Well, we made it. It’s December. Month number 254 of the year 2020 - declared by the overwhelming majority of Facebook readers to be the worst year in the history of the world.
You can pick your favorite meme, but I’m kind of partial to “Before I agree to entering 2021, I would like to see your terms and conditions.” (In retrospect, we were not nearly cautious enough when agreeing to 2020!)
I recently ran across an expression that perfectly labeled what we are going through: “battle fatigue”. It was - unsurprisingly - used to describe what we have severally experienced across the globe in the past twelve or so months.
I have not personally experienced battle fatigue, although I was sworn in to the US Air Force for a period of time while I was touring with the USO. (Does that count?)
I didn’t think so. Plus we weren’t anywhere near a war zone.
So I’m not particularly qualified to address this subject - but that has never held me back before.
It certainly feels like battle fatigue. Each day seems eerily like the day before. Norms that have been in place - seemingly always - have fallen by the wayside, only to be reinstated - and then suddenly yanked away again. Rumors abound, but facts are in short supply. Uncertainty reigns.
Here’s Merriam-Webster’s definition: 1. a sustained fight between organized armed forces. 2. a lengthy and difficult struggle or contest: a battle of wits.
> verb. fight or struggle tenaciously.
Works for me.
Still, I drag myself out of bed every morning. In an effort to lull my brain into thinking everything is normal, I adhere to my usual routine: make the bed, shower, get dressed, brew a pot of tea, cook breakfast, eat breakfast. Promptly at 8:30 I turn on the computer.
And that’s pretty much where the wheels start coming off. The rest of the day is, more often than not, spent staring at the screen in a funk. Unless there is a pressing deadline on my depressingly blank calendar, nothing gets done. Promptly at 4:45 pm, I log off the computer, pour myself a drink, and sit down to watch the world’s latest catastrophes unfold on the network news.
Yet, despite the pandemic raging uncontrolled outside the walls of my little sanctuary, there are signs of hope that have been missing since at least March:
The Presidential election (which at the very least, provided a diversion for more than a year) is now decided. The fact that half of the country stubbornly refuses to accept the results, is problematic - but completely in character with everything else that has happened this year.
At this writing - against all odds - four coronavirus vaccines (three in the US and one in the UK) have recently shown incredibly good results in trials, and will undoubtedly receive emergency approvals post-haste. It will take a Herculean effort to distribute the vaccine globally to the millions needing it, but I’m seeing encouraging signs that the will is there to do it.
Over the course of this year, we in the travel industry have become increasingly convinced that people still want to travel, and that there will be a pent-up demand just as soon as it is safe again. But until that magic elixir - an effective vaccine - was tested and produced, we would just have to wait.
But at last, in the waning days of 2020, there is now a glimmer of hope. When you are ready to travel, we are ready and eager to get everybody back on the road safely.
Here’s to a new year, when - God willing - travel dreams will be replaced with real-life travel adventures!