AT THE START OF THE YEAR, AS I ALWAYS DO, I WROTE ABOUT MY 2020 TRAVEL PLANS.
The travel plan I was most looking forward to, unsurprisingly, was returning home to Scotland for Easter. With my brother’s school holidays coinciding with my visit, we would be at home in Lewis together for the first time in years, and I’d have enough time for a weekend trip to Glasgow too, to stay with one of my oldest friends and have a good old catch up like we used to do when we both lived in the Outer Hebrides.
Maybe I was in denial, but I still thought I might be able to travel, right up until last Thursday morning. Already working from home in an effort to contribute to “social distancing,” as I watched the news get progressively more concerning by the hour, I knew I wouldn’t be going home in a few weeks’ time. I knew I needed to cancel my flights.
Like everyone else, I’ve known about Coronavirus for months. A good friend of ours who lives in China made it home to London before the country went into lockdown, and I was vaguely aware of a case somewhere in Arizona when we flew there for a long weekend in February. But back then it still seemed like something distant, something we didn’t need to worry about quite yet. (I’ve been sanitizing my hands after being on public transport ever since I moved to New York, so I wasn’t altering my behaviour these past few weeks so much as noticing other people were starting to do the same.)