My website’s been on hiatus for several months. No worries, I didn’t die from an attack of bubonic plague squirrels leading an army of murder hornets with coronavirus. It’s just that when travel became discouraged for health reasons, I saw a drop in readers after sharing my story of almost getting trapped in Europe after the pandemic was announced. With no one reading here, it was best to divert my writing to other projects.
That doesn’t mean I wasn’t busy. Since arriving back in the United States, I’ve…
- Published three books
- Written a novel (not published yet!)
- Started a second edition of Uncommon Adventures that will be revised and expanded for your post-pandemic travels
- Earned money from shopping by using apps and programs like Fetch Rewards, Swagbucks, and Ibotta
- Moved to another state… twice!
- Observed how travel-focused businesses are adapting in our changing world
Those last two things go hand-in-hand and I’m especially excited to share more about those topics with you. (Yes, I’m excited about the book news too. In August, I celebrated my first author anniversary.) As you can imagine, both moving and working in the travel industry have become more complicated recently. But neither are impossible, and they’ve become a lot more creative!
As you may have guessed, the motivation behind my moves were to get boots-on-the-ground experience observing what is going on with those whose livelihoods depend on other people going out-of-town. Armed with hand sanitizer and an arsenal of washable face masks, I even discovered ways to explore right now that are both safe and fun.
I just finished spending five weeks in Colorado, working at the only hostel in Colorado Springs. ColoRADo Adventure Hostel quickly made some adaptations to their hostel model, like turning some of their dorm rooms into private rooms and only allowing people to reserve bottom bunks in the dorm rooms to leave them at a roomier 50% capacity. I really appreciate those changes; I know I personally have not shared a bedroom with anyone since my time in Europe. (Okay, there were two nights in Oklahoma where I shared a room. But I was on the opposite side of a very large bedroom, and it was with people I’m living with anyway.) The hostel closed the big kitchen and living room to guests since there was too much that they would have to keep clean, and instead opened up a lounge with a kitchenette and small breakfast of individually-wrapped items.
I then went to work at a camp in Missouri, where I’m still at today. But during this time, I’ve also visited other camps in other states to see how they’re operating… and simply because it’s fun to visit camps. In all places, camper numbers have definitely dropped, but it’s been interesting to see how camps adapted for the valued guests they did get to serve. From temperature checks, to installing plastic barriers in rooms, to doing fewer activities indoors and instead using those spaces as more spread-out eating areas, to altering to day camps, weekend events, and other non-residential programs, these camps have set a great example for how to be flexible during trying times.
Besides working in Colorado and then Missouri, I’ve been to a total of twelve states in 2020, including my very first visits to Kansas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. So although I don’t think I will be able to make it to my 30-before-30 goal of visiting 30 countries before my 30th birthday, I did reach another 30-before-30 goal of visiting 30 states! In all states, I’ve been practicing social distancing, mask-wearing, hand washing, and other safety measures.
I’m excited to report more on the travel industry as it restarts in a new way. Whether you’re excited to be a part of funding the travel industry or are keeping everyone safe by remaining at home, I hope you’ll follow along on my adventures.
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