For this past week I've been on vacation with my family, taking the first trip in about five years. Overall, it's been a nice trip and a welcome change of scenery from my routine that has stayed steady for so long.
A lot has changed since we last went on a trip. Self-driving trucks were starting to become a thing. The Tesla Model 3 was released. AI-generated images got really, really good.
Oh, and there was that whole Covid-19 thing.
While the impacts of Covid today are not as directly impacting as they were back when the world locked down and the Delta and Omicron variants were running rampant, there's no denying that Covid is still prevalent and impacts our lives, particularly if you're travelling. For myself, just hopping into a giant metal tube with a few hundred other strangers – even if Canadian law requires the use of face masks – was enough to make my anxiety levels rise.
Along with Covid is just the sheer number of people I'm around. I normally live alone, so a week-long trip with no escape from other people has been a challenging time. I work from home, and most of my interactions are either with my dog and cat, or online with friends. I can easily go a few days without seeing someone in-person.
There's two things I've realized I've missed while on this trip:
- Quiet time. When you're on vacation in a popular tourist destination, there's not really any options to be alone. The quiet places tend to be the ones where other people are also going to find some quiet.
My solution to this was to get outside for some early morning walks. It's not perfect and there's still people around, but most people were asleep which meant some solace for me.
- Friends. Even if I don't see them in person, just talking online has become an everyday part of my life. There's still internet access here, but my online social life is largely focused around playing games with those friends, and my 15-year-old laptop and cheap hotel WiFi isn't exactly suitable for that.
- Nice soap. Hotels have expertly straddled the line between soap that is just good enough to use and just bad enough that nobody's going to try and take a bunch home. I can't wait to wash my hands or have a shower using soap that comes off cleanly.