Saturday, after participating in a real-time virtual yoga class, my sister (who lives in New Jersey), her college friend Elizabeth (who’s in Brooklyn), and I used Google Hangouts to sync about our upcoming (early May) girls trip.
We were all set to arrive in El Paso on early morning flights (my sister, from Philly; Elizabeth, from New York; and me, from St. Louis). That afternoon, we’d visit White Sands then drive north to and stay in Santa Fe for a few nights. Next up, a dream reservation: a Posi Primo Suite at Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort and Spa. From there, we could visit Georgia O’Keeffe’s Abiquiu home.
During our call, we agreed that jet setting in May is unlikely. Ojo has suspended all its operations at both its properties (Caliente Mineral Springs in Ojo Caliente and Sunrise Springs in Santa Fe). And, like so many people all over the world, the three of us are committed to self-isolating as much as possible. I suggested that we try to reschedule our reservation if possible, rather than canceling, in part because of the realizations I came to while writing a piece on ways to support your favorite travel businesses from home. (Hint: Postponing rather than canceling really helps smaller businesses with cash flow.)
Unfortunately, the three of us might not be able to pull off a trip at a later date. Our schedules take all of us in different directions, and that’s something we have to accept. We discussed the possibility of buying each other out of our “shares” if two or even one of us is able to go. Again, this is an opportunity not to cancel on Ojo -- or give up on the dream completely. So, thanks to my relatively flexible schedule, I’m looking forward to meeting New Mexico, Land of Enchantment, for the first time in 2020 or 2021.
To get a sense of where folks are still looking forward to going and why, we reached out to our writers, too. Here’s where they say they’re going as soon as we can travel again.
Kelly Hayes-Raitt is on lockdown in London. A full-time professional house sitter, she recently wrote a piece on how the coronavirus could leave her homeless. But gratitude is getting her through the days, thanks in part to her strong spiritual practice “that emphasizes hope and faith instead of fear.”
“I’ll need to leave the UK so I don't overstay my tourist visa,” she told us. “My first choice would be to visit Ljubljana, Slovenia, to see if it might be my new home!”
Karen Warren, another UK-based writer, told us, “I am really, really hoping that I can take my planned trip to New Orleans in October. This is a place I’ve always wanted to go to, with history, jazz, and amazing food! There are so many bars and restaurants that it’s hard to say which ones I’d choose, but the newly opened Belle Epoque Absinthe Bar looks like one not to be missed. Accommodation wise, I love historic buildings and the Hotel Peter and Paul (in an old school and convent) looks perfect. Outside of the city, I also have my eye on the Houmas House, on an old sugar plantation.”
Erika Ebsworth-Goold, who’s also here in St. Louis, is pining for New Orleans, too. “As soon as it’s safe to do so, I’d love to pack up the car and get down to New Orleans. Our family has long held a special place in its heart for the Crescent City; we have many dear friends who make that special place their home. The city now finds itself at the epicenter of the COVID epidemic, and it’s already been through so much in recent years. I can’t think of a more perfect place in which to eat, drink, and be merry once we come through the other side of this crisis.”
“Of course, since we’ll be celebrating, taking the streetcar to jazz brunch at Commander’s Palace uptown will be a must,” Erika told us, “along with a quick order from Cafe du Monde and a few grab-and-go champagne cocktails from the bar at the Renaissance New Orleans Pere Marquette, which is the perfect home base for a New Orleans adventure!”
“I booked a weekend in Milan for a girlfriend getaway months ago,” Ulrike Lemmin-Woolfrey told us, “before all this unfolded. I have flights and accommodation booked for mid-May and I am stubbornly refusing to cancel, even though my friends wondered if we should.”
“I am holding onto that trip,” she said, “even if I lose the money. It gives me hope and focus, and I am crossing everything I have that the situation by then will have eased enough to travel. And then, if I make it, I will treat myself to a little Prada something. I think I will deserve it!”
“Our first trip when we’re able to get out of the house again will be to Racine, Wisconsin!” Food Travelist writers Sue Reddel and Diana Laskaris told us. “We can’t wait to taste a real Racine Kringle pastry, try a fabulous Wisconsin fish fry, and enjoy a true supper club experience at the HOBNOB. We’ll walk off the calories on North Beach’s 50 acres of beautiful sand and stop by Racine Harbor Park for gorgeous views of the harbor and Lake Michigan.”
