Many people are teeming with the idea that someone is going on a journey, let alone indefinitely, in a time of immense suffering when millions of people are just waiting for the opportunity to hug a loved one again. School and office closings shouldn't make it easier to see the world. They should persuade us to stay home and slow the spread of a deadly virus. Families who have traveled extensively during this time have done so despite public health guidelines.
However, these families insist that their "slow travel methods", which allow for rare indoor encounters with other people, are no more dangerous than if they had stayed at home. Spend your time across the country in an RV and stay in state parks. You seldom encounter anyone outside of your family except to get food and gasoline. These families often argue that they are safer now than at home – no one will be seen without grandparents or friends around.
"This pandemic has been incredibly difficult for everyone and people are finding ways to manage and manage it," said Ashish K. Jha, the dean of Brown University School of Public Health, adding that activities in isolation are such as sailing or camping not inherently risky. "We have to give people a break to do something differently."
Until the pandemic, the Ryans weren't and never planned to be sailors. But they spent the lockdown watching YouTube videos about families sailing. By May they had bought a boat without knowing how long they would be on it. "If it hadn't been for Covid, there was no way it would have happened," Ms. Ryan said.
And yet her life has become an endless journey. Ms. Ryan gave up trying to keep up with the girls' virtual learning schedule and was now teaching them at home. The family hopes to extend the trip indefinitely. Mr. Ryan is currently based outside of Miami. When he returns to flying next month, he can commute from the Caribbean. "Honestly, it's kind of great," said Ms. Ryan. "Nobody knows what the future will bring."
Other travelers set off simply because they hit a wall. There's nothing like being stuck at home to let you know that you'd rather be elsewhere. In Facebook groups like Travel off Path Community and Worldschoolers, members share advice on crossing borders, dealing with local quarantine rules, finding Covid-19 tests abroad, and teaching home schooling on the go. Lone travelers use the groups with thousands of members to meet with other people overseas.
As winter began in Wisconsin, Ana Gomez found that she couldn't make it when she was constantly home with her children, who are 5 and 3 years old. "We can't be in a house for six months when it's this cold," said Ms. Gomez, 41, who is originally from Colombia. "It would be bad for us and for our marriage."