I’ve been forced to travel during coronavirus a lot more than I’d like. Transforming a long-distance relationship into a close distance relationship doesn’t happen without a lot of travel. The timing was terrible. On the bright side, I learned a lot of valuable lessons that will prove useful whenever the next clumsy lab technician at the Wuhan lab drops a vial of death and wipes out half the global population.
My first and most valuable piece of advice for traveling during the pandemic: don’t. Airplanes, gas stations, all the public areas that you are forced to deal with while traveling are the harbingers of disease. Disgusting shared spaces that people cough, fart, and sneeze on constantly. If you’re trying to get sick, traveling is the perfect way to do it.
I flew across the country at (what I thought was) the height of the pandemic in April and then drove back across the country at the actual height of the pandemic at the start of July. I painstakingly traversed the states with the worst spikes (and people), Arizona, Oklahoma, New Mexico. The worst part about driving through these deserted wastelands wasn’t the lack of scenery. It was the threat of catching COVID every time we stopped for food or had to shit.
I’m not terrified of COVID-19, I’d like to say I have a healthy fear of it, but driving straight through the heart of Rona country definitely gave me a level of anxiety I didn’t think was possible.
Traveling during coronavirus was ill-advised. But if you must travel, if you fall in love with a woman who lives 3,000 miles away, or if you’re one of those idiots that thinks COVID is a hoax, here are some tips of advice.
Masks and Hand Sanitizer
“Of course, everybody knows this!.” No the fuck they do not. Half the country continues to deny that COVID is a thing and claim they have “religious exemptions” from wearing masks. Middle America started acting like petulant toddlers and screaming “MUH FREEDOMS” when instructed to wear a mask and stay in their homes so they don’t die.
Not only that, but wearing a mask and practicing social distancing is to protect others as well as yourself. If your a carrier you don’t want to pass the disease onto a bunch of innocent people. But here in America, we value doing whatever we want over protecting other people’s lives.
While it may seem obvious to anybody with a sense of self-preservation or that isn’t a complete, selfish bag of shit, there’s still a large section of the country that would rather endanger themselves and others because they can’t be inconvenienced. Wear a fucking mask, sanitize your hands, stop acting like a whiny bitches.
Avoid the People in Arizona
This is sound advice with or without the pandemic. This wasteland filled with pink-skinned Trump supporters has become the hot zone for COVID-19. I tried to speed through it as fast as possible but still had to stop in Phoenix for some food and gas. It’s like they have no idea there’s a pandemic happening. Everybody is outside, nobody is wearing masks, and despite the worsening condition in the state, people seem unaffected.
Arizona is a MAGA hat come to life. An ASU frat party that never ends. A misguided tribal tattoo that America can’t remove. The AZ collective following the advice of supreme leader Trump and being selfish assholes is not surprising.
I will say that Sedona, the Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, and all of the hikes and landmarks in between are gorgeous. Arizona only starts to suck when you talk to the people that live there. It’s like the rejects that the rest of America didn’t want to tolerate decided to settle in Arizona. It’s a beautiful place with the ugliest people. I would call it America’s Australia but we all know that’s Florida.
Avoid O’Hare Airport
We had a 2-hour layover at Chicago O’Hare and I thought nothing of it. Most people hate this airport but I personally have never had a bad experience there. I assumed that it was going to feel like a zombie apocalypse just like every other airport during the pandemic.
But no, Chicago simply does not give a fuck about the pandemic. Everything was open, nobody was wearing masks, I mean Jesus Christ, a bar was open with people standing shoulder to shoulder. I mean, I still went to the bar and got a few beers/shots but I didn’t feel good about it.
Never Go to Oklahoma
I don’t think anybody is dying to travel to Oklahoma but just in case you are, don’t. I’ve never been as bored as I was driving through this state. It’s empty. Like, we made Oklahoma a state but didn’t check to see if anybody actually wanted to live there.
We stayed in the middle of Oklahoma City during our road trip and aside from the hotel guests I saw a total of 6 people. In the center of downtown. Their Coronavirus restrictions weren’t that strict. Bars and restaurants were open, so were a number of marijuana dispensaries. I wouldn’t peg Oklahoma as the weed-friendly state but then again when there’s literally nothing to do you need something to keep you sane.
The most exciting part was staying at the infamous haunted Skirvin Hotel for a night. Sadly, even the ghosts there are boring. I drove as fast as humanly possible through this hellhole and wouldn’t go back unless someone paid me to do it.
How to Travel During Coronavirus: Don’t be a Dick
No matter how hard you try to protect yourself, all it takes is one idiot to infect you. There’s no “safe” way to travel during Roni and the level of danger isn’t really up to you. The only foolproof way to avoid infection is to stay where you are until this thing dies down, which doesn’t appear to be any time soon.
But people have to travel sometimes, pandemic or not. If you find yourself on the road or in the air: don’t be a dick. Protecting yourself also protects other people. Just put on the god damn mask and sanitize your hands, it’s not hard and you’re not proving a point by refusing to do it. You’re just proving everybody in your life right when they call you an asshole.
There isn’t much advice to share other than wear a mask and stay away from everybody. And avoid most of middle America. If you can’t follow these simple instructions then you shouldn’t be traveling in the first place.