By Sue Murphy
I got an email from a friend the other day saying, “I just want to get on a plane and go somewhere.” I hear ya, buddy. I hear ya.
For people who love to travel, this past year has been difficult. I’ve tried not to think about it, mostly, but I desperately, desperately want to be free to move about the cabin. I want to have a Coke in a plastic cup that I have to chug before we land. I want to watch important safety briefings that don’t all start with the words “stand six feet apart.”
Technically, I know I could get on a plane right now, but I also know that it’s more prudent to wait until the herd is fully immunized. Besides, right now my destinations would be limited. They really don’t want an American in Paris. They’re not ready with a warm “G’day, mate” in Australia, either. At this point, Americans are not even welcome in Canada, and Canadians are right up there with the people of South Bend, Indiana, as being the nicest people on the planet.
I understand everybody being skittish. I’m not all that anxious to share my space with people who come in from places where the virus protection standards have been less stringent (like Texas). Better to be sure we’re not spreading germs before we start spreading out across the globe.
But, as soon as the COVID fog has lifted, buddy, stand back. I will be throwing things in a suitcase and flying out the door. I’ll be gathering up tour reservations and airline tickets and meal vouchers with both hands. I want to see Yellowstone and Glacier Bay. You might receive posts from Portugal and Prague and those blustery islands off the coast of Scotland.
But first, I want to visit my family. I want to run through the sprinkler with my Florida grandchildren. I want to have a glass of wine on my sister’s patio. I want to go to Disney World. (Mickey and Minnie are second cousins on the rodent side of my family.)
After all of the safer-at-home restrictions, it will be wonderful to just go and go and go. There’s one place I’m not going, however: space. SpaceX has an all-civilian excursion set to launch later this year. I did not apply. The very idea of a rocket launch manned by people who usually surf the web and order takeout gives “safer at home” a whole new meaning. Also, for all that the trip will cost its passengers, there are no verandah suites on that vessel, no stage shows, no signature frozen drinks that come with little umbrellas. At least I don’t think so. They didn’t mention them in the press release.
While a trip into space might seem like the ultimate travel experience, and the scenery would literally be out of this world, you’d really just be looking at it through a very small window, smaller than the porthole you’d get on a lower-level cruise package. Yes, you would be able to drink the water but that’s because you brought it with you. You even have to bring your own air, and the only way to bring home souvenirs is to put on one of those giant hazmat-ish suits that’s connected to your ship only by a cord controlled by a fellow amateur astronaut. Houston, I foresee a problem.
So, no space travel for me, thank you. Planes, trains, and automobiles? Line them up. I’ve been revving my engines for over a year now. Ready? Set? Gooooooo!