Locked Down? Take a Trip!

Oh no! Here we go again, locked down, and locked out of so many things we like to do. As this new phase of Covid-19 lockdowns begins friends will inevitably complain of boredom and even angst because of restricted activity, even though they understand the restrictions are required if we are to deal with the Covid-19 virus.

And, yes, it is even more frustrating now that vaccines are in early distribution. But we must keep up these practices until the vaccines have time to do their work.

Since the first lockdown began last March, I have taken the approach to boring times that worked for me when I was a suburbanite commuting to New York City. I traveled to another place by burying myself in the pages of a book. Other jobs have required driving to work, so I traveled by listening to audio books.

Louis XIV and brother Philippe d’Orléans

Whether reading or listening, whether fiction or non-fiction, a book describes another place and people I have never met doing things I’ve never done, and my mind – and yours – can take you there and have a new adventure with new friends.

I am retired, so when the first Coronavirus lockdown went into effect almost a year ago, it was easy for me to use books to fill up the time, and I added in the plethora of television content that is available with even the least expensive cable service. When lockdown restrictions were eased in the late spring, I kept it up I was enjoying the trips, and now I shall continue as lockdowns are reinforced in earnest.

Among my travels-by-book during the lockdown were a trip to coastal Maine where I met Olive Kitteridge and her friends and family, to Los Alamos where I met the amazing people and learned the science behind The Making of the Atomic Bomb, and a wild ride as The Great Influenza pandemic of 1918 spread from the Midwest throughout the United States and the world.

Steam engine from Hell on Wheels

Television travels have taken me to Louis XIV’s court at Versailles, to a long ride with the construction community as it built the Transcontinental Railroad in their Hell on Wheels village, and to the Renaissance era worlds of the Medici, Borgia, and Tudor families. And just last week Nancy and I returned to Maine by television to check in on Olive Kitteridge.

If you are in a business that is forced to shut down while you work at home and you must deal with schoolchildren engaged in distance learning at the same time, you owe it to yourself to make the most of whatever leisure time you have. Travel by book or television is a great way to do that. If you are unemployed, I am truly sorry, but Internet access is still there for you and you can use it to get any library books you might like to read. And television is, of course, always there.

Perhaps the best news of all is that reading or listening to books, or watching television are activities that are unlikely to violate community needs for wearing masks, staying socially distant, and staying indoors at home. Books and television let you be somewhere else and doing something else, all while helping your own community fight this awful scourge.

So, stay locked down . . . and take a trip!

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