Wings COVID-Clipped, Linda Ballou Shares How She’s Experiencing Jubilation in the Year of the Virus
By Linda Ballou, NABBW’s Adventure Travel Associate
The Mexican people call retired persons “Jubilants.” I was so busy I never thought much about retirement, but suddenly, due to COVID, here it is.
I am unable to sell real estate because dealing with the public is just too dangerous now. My partner, who has been loving and supportive for 35 years, is convinced he will die if he gets Covid-19.
Consequently, I have not gone out to dinner, hiked with a friend, or had a haircut for eight months. The virus didn’t just clip my travel wings, it ripped them out of their sockets.
I was flying at quite a high altitude so the crash landing was devastating. At first, I was like a caged animal trying to gnaw its own leg out of trap. I was angry because I feared I would lose a year of travel after working so hard to build relationships with tour companies. I wondered if they would want an ageing travel writer, that is if they survived the year of the virus themselves.
I read that appreciation opens your heart and allows you to experience more love in your life. When you experience a sense of deep gratitude, it is calming and effective in raising the vibration of your emotional body.
This sounded good, so I actively began to count my blessings on daily walks that serve as my medication. I began to enjoy the fact that I did not have to do one damn thing.
I didn’t have to query anyone for a trip, write about a past trip, present my pieces to editors for placement, or do anything else unless I felt like it.
One of the greatest causes of stress is feeling out of control. Real estate demands that you live at the effect of other people’s emotions and circumstances.
I started to feel relieved that I wasn’t spending a lot of time and mental energy on transactions that were basically out of my control.
There are many moving parts in a real estate transaction. Escrows can be full of surprises you can’t anticipate. I found myself enjoying not having the demands of knitting all the pieces together and keeping everyone smiling.
International travel is wonderful but too, can be very stressful. Missed flight connections, lost baggage, long hours, jet lag, complicated border crossings, not speaking the language or being able to read signs can all add up to high anxiety.
I am willing to endure this discomfort to get to where I think I want to go, but there is something very relaxing about staying home in familiar territory where you know the ropes.
It occurred to me that I could do whatever I pleased with the time handed to me. I determined to write a story that has been simmering on the back burner for about ten years now.
It is a historical novel inspired by the adventurous life of Lady Isabella Bird, one the world’s greatest traveler writers. I’ve got the first draft done and I know I will have it in publishable format by the end of the year.
I feel extremely gratified at this accomplishment. It would not have gotten done if the virus hadn’t stopped me in my tracks.
I also got my travel collection Lost Angel Walkabout published in audio book format. It was exciting to have a professional narrator read my stories.
I have been hiking or swimming every day for a couple hours. I do my stretches every morning and I have evolved a lifestyle that is conducive to creativity and good health.
Stress is the big killer in our busy world. Perhaps, this year of a regular regime without worry or pressure will allow my body a chance to release toxins and recharge. I might get an extra decade of good living.
Did I ask for “premature jubilation”? No, I did not.
Did I resist being grounded? Absolutely.
Have I benefited from this time? I would say it has been a golden opportunity to work undistracted by worldly pursuits.
Do I want to get back to going my merry way? I can’t wait, but this has been a period of emotional and creative growth.
I am okay with being a Jubilant—for now.
Linda Ballou is an adventure travel writer with a host of travel articles on her site www.LostAngelAdventures.com. You will also find information about her travel memoir, Lost Angel Walkabout-One Traveler’s Tales from Alaska to New Zealand, and Lost Angel in Paradise where she shares her favorite hikes and day trips on the coast of California.