For quite some time, we have been talking about living in the “new normal.” Exactly what is the “New Normal” and why is it different for every person? That is what I struggle with.
When we talk about individuals who lost a child even before Covid, what is the “New Normal” for that person/family? After 09/11 killed so many? When the Holocaust destroyed so much?
People are resilient. Many believe that we are being tested, and because of that we need to put in all our efforts and positive energy to survive. Many get even closer to religion and pray more. Whatever it takes to make them stronger and help them embrace the “New Normal” even sooner.
I am not a preacher, nor do I intend to tell how people how to deal with their personal demons. Covid affected and is affecting the whole world. Some believe in the vaccine, others don’t – their “New Normals” are different.
What I strongly believe is that we have only one life to live, and that we need to live our best life.
Travel, create memories, see the beautiful world out there before it is too late. Go, explore the beauty before your eyes aren’t able to see anymore. Walk to places before your legs can’t take you there anymore. Smell the sweet perfume of the roses carefully, without grabbing the thorns. Be safe because there is always a “New Normal” out there waiting for us.
By now, you probably know that I avoid talking about myself and my personal life. I prefer to focus on my love of, and expertise in travel. I believe that you have more to gain from what I share about those topics.
Once in a while, like today, I take the time to talk about some personal experience because I truly believe that if I can make you aware of something, or help you learn from my mistakes, I could be helping you tremendously.
It is easier for me to care about and advocate for others than I do for myself. Let me share with you that in addition to being a travel lover, I am a power walker. I walk fast (not run!) 8-10 miles a day, 7 days a week. This is my mental relief; I just enjoy so much.
For the last 3 months I have been having shooting pains in both of my heels. Right away, I knew that I had plantar fasciitis. After a month of pain, I mentioned it to a friend who recommended a great acupuncturist to me. I like acupuncture, so it seemed like an easy fix.
Seven weeks later, the pain continued. Sure, I hadn’t listened to the acupuncturist when he told me to reduce my walking to 3 miles a day. Why? I “needed” my mental fix.
Like the red light in a car asking for maintenance, I ignored and postponed – until I stopped. I couldn’t put my feet on the ground; the pain was excruciating.
Luckily, a very well-respected podiatrist could see me the same day.
I’m now off my feet until I am better. I have physical therapy 2 times a week, special shoes to wear at home, splints to wear while I sleep, special orthotics casted especially for me, special tennis shoes, exercises to do at home 3 times a day, and if I want cardio (I definitely need it!) I can do stationary biking for now.
At first, I felt very sorry for myself. But once I had a one on one talk with myself, I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel. I will continue with my plan to power walk a half marathon on November 7th. And the best news, my physical therapist believes I can do it, and so do I!
Thank you for letting share my story. Please don’t ignore your pain! Get it checked out right away even if you think it might go away!
Is Your Cruise Ship Safe? How To Check Its COVID-19 Status
A real concern for people interested in booking a cruise is the risk of a Covid-19 outbreak once on board. There have been some cruise ships with documented cases of the virus, despite the strict protocols and precautions in place. There are ways to be informed about the specific cruise ship you are interested in booking.
Of the 24 ships currently sailing in U.S. waters, 15 have reported cases of the virus.
Because COVID is so contagious, travel isn’t without risks. However, having current information can help travelers make better-informed decisions, while assessing their own risk by taking into account their own health status.
As I have written about before, there is a color-coded system developed by CDC which provides information about the COVID-19 status of cruise ships operating or planning to operate in U.S. waters. Each ship is assigned a color status—green, orange, yellow, red or gray.
The color-coding for each ship is based on data from the previous 7-day period as well as the findings of any CDC investigations. To recap: Green: No COVID-19 cases or COVID-19-like illnesses are reported onboard; Orange: Reported cases are below the CDC threshold for investigation; Yellow: The ship meets the threshold for investigation (for crew or passenger COVID-19 cases); Red: The ship is at or above the threshold for passenger and crew COVID-19 cases. Based on CDC investigation, the ship is subject to immediate return to port or delay of the next voyage; Gray: The ship operator’s health and safety protocol hasn’t been reviewed or confirmed by the CDC; this only applies to ships arriving in, located within, or departing from a port in Florida that chose not to follow the CDC Conditional Sail Order (CSO) voluntarily.
You can find the status of ships sailing in U.S. waters here:
Many cruisers feel very comfortable at sea. As the Delta variant has emerged, health and safety protocols have become even more stringent in terms of requirements for pre-cruise testing, vaccinations, and the use of masks. The safety measures and protocols in place on a cruises is much higher than for other modes of travel. The vaccination status of each passenger is known and tracked; each cruise ship has certain medical facilities and procedures for testing and dealing with COVID in place. However, anyone who is not fully vaccinated should avoid both river and ocean cruising worldwide for now.
Deciding to take a cruise during the pandemic is a very personal decision. For some, it may seem safe and worth the risk, but others with pre-existing health concerns or who really want to limit their exposure may want to postpone their departure. The CDC color code system offers information to aid in making this tough decision.
In my humble opinion, there are no gatherings of people that can be 100% safe and guarantee NO COVID. I think that if a ship’s colors are good, a passenger’s health is good, canceling is not a guarantee that they won’t get Covid somewhere else (a party, to church, etc.)
I am a true believer that when life throws you lemons you should make the best lemonade. If you want to be even more creative, mix up some dough and make a sweet lemon cake!
The COVID era is not done yet. Rules are still being implemented for travel and business in general, but one thing is definitely true, people are still falling in love and wanting to get married, despite this whole mess (and others are having kids as well!)
If you are trying to look for wedding venues in the US, the good ones are already sold out and the prices are much higher than they used to be. Also, the rules for large gatherings are different from state to state. Many grooms and brides are finding that having a destination wedding will be more affordable for them. By doing this, they are better able to select their guests and create a big party, combined with a nice vacation for the whole group.
Most destination weddings are taken in Mexico and The Caribbean. Both of these destinations are close enough for easy travel, but each follow different rules for Covid since they are different countries.
The Travel Agents/Advisors who are taking advantage of this market can work with the wedding destination to book the groups. Some travel agents prefer to work only on individual bookings (not groups) because sometimes groups can be overwhelming. Another idea is to work just with honeymooners which is still a very much up-and-coming market that needs lots of hands on attention, with great commission.
These suggestions are based on lots of research, and I hope you can use my ideas. If you need to pick my brain, feel free to do so!