Looking to Travel for a Sense of Renewal

Svetlana Reznikova-Steinway, an emergency room doctor who lives in Phoenix, has spent most of the year doing double duty in a busy intensive care unit. At the start of the pandemic, she and her husband, a urologist, developed a system for the after-work, removing their scrubs in their garage to protect their 12-year-old daughter and 10-year-old twins from the virus. . She has become accustomed to intubating critically ill Covid-19 patients. She learned to gently use patient phones with FaceTime family members so that everyone can say their goodbyes.

“It was horrible,” said Dr Reznikova-Steinway, 43. “My colleagues and I have faced a lot of death, horror and suffering – it’s quite difficult to describe the weight, the horror and the mental and physical toll.”

In June, Dr. Reznikova-Steinway and her husband will join a group of a dozen doctors, nurses and their spouses – all of whom will be fully vaccinated – on an eight-night trip to Alaska hosted by Boutique Travel Advisors , a luxury travel agency. The route will keep them mostly outside; they will cycle, hike and kayak among the mountains and fjords of the Kenai Peninsula.

Beyond the need for a vacation, Dr Reznikova-Steinway said she hoped to do a “debrief” with other medical professionals, many of whom have also worked in emergency rooms across the country.

“There is no safety net in medicine to discuss how it feels and to be able to share the pain that you have felt and seen,” said Dr Reznikova-Steinway. “But I hope we can also take the time to laugh and maybe almost pretend we’re in a different world for a few minutes.”

Although in some places the number of cases is increasing, many parts of the United States and the world are opening up, with an increase in the number of vaccines and more travelers passing through American airports than at any other time of the pandemic. As we all step out of our homes and rub our eyes, some travelers believe today’s vacation is all about catering – recovering from everything that has happened since last March. Instead of flawless explosive journeys designed to take revenge on the year, these deeply personal journeys are designed as an ointment that will offer a way – big or small – to move on.

“Traveling provides the opportunity to escape our thoughts and feelings that have consumed us over the past year as we quarantined ourselves,” said Vaile Wright, clinical psychologist and senior director of Health Care Innovation at the ‘American Psychological Association. “It allows us to break away from the routines we had to establish to survive the stress of the pandemic and reminds us of all the beauty and humanity that exists outside the homes in which we have been isolating ourselves since last March. “

In a January survey of 3,000 travelers from the United States, Canada and several other countries, American Express Travel found that 78% of those surveyed wanted to travel this year to relieve stress from 2020.

“Customers tell me that because it has been such a difficult year and because travel is something they care about, being able to finally take that trip they dreamed of changes their mindset and their outlook.” said Amina Dearmon, New Orleans-based travel consultant and owner of Perspectives Travel, a subsidiary of travel agency SmartFlyer.

Virus-related stress and anxiety nearly defeated 36-year-old Deepa Patel when she gave birth to her third child in March 2020. Ms Patel, who lives in Anaheim, Calif., And works in the healthcare industry public health, was denied her postpartum examination. for bringing her 6 week old son. None of the Gujarati birth and postpartum traditions she cherishes – the flow of supporters, family meals and blessings – have taken place. She postponed a master’s degree program so that she could care for her children – now 6, almost 4 and 1 – full time at home.

Ms. Patel’s work in humanitarian aid has taken her far beyond typical vacation destinations – to South Sudan, Iraq and beyond. But in July, Ms Patel and her family will embark on a new kind of trip: a fly-and-flop at an all-inclusive resort in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

“My humanitarian goal is going to be sitting on a beach, drinking mai tais all day,” she joked. “I’m ready to go out and do nothing for a little while. I just want to shut down my brain; I just wanna see my kids play.

Mrs. Patel knows she is lucky; she and her husband were healthy and able to work. But like many parents at the end of the year, they still want a reprieve.

“We hope to take advantage of the kids’ club,” she said. “We have been with our children every day for a year. We had no babysitters – no family help, no nights. It is important for us to find a way to do nothing but relax. “

In January, about three weeks after Mirba Vega-Simcic lost her mother to Covid-19 – and shortly after recovering from the virus herself – she and one of her brothers traveled to what ‘she calls her’ happy place ‘: the Roxbury, a colorful and fantastic Resort nestled in the rolling Catskill Mountains.

“There was a meditative aspect to it – watching the waterfalls and feeling the wind on your cheek and feeling its presence,” said Ms. Vega-Simcic, 44, certified community service incentive coordinator for The Family Resource Network on her death. mother. “Until then, I had not had a moment of mourning.

Although Ms Vega-Simcic, who lives in Belleville, NJ and passes through Mimi, has been to the Roxbury at least a dozen times, the January trip, due to her schedule – and because she went with her brother – was the most significant. The resort’s white storybook cottages, which are individually decorated in themes ranging from Greek gods to mythical fairy forests, were more than just a change of physical scenery.

“When I took a bath, I cried and I cried, but I felt this calm come over me, because when I looked at my surroundings, I didn’t look at my house and the chaos of my life. “, she says. “I was looking at something really beautiful – something that allowed me to escape.”

Like Ms. Vega-Simcic, Judith West took comfort in the familiar after a heartbreaking year. Her 61-year-old husband died just before the pandemic in February 2020.

“I had the isolation of grief exacerbated by the isolation of Covid,” said Ms. West, 80, a Manhattanite active in the world of philanthropy. “It was a double whammy.”

Fully vaccinated in mid-February, Ms West escaped last month to the Seagate Hotel & Spa in Delray Beach, Florida. Although she and her late husband have been to Seagate several times together, this trip, on the other hand, was her “getting used to being alone on” vacation, “as she put it.

Ms West spent the time quietly reading the papers, walking around, chatting with resort staff, visiting the beach club and going out to dinner, either solo or with friends living nearby.

Although she had been nervous before the trip about the boredom and loneliness, Ms. West left “on a high note,” she said, feeling at peace and relaxed.

“I would be a robot if I didn’t say there was nostalgia, but it’s nice,” she says. “These are all great memories. What is life, if not good memories and experiences? “

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