out at sea and can’t come home. Panic.
I went to Asia for the first time less than a year ago. We flew fifteen and a half hours to China, just to get to our layover to Vietnam. My mom and I made friends from Australia, England, Canada, and so many more places. We tried snake wine and hiked up a hill in 120 degree weather (bad Idea). We were blessed by a monk and wandered through Angkor Wat, a man-made wonder of the world. We learned how to throw our culture aside for two weeks to learn, respect and love another culture. This was a true learning experience.
Oberammergau, month-long performance of the Passion Play held every ten years in Germany, cancels for the first time in 380 years. The State Department issues a Level 4 Health Advisory: DO NOT TRAVEL. The gun stores and grocery stores have lines around the block. Help.
As a travel agent, I have been on some amazing work trips including a river cruise on the Danube, a glacier walk and train ride through the Canadian Rockies, and sheep herding in Scotland. The most amazing part of those experiences was the people I met - sorry, the FAMILY I met. I’ve made true, deep friendships with bonds that will tie us together forever.
Travel is not a luxury to me. Travel is a lifeline, a sanctuary, a peace. I have made friends and family around the globe that have left an imprint on my life so profound, I will never be the same. I would never WANT to be the same. Today I am sad. Though this too shall pass, there is no ending in sight for now. I am not just sad for myself, I am sad for everyone. The bonds I have made are missed opportunities for other people who want to travel, but can’t. There is pain in my heart as I watch what makes us connect in a special way, crumble before us. I miss, so very much, hearing new stories of what happened in this place or that. I miss, so very much, hearing about the joy of travel. I miss, so very much, my love, my one TRUE love. Travel is not a luxury for me. Travel is my lifeline, my sanctuary, my peace.