Enjoying a vacation from Covid

After recovering from Covid we wanted to take advantage of our 90 day immunity. We decided that the most dangerous place we could go was Florida, so we spent the Thanksgiving break on the beach at Marco Island, Florida. We had clear skies, hot sun, perfect pool/beach weather, and not a mask or a sense of Covid anywhere. I thought it would feel weird, but it felt strangely wonderful to take a vacation from Covid.

After my last post, I had been meaning to follow-up to share that we all recovered and are doing fine. Hannah, who had the least symptoms, is the only one with any lingering issues; she has a persistent cough that is being treated by inhalers and is slowly getting better. But the rest of us show no long-term issues and it has allowed us more freedom with Caroline in the months before she became eligible for vaccination because she was immune.

The general guidance is that after you test positive, you cannot contract Covid again for 90 days. It probably isn’t 100% true, but it’s close enough for us. So the recommendation from the pediatrician and others was to take advantage of the freedom and take a trip or do something that we wouldn’t otherwise do. We decided against leaving the country (the girls’ passports had expired and we were concerned about changing requirements for testing and quarantine) so we looked for a domestic trip. And when I think of American places where A) I would want to go on vacation and B) are not normally safe in a pandemic, Florida was at the top of the list.

So we booked a trip to the JW Marriott hotel in Marco Island, Florida. It’s on the Gulf of Mexico, south of Naples and near the Everglades. The trip went amazingly well, we all had a blast, the hotel was great, the weather was perfect, we had time to relax at the pool and we took two excursions to see the area. We were expecting to enjoy the break from normal life, but I had not anticipated how nice it felt to take a break from Covid.

We wore masks on the plane and in the Lyft to the hotel but never put a mask on again until the return trip home. The signs around the hotel said that masks were optional for vaccinated people and required for unvaccinated and the elevators had signs about social distancing, but it felt like those were added by corporate and no one paid much attention. Much of the staff wore masks but almost none of the guests did. If we weren’t immune it might have felt reckless but knowing that it wasn’t going to affect us allowed us to go with the flow and hope that everything worked out.

It was really remarkable how quickly we got into the habit of leaving our room without even a mask in our pocket and how quickly dining indoors at a buffet felt completely normal. We regularly commented on it but we also felt lucky to be in a position that we didn’t have to worry. The few guests who did wear masks seemed to enjoy themselves, but I felt bad that they couldn’t have as much of a break from the pandemic as we could. It would have felt infinitely more dangerous a year ago, and probably even after being vaccinated but it gave me hope that life will go back to normal eventually.

It also gave me more sympathy for people who are tired of wearing masks. We live and work in towns and cities with mask mandates (and high vaccination rates) so we are used to wearing them. But I feel like I saw a glimpse into a mask-less world and I can see why people are attracted to it. Yes Covid can still be scary and yes we need to protect people who are immunocompromised but once we are vaccinated I’m more understanding of the sentiments from people who want to be allowed to go about their lives. I personally don’t find masks very limiting, but I was struck that spending a week without thinking about masks was very freeing in a way I didn’t expect.

One of the highlights from the trip was a boat ride in the Gulf of Mexico where a pod of dolphins were in a playful mood and followed our boat as they leaped and played in the wake:

We also had an airboat ride into the Everglades to see alligators, much time at the pool and beach, and multiple trips to the (indoor, unmasked) arcade with mini golf and bowling. Here are some photos from the trip:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/sAHUgGTKCfGQkCWg9

We are all back at school and work – I even went back into the, mostly empty, office which I have been enjoying. We have another trip planned in February to Colorado to see my sister and her family and to go skiing. We’re looking forward to ski season starting and we may try to do something around New Year’s. We’ll see how much, if any, the experience of this trip changes our attitudes about behavior closer to home, but for now we are still glowing from our vacation from Covid.

And for those who worry about Daisy, she spent an enjoyable week with friends. They don’t have a dog but it seems like Daisy may have convinced them that a dog may be in their future. We’ve decided she has a future in sales and any Doodle retailers who want to hire her to promote their product are welcome to contact her.

The girls were so excited to see Daisy they practically strangled her

Happy Hanukkah to all who celebrate the festival of lights!

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