“We want to visit the Wind Point Lighthouse,” they said, “and explore the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed SC Johnson headquarters. And if we’re not too tired, we'll finish off with some live music and a nightcap at George’s Tavern.”
San Sebastian, Spain
Learning a language is on Ruth Murdoch’s bucket list, and she’s settled on Spanish. The place she craves to get back to: Spain. “And what are the Spanish best for?” she asked us. “Tapas, of course, or pintxos, as they are called in San Sebastian,” the place she wants to visit when she and her husband, who are motorhoming through Europe, can hit the road again.
“I crave the tasty offerings from Betijai Berria S.I” -- an upscale eatery in Donostia-San Sebastian’s Old Town -- she told us. Donostia-San Sebastian is on the northern coast of Spain, less than 30 minutes from the French border.
Broome, Western Australia
Nadine Cresswell-Myatt told us she’s looking forward to visiting Broome, Western Australia. “Broome is remote, but a tourist gem,” she said.
“Cable Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. [There’s] lots of World War II history -- it was attacked just like Pearl Harbour with lives lost -- and there is a rich indigenous history in the area. If the bus service is still running, I will be using that for a 1,000-mile hop-on, hop-off trip down the Western Coast of Australia to see the dolphins that swim into shore at Monkey Mia and frolic at tourists’ feet, swimming with the huge but gentle whale sharks that eat plankton rather than people, visiting the amazing Pinnacles -- like a forest of stalactites growing up from the desert -- and visiting Coral Bay that has natural beauty few people ever get to experience.”
Sounds like an amazing trip!
South Africa And Eastern Africa
“The place I am craving to travel to is South Africa and Eastern Africa,” Heather Markel told us. “I had planned a gorilla trek in Uganda for June, and every time I see a photo of anything in Africa -- people, safari animals, et cetera -- my heart yearns to be there. My favorite tour company there is Detour Africa, and as soon as we can go, I'm booking the first flight I can!”
Emerald Beach, Florida
Robin O’Neal Smith told us, “As soon as the pandemic passes, my husband and I are headed to Emerald Beach near Destin, Florida. We can’t wait to feel the sand between our toes, sit in the sun, and participate in the Emerald Coast Beach and Dune Tour. Northwest Florida is home to some of the most beautiful waters and beach/dune systems in the world. During this beach walking tour, we will learn about the waters, beaches, dunes, and wildlife that make these ecosystems so special. With 40+ years of experience, the tours are led by marine biologist and professor Dr. Larry Rainey.”
Robin and her husband are “also looking forward to enjoying some fine dining at Christiano’s Italian Restaurant -- a local’s secret, think white tablecloths, Italian opera, and great service -- and the Half Shell Oyster House, where I will enjoy some fried green tomatoes and some large Cajun boiled Royal Reds” -- aka shrimp.
Wherever Family Is
Sandi Barrett told us, “the most precious trip” she’s had to postpone was one to Washington, D.C., to visit her brother and his family. “I am sad that we will not be there for cherry blossom time,” she told us. But she’s still looking forward to taking her 86 year old mother to D.C. when she can. “Any time we can walk the National Mall and enjoy the monuments of our great nation is a glorious adventure. I am filled with a sense of pride at the outpouring of love and support across our great country.”
Elaine Masters will also be focusing on seeing her family. That will take her to Washington, D.C., too. “I missed the cherry blossoms in Washington D.C., where my son is working, but look forward to giving him a hug and walking the National Arboretum together again as it’s flowering.”
She went on to tell us, “It will be such a relief to wander back up to one of my favorite cities, San Francisco. I lived in the Bay Area off and on for years and will either drive or fly up there to see our first granddaughter as soon as it’s safe to do so. I haven't seen her, and she’s nearly a month old already. I love getting out on the water and will take the ferry from the beautiful terminal at the end of Market Street up to Vallejo where my sister is. She recently bought a little house there. I've never seen it and she keeps telling me how that area is becoming an arts center. It also has a lot of history.”
“I think we’ll be in healing mode for a long while once the crisis has passed,” Elaine said. “Travel is restorative. I'll never take it for granted again.”
For more on making safe, healthy, and inspired choices during this time, see all our COVID-19-specific content here.