Is it Necessary?

Photo by Susannah Butler

I had booked a trip to New York City with my best friend. She applied to graduate school there, so we were hoping to get a glance at her potential future home before uprooting her life in the fall. Not to mention, it would be a fun getaway from the hectic craze college semesters throw at us students these days.

We were going to stay at a friend’s place in Brooklyn. We were going to eat our way through the city, embarking on yet another food tour together, sharing each plate for maximal tasting opportunities. Neither of us have been there before, ready to take our Big Apple virginity. But look at it now, the national hot spot for the novel coronavirus pandemic. All those compact apartments, the shoulder to shoulder rush hour in the metro, the bustling beehive of a city now a petri dish for the pandemic to flourish. We probably won’t make it to the City for some time now, much less beyond my living room.   

COVID-19 has thrown the world for a loop, challenging governments and daily routines worldwide. It has revealed the true nature of governments’ motives, their priorities, how they view the importance of the health and well-being of their people. 

This virus also shows how connected the world is in 2020. It shows how something starting in a city across the globe can infiltrate my personal life in just a matter of weeks. Before, we could hop a flight and be anywhere in the world in a matter of hours (or days depending on your destination). Before, we had to consider things like the US State Department’s safety of the country, the water quality to prepare how we were going to stay hydrated, the tourist traps we did not want to get sucked into. We could go pretty much anywhere our wallets permitted. 

However, travel as we know it has changed. To travel right now raises an ethical question: is it necessary? Nonessential travel has posed the largest spreading factor of the virus, making it barred from continuing. Travel even outside our homes poses a threat to some in our community. Moving about our normal days is different in and of itself, making travel a trivial luxury that can be done without for the time being. 

Alright, so our trips got canceled. That is certainly never something anyone wants to face. All that time and anticipation gone because of something out of our control. It is sad, I’ll give you that. But to make this time more bearable for us all, we have to improvise. We can sit in our living rooms and drink a glass of French wine while reminiscing over our photos gallivanting through Paris last spring. We can watch “The Sound of Music” to pretend we are in the rolling hills of Austria. We can make gumbo to get us sweating like we are in the humid southern sunshine. 

My living room certainly isn’t Central Park or the Brooklyn Bridge, but for right now, it’ll have to do. 

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