In our previous life, we traveled. Month after month. Country after country. And then, it was over. Everyone asks, “Do you miss it?” It’s complicated to answer.
We loved our walks every day on our travels through varying landscapes. We hiked through archaeological ruins in Cambodia and a few months later in Greece.
Fast forward to self-isolation in the time of coronavirus, where afternoons are spent hiking in the woods. Our minds are free floating as we live in the present, listening to birds calling and watching the contours of the path ahead. Then it strikes us that we are now back to the life we knew and loved as we traveled. We are on our own. When we traveled, our isolation came from months and years of traveling through places where we knew no one and often not speaking the same language. Now our isolation comes from COVID-19.
We have observed white-tailed deer, fox, possum, a woodchuck. Painted turtles slide off a log in the pond when we approach.
And there are always birds to observe. Most of our time is watching, hearing, smelling.
Nothing stays the same in the woods. When self-isolation started, the woods were a bare hint of green. With each day came more greenery, more flowers, and migrating birds.
Some plants were familiar, but most were not. We started using Plant Snap, an app for plant identification, to discover the names of the many flowers we didn’t know.
We have always loved our walks, but, during our many years of endless travel, those daily walks took on a new dimension. Sometimes we had a destination, but often we just took off exploring. The vistas were often grand but not always. Mostly we just rambled and observed, with every walk adding to our memory bank of the interesting places we visited. This is how we remembered each destination: by walking many miles past its most common and spectacular places.