At the beginning of the year, my sister and I decided that we should plan a trip that coincides with her spring break from medical school. Knowing that I have a few extra vacation days leftover from last year, and that once she starts her second year of school in the fall, her schedule will not be as flexible, we decided to take advantage of this opportunities for a Sisters Trip to Charleston, South Carolina.
Over the past few months, we had made reservations, booked our travel and were super excited for a long weekend getaway together, just the two of us. Outside of weekend visits to each others’ cities, we’ve never taken a trip together without our parents. And the idea of that was so exciting (Love ya, Mom and Dad)! However, within 48 hours of our departure, things started to change.
As most of you are aware, the Coronavirus, or COVID-19, is a global pandemic that has been the top news story in the media for a few weeks now. Stories are ranging from informative to panic-inducing as anyone can see by a visit to their local grocery store. While I am the first to take everything the media says with a grain of salt (I did study Crisis Communication and Journalism, after all), and am regarding this crisis as well, it seemed like things begin to rapidly evolve over the past 48 hours. And within 24 hours of our planned departure, the Governor declared a State of Emergency, which included all public schools and state colleges, as well. Additionally, my sister’s school requires her, if traveling, to quarantine for 14 days upon returning to campus.
Considering all that, this virus has been shown to not have as big of an impact on people my age. Of course, I was ready to take all kinds of pre-cations — I had hand sanitizers, wet wipes, lotion and clorox wipes packed to use in our rental car, AirBnb, and really anywhere we went. I’m not sure concerned about contracting anything, especially since this has not hit South Carolina hard yet, but being cleanly is never a bad thing. Safe is better than sorry.
But, within hours of leaving, we ultimately made the choice to postpone our trip. With all of the new and emerging information, plus my sister’s travel restrictions as ordered by her school, we felt like it would be best to stay put. We knew we’d be in public places — rest stops, restaurants, touristy landmarks, and the like — and we knew that we could potentially carry the virus. And the absolute last thing either of us want is to hurt someone else, especially someone close to us.
Overall, do I think we could have contracted the virus? No. Do we think that anything really would have happened by us going? Also no. But in an abundance of caution, I know we would enjoy our trip so much more when things are more settled. We still plan to make the trip at some point this spring, and Jody and I still plan to follow our travel plans this spring and summer. But for right now, I’m going to be home with my family, being thankful for an unexpected slow weekend.