As I mentioned yesterday, I have been MIA from the blog for a bit because I had two mini corona-cations back to back. It was sort of a last minute decision not to blog during that time because I wanted to be fully present for both trips. I am calling them corona-cations because they were very different from our usual trips due to the many precautions that we had to take to keep everyone as safe as possible. Masks, hand-sanitizer, and social distancing became normal part of both trips. We did not go to any restaurants or any other adventures because we didn’t feel like that was safe. Despite the extra precautions, both trips for me were still a great success and a wonderful time was had by all.
First, I spent 4 glorious days in the Outer Banks with 8 of my very best friends. We have been doing this annual beach trip for, I think, nine years now. This year’s trip got postponed due to the shutdown for COVID-19, but I am happy to report that it finally happened. We tried to all social distance as much as we could with 9 people in one house sharing beds, but I wasn’t too concerned since I knew everyone had been pretty isolated prior to the trip. We didn’t share our usual hugs with everyone, and we tried not to drink or eat after each other. We also did not go anywhere except to the beach and back. A few of us got up early each morning and made our way to the beach so that we could secure a large socially distanced area for all of us to hang all day. There were surprisingly more people on the beach than we are typically used to so getting a spot early was key. We put up our cabana and spread our bags and chairs wide so that new beachgoers knew to stay away from us. Most people were respectful of each other and everyone was trying hard to maintain distance as much as possible. We pretty much spent our entire days at the beach since we couldn’t really go anywhere else. We packed our own lunches and plenty of drinks and snacks to last us through the whole day. I don’t think that we have ever spent that much time just talking and hanging out on the beach before. We usually only spend a few hours a day at the beach mixed in with shopping and dining out the rest of the time. Since we couldn’t do that this year, we just stayed at the beach all day. We had really good weather, calm waters, and overall great conversations. It was glorious. Each evening, we headed back to the house in shifts to start showers, and then we took turns cooking dinner each night because we weren’t comfortable with going to a restaurant. After dinner each night, we played crazy games that resulted in so many laughs that there were tears rolling down our faces. While this trip wasn’t like any of our others, it was exactly what we all needed. All we really cared about was spending time together and having fun which we did beyond measure.
After that trip, I can home for two days before the whole family packed up and made the long drive to South Carolina to visit our family, who we haven’t seen since Christmas. It was very alarming to us to see the difference in safety measures the closer we got to South Carolina as we made stops along the way on the 10-hour trip. During our initial bathroom stops, everyone we passed was wearing a mask and walking far away from each other. Then, the closer we got to our destination, we encountered tons of people without masks who didn’t seem to make any effort to not walk close to you. It was a bit scary to us to see that because it is such a sharp contrast from what we have been living the past few months at home. It was quite interesting to see how the different states are handling things and showed why there is now a spike in COVID cases in many of those states that have been more lenient with their restrictions. I feel like I was personally more nervous on this trip than I was on my beach trip. I am not sure if that was because the restrictions were way less down there and, therefore, more concerning to me or if it was because I was around my parents, father-in-law, and my grandparents who are all at a greater risk than we are due to age and pre-existing conditions. I would feel so horrible knowing that we exposed one of them to this horrible virus if one of them were to get sick. I guess it is probably a combination of both that made me more nervous, but it definitely made me extra cautious. Before we even left for the trip, I questioned if it were the right thing to do to go down there, but we felt like we should make the trip to see our family when we have the opportunity since it doesn’t happen very often. I am glad that we went because spending time with family is so important. My kids got to spend time with their cousins at the lake tubing and having a blast, and we all got to spend time with our loved ones celebrating Independence Day. There were no big fireworks displays this year and no huge BBQs, but we enjoyed a small family gathering for lunch instead.
While both trips were changed by the new norm, both of them turned out to be more than we expected. We all got just what we needed out of them. I strongly believe that nothing is more important that spending time with the people we love. Maybe things will never get back to the old norm, but we will continue to adapt and make the most out of what we are given. I am aware that some of you may think that we shouldn’t be going anywhere at all, and maybe you are right. However, I think that we did the best we could to protect ourselves and those that we came into contact with. I also believe that we have to continue with our lives as much as possible and make the most of the cards we have been dealt in these crazy times. I think as long as you are careful and are smart about what you are doing, there is nothing wrong with taking a mini corona-cation. I am happy with both of mine and am counting down the days for the next ones whenever they may be and whatever they may look like.