We’re In London, And You Closed Our Borders?! Our One Day European Vacation

And One More Thing

By Gail Hodson Shirk

We’re In London, And You Closed Our Borders?! Our One Day European Vacation

For a lifetime, you have lived safe and secure in a country where, for the most part, you have been free from travel restrictions, or physical hassles getting from one point on the globe to another. Until now. This luxury, taken for granted by every citizen of the US, has evaporated before your very eyes in the short span of a week.

Picture, if you will, working for several years from early morning until late at night, building  your business, making it prosper. Finally, you are to a place where you can enjoy the fruits of your labor, and you decide to take your family on a dream vacation. Europe! Specifically, you are going to England and France.

It’s been thoroughly planned, and every detail worked out, so it should be fun and interesting from beginning to end. As the day for departure draws closer, there is a slight disturbance, globally; the Coronavirus, which has been ravaging China, and affecting a few other places around the world is constantly in the news. There was even a story that the Louvre in Paris was closing in an attempt to stop the spreading of the virus, there. It was going to be one of the highlights of the trip, but there would be so much else to see and do, you would adjust.

With all the activity to get your family and luggage to the airport and securely ensconced on the plane, it is fabulous to finally be on your way. Ten hours flying across the Atlantic, and you will be in London.

You all have made it! A ride in a black cab to your hotel, some unpacking, and familiarizing yourselves with a British hotel, and you’re ready for a brief walk before bed. On your stroll, you found a friendly little restaurant everyone agreed looked good for dinner, eating was pleasurable for all, and you’re back in your hotel for a good night’s sleep. Tomorrow is a big day, the first of two weeks of tours and activities. This will be the best vacation, ever!

Your phone rings at 5:00 in the morning, well before your alarm was set to ring. Puzzled and concerned, you answer, wondering who would be calling so early.

Disbelief. Your heart is beating way too fast, and a million thoughts are racing through your mind all at once. Everyone is awake by now, and wondering what’s happened. You have to keep calm and tell your family your vacation has been canceled, the President has closed your country’s borders to flights from Europe effective Friday the 13th, at midnight. He exempted England; however, it has been recommended you try and find a flight out of the country and back to the US as soon as possible.

The family is disappointed beyond words. Everyone is packing as fast as they can, and you are frantically calling airlines to find a flight, and get back home. You secured reservations for that afternoon, and you have to hustle to get checked out and to the airport to catch your plane.

The airport is chaos and packed with Americans looking for space on a plane. You made it to your gate just in time, and are holding it all together so you can just get out, and on your way to your own country.

Your plane lands back where you started from just a day ago. This may have been the shortest  European vacation on record, but you made it home. As you read the news and listened to it on TV, you learn that even Britain is banned now, and you made it back in the nick of time.

The days of easy travel between countries have been disrupted by a virus. While you were dealing with the shock and disappointment of your holiday being ruined by a virus from China, which grew into a pandemic, you have learned that your countrymen have had their sanity disrupted, as they spent the same amount of time you were traveling home to attack stores near and far, buying up every roll of toilet paper and bottle of water they could find. That particular aberration continues, today. You can’t understand the behavior, although there have been professionals commenting it is possibly a reaction to the stress felt over threat of a deadly virus.

This was not the adventure you were looking for, and certainly not the fulfillment of your dreams. It was, however, the best outcome from a plan that ran amuck in a most unexpected way. You kept calm, followed instructions, did what you had to do, and made it through unscathed, to which all will say, “Well done! Well done.”

(Photo courtesy of Luxxu)











Author: Gail Hodson Shirk

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