I live in Dallas, Texas. The state has been very slow to move forward with testing for COVID-19, so we haven’t seen many cases, until this week. On Monday, a county judge ordered all of Dallas County to “shelter in place.” But that didn’t change things much. All essential businesses are still open. People can still go to work and outside for exercise, as well as shop for groceries. Many people don’t seem to take the order very seriously. When I go grocery shopping, the stores are limiting the number of people they let in at one time, however, once inside, most people seem to forget about “social distancing.” It’s a bit nerve-wracking. 

Life Without Travel is a series of first-person accounts from the Getting On Travel team. Each post offers a personal glimpse into the lives of our travel writers and bloggers apropos of the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020.

Work and travel disrupted

Work? What’s that?

All my work was canceled around the first week of March. I have no idea if it will come back. Aside from work, I had a trip to Italy scheduled for early April, a barge cruise in the Veneto region. I was planning to leave on April 3, and to stay over for about two weeks. I hope I will be able to do this at a future date. I was also scheduled to cover the Wonderful Women of Wine conference, and that, of course, was canceled. I can’t think of one event in my life that hasn’t canceled!

The Forum in Rome

A past visit to the Forum in Rome

I’m definitely having more trouble focusing. I’m also rethinking the future of my blog; currently, it has very little traffic. I think it’s a great opportunity to refocus on what I truly want to write about and enjoy. At the moment, I’m writing content for collaborative posts and re-sharing my content about Italy. I think that’s where my focus will be for some time to come. I’m taking it one day at a time. 

In the meantime 

I follow Patti Smith on Instagram. Since she is not traveling now, she is reading great literature and publishing it on her IG page. I also love that Oklahoma cowboy museum security officer Tim and his tweets. He’s a hoot! 

I’m focusing on reading what I already have in my stack of books and not adding a lot of new books at the moment, but I will eventually, I’m sure! There is one author I love to read strictly for pleasure and to lose myself in a story—Alexander McCall Smith. 

In terms of movies, I love Rome, so anything by Federico Fellini is fantastic, especially La Dolce Vita. HBO did a series called Rome that was canceled only because it was too expensive to produce. I binge-watched every season. And let us not forget, Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn, a delightful romantic comedy (although I found it quite sad). I wrote a short love story to Rome inspired by that movie. Here’s the link if you’d like to read it.  

Penny Sadler of Dallas visits Trastevere, Rome

Street view in Trastevere, Rome

New directions 

Living alone, with no work to do, makes it challenging to find structure. I make my bed when I get up and change clothes right away so I don’t go around in my pajamas all day. I’m learning Italian and have scheduled an online lesson every day at 5:00 pm.   

About 12 years ago, I recall speaking with a friend about the future of travel. I remember this conversation as if it was yesterday. I said, “One day we won’t be able to travel because of a virus or some other environmental factor.” Yes, I really said that! Now that it is here, I pray that it is temporary. My biggest fear is not being able to travel. That may sound crazy because I have no income at the moment, but money cannot buy the joy I get from traveling. Ok, maybe it can buy an airline ticket! 

Penny of Dallas visiting France

Penny snaps photos in France

I think group travel will be the most severely impacted, for obvious reasons. Other than that, I am not sure.  

I read a short inspirational quote that said something like: Travel is a state of being. No matter where we are in the world, we are traveling through this experience called life. I have been coping by doing my best to be present, not dwelling in the past or the future. This is not easy for me but I think I’m doing okay. It’s important to honor feelings, but looking back and wishing things were still the same is a rabbit hole I avoid.

GOT Contributor Penny Sadler 

Penny Sadler is a professional makeup artist by day, who began a quest to find beauty and adventure through travel and wine in 2010. Based in Dallas, Texas, she’s picked grapes in Italy, explored a 2,000-year-old wine cave in France, and is on a mission to visit every major wine region in California. Penny is a WSET certified wino who’s always ready to share a glass and a good conversation. Oh, and we think she’s mastered the art of traveling light — her blog is entitled “Adventures of a Carry-On.”