Art and Culture, Columns, Opinion

Emma Westenberg: The COVID Globetrotter

Written by Emma Westenberg
Edited by Bhromor Rahman

I miss flight attendants. Their spotless uniforms, relentless smile, and incredible performances during takeoff bring comfort to passengers of all nations. However, apple juice demand is lower these days, considering the pandemic. To my regret, it is not the only change on-board. Individual packets, containing hygiene products, are being distributed to the diminished number of travelers. Masks are covering the nose and mouth. With all of these modifications, how and when will things return to normal? Who will be the commander-in-chief determining that the battle has been won versus COVID-19? These questions rumble in heads around the world. Yet the light at the end of the tunnel has yet to be found…

Once arrived at the wanted destination, I am afraid of the stares. Hello, I am Emma Westenberg, and I am from the red zone of Montreal. I am bringing no undeclared goods – I hope. How will the locals accept international travelers in their country? Is the presence of tourism worth the labyrinth of logistics? Is the economic stability, brought forth by tourists, more valuable than the mental health of healthcare workers?

It is a very tricky situation…but extremely interesting as well! Laws will need to be re-furnished, re-established and created due to the arrival of coronavirus. When on vacation, freedom is meant to be fully-developed. Visiting new areas, walking freely and enjoying night-life are all part of the experience. Unfortunately, these activities are no longer feasible. They require continuous organization, and the rules are constantly changing. Planning activities is becoming a sport as opening hours change more quickly than Google can even adapt to.

The situation is not ideal, but some have found ideas to cope with their lack of travel experience! ‘Flights to nowhere’ are becoming increasingly popular. Essentially, travelers  pay to take a plane, after having gone through airport security, that will lead them to their initial destination. Personally, I am always extremely productive in the sky. Whether it be completing future assignments or drafting e-mails to be sent at arrival, there are no distractions. Only work can be completed. Therefore, I understand that taking a flight, after so long, can seem quite attractive! The takeoff feeling is extremely exciting. It announces departure. Defrosting the wings of the plane is momentarily frustrating as passengers are eager to explore the world. The debate on the quality of airplane food is yet to be addressed again, as are sleeping positions in economy-class seats. Daydreaming at the window, observing breathtaking views on a cloudless day, is something that is unique to planes. Borders closures are unfortunate, but easy to avoid. Mind-travelling, from past to future, is an incredible escape to nostalgia. COVID-19 may be a barrier, but who says it cannot be stepped over? While continuing to disinfect all store-tables, crew-members are waiting to share their journeys with their beloved customers!

Until the wheels lift off the ground, I wish you all very happy travels from the kitchen to the bedroom to the backyard. We will be on flights to somewhere soon – I can feel it!

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