I Miss Traveling

Crystal A. Walker

How COVID-19 has impacted my mental & emotional health

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Sometime in 2015, my husband and I found out that we cannot have any children. I was physically incapable of having a baby unless it was through in vitro fertilization (IVF). It was something we could not afford and we made the (very personal) decision that we were not meant to be parents. However, I had a void ever since then that I was not sure how to fill. By not having children, I could not help but dwell on all of the potential memories that were being robbed from me. In an attempt to cope, I determined a way to help refill my heart again and found a way to made memories in other ways: Travel.

That year, I decided to take the both of us on our first cruise from New Orleans to Cozumel then Progreso. It was a new experience for us and I absolutely loved it. When we returned back to The States, I realized I caught the Travel Bug and could not wait to go on our next trip…wherever it may be. I truly felt that this was a fantastic way to heal my invisible scars and to continue to cope with my pain.

It seemed to work. Soon, I felt myself heal and I have been finally able to move on. Ever since 2015, I made a promise that we would go outside of the United States every year. In 2016, we went to Bermuda and The Caribbean, followed by a road trip to Canada in 2017. In 2018, I went on another cruise with my mother for a mini-women’s retreat to Belize, Honduras, and back to Mexico. I also flew to Puerto Rico that year and found out that I absolutely love mofongo.

Due to a new job and we just moved to Pensacola in 2019, we opted to skip going outside of the Unites States that year, but would make up for it in 2020 by taking a “really great trip.” Plans were booked for to hit up the Eastern Caribbean and tour the islands of Grenada, Barbados, and St. Lucia (to name a few). Everything was bought, paid for, and the passport was in hand.

Then COVID-19 happened…

Like millions of other travel enthusiasts, my trip was cancelled and refunded. My intuition started to chime in her wisdom and told me, “You won’t be traveling to any foreign destinations anytime soon.” She was correct. Here we are now — in 2021 — and I have yet to pull out my passport since 2018.

I miss my passport. I am pretty sure she misses me too.

When I talk to other people about not being able to travel, I get the impression that I’m simply whining and complaining about something miniscule. However, I have to respectfully disagree; especially since I have tied a significant emotional value to traveling. Do they know that? Probably not. Do they know that I travel as a way to cope of being infertile? Definitely not. I can guarantee you that they do not know about my values, just I likely do not have a great pulse on their’s either.

The lockdown did a huge toll on my emotional health. By no fault of my own and circumstances that were out of (everyone’s) control, I was forced to break a promise. I do not take promises lightly and to break one to myself was very painful.

Like many others, I had a very difficult 2020. I went 87 days in pain due to a faulty gallbladder with surgery postponed due to COVID, my father passed away, I nearly got divorced, my husband had a heart attack, I endured a record Hurricane Season and I decided to sell everything I owned an transition to full-time RVing. The start of 2021 was no picnic either because my mother was hit by a car while walking her dog. The idea that I nearly lost both of my parents in less than a month of each other was my tipping point. Needless to say, I had a significant desire to get out of town. I was depressed and my anxiety was through the roof. The only outlet that I knew would provide some relief was traveling.

As much as I wanted to travel abroad, it was off the table due to the restrictions in place to curb the pandemic. Now that more people are becoming vaccinated, travel restrictions are easing, and opportunities are becoming more available, I can already see a shift in my health. I’m feeling more optimistic, I’m writing more, and I feel like I have something to look forward to now.

I am not sure where I am going to go next, but I have a good feeling that it is going to be glorious.

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Top Writer in Humor and Travel on Medium. Self-published fiction author on Amazon and serialized writer on Kindle Vella. A long-time resident of the Gulf Coast & Full-Time RVer who enjoys covering local and unique topics.

Pensacola, FL
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