Yes, I am far from home, in Hawaii. Yes, right in the thick of a global pandemic.
Here’s the thing. My daughter Kate is working here this winter, in Hilo, on the big island of Hawaii. She is a traveling nurse, as well as a general “life traveler” and explorer. One of her goals is to visit every single state in the United States. I think she has only three or four left to see. She has plans for experiencing other countries, too, a little farther down the line. But for now, this winter, she is living here, along with her husband and two of her children (her other two boys are grown, with families of their own).
Now, I never thought I’d ever come here. I’ve always known Hawaii was a beautiful place. I’ve read Mark Twain’s stories about visiting here, back when these were called the Sandwich Islands. My friend, Jeffrey, lived here for many years; my nephew, Bob, was stationed here in the service. A couple of my sisters have been here. I’ve always heard good things. Still.
First of all, unlike my youngest daughter, I’m not much of a traveler. I don’t mind staying home; I don’t worry about what I’m missing, or what is out there to explore. Second, any travel from my little home on Beaver Island is complicated. I have to board the dogs; I have to add at least one day to either end of my trip, just for getting to and from the island. I do not get paid vacations, and any absence has to be arranged according to all of my co-workers ability to cover for me. Third, getting to Hawaii involves a long, expensive flight.
However, with Kate here, it suddenly sounded very appealing. My older daughter, Jen, and I started talking about it in December. By January, we had purchased tickets and finalized our plans. Kate was excited, and so were we.
In February, the Corona virus started making the news. As you know, the news accelerated every single day. By March, it was getting daily coverage. As our departure date neared, we discussed the risks. A couple people advised me to cancel or postpone my plans. Many others advised care and safety precautions, but “Go!” I considered everything, and made my own decision.
Jen and I flew out of Lansing on March 16th, and arrived at Hilo Airport in the evening of the same day. I’m so glad to be here! It has been wonderful to spend this time with my family; they have shown us all the best things to see here, on this beautiful island.
As far as the virus is concerned, things changed rapidly from mid-March on. Though it looks like Hawaii is a much safer place to be than Michigan right now, I’m not quite ready to trust any of the statistics. There may be no truly safe havens; the best any of us can do is take precautions, and practice safety procedures. Yesterday, our flight home was cancelled for the third time. We are now scheduled to leave on April 1st, though I’m half expecting to get an “April Fool” call on that day, too!
I’m happy to be here with my family, safe and comfortable. Hawaii is truly a beautiful, welcoming place!