Recently, the US announced it would require negative COVID tests from any international travelers flying to the country, effective Jan. 26.
This means US citizens and non-residents both. Either proof of a negative test or proof of recovery are acceptable, according to the State Department, and the new policy applies to all passengers two and older. It’s not the only notice of the sort that’s been put into place this week; Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the country is banning flights to Mexico and the Caribbean, and requiring all international travelers to quarantine at approved locations upon arrival. Their policy goes into effect Feb. 3.
Back in December, CNN Business predicted that we might need “vaccine passports” this year, and it looks like that prediction has come true. Will they work? Are they “fair,” asks a new piece in Forbes.
I’ve been dreaming of seeing my family in Colombia since 2017, but the two trips I’ve had scheduled since then have been cancelled for one reason or another. The first trip, scheduled for January 2019, got cancelled because of weather. I couldn’t get out of Minnesota. The second trip, scheduled for March of 2020 was cancelled because of COVID. And up until the beginning of January 2021, I had been dreaming that I’d get to Colombia in May or June of this year. But after our family had a COVID exposure scare while preparing to fly home from California, I’ve decided that I just don’t have it in me to take any risks right now. And as these new requirements are put in place, I feel even more certain that Colombia is a ways away, literally and figuratively.
So to take my mind off this distance, I’ve been clicking on every Colombia-themed thing that shows up in my Twitter feed this week. It’s led to some lovely surprises, like the illustrator Eddie White, Jr., an Aussie living in Cartagena, Colombia. When I spent New Years in Colombia more than a decade ago, I hung out with some Aussies there and had a wonderful time. Finding this guy wasn’t quite as magical, but certainly transported me back to the country. His map of Bogota’s districts made me smile, not just for its whimsical figures, but for the imagination and creativity that went into it. It reminded me of the city itself.
And while looking at the various figures here, the funny periscope fish, the Loki-dog head, the bright yellow gnome head, I was able to imagine myself moving from critter to creature to figure, crossing “borders” and edges and experiencing the new joys (and challenges) that come with new places. We’re certainly in uncharted territory with COVID these days, and it gets to be pretty stifling at times. But turning to art, to new discoveries and to new vistas of the mind is one way to get through this, no passport needed. It’s hard to remind myself of this when I’m missing my family or trudging through snow, but I know it’s what I have to do, at least for now.
How are you curbing your wanderlust?