Cheryl shares her baffling experiences of bumping into the pandemic at the very beginning of their dream tour. She unfolds the unhappy turn of events, of how their dream crashed and how they are now rebuilding their lives from scratch, without a home and jobs amidst lockdown. Most importantly, she shares the life- lesson that she learned in the process.
The couple has always desired to travel around the world. However, Cheryl believed that play should follow work and not vice-versa. They decided to turn a blind eye to their dream and instead, continued working towards realizing it someday after they retire. They were doing so well at it, until November 2019.
She got swept away by the success stories of globetrotters on the internet. She read how people exchanged their jobs and other opportunities, for a spin around the world. She got inspired by stories that urge people not to bury their dreams for the sake of the present because there is nothing such as a guaranteed future. After going through such fairytale-like stories, the couple finally decided to pronounce 2020 as the year they had been waiting for, the year to put their long-cherished dream on wheels.
Accordingly, they put up the house that holds so many bittersweet memories up for sale.
They Sell Their House; First Case in China ConfirmedOne day in November 2019, they got an offer on their house that was too good to resist. It was the day China confirmed and made public the first case of COVID-19. Unaware of the calamity brewing in a distant corner of the Earth, ready to take flight, they sold off their house in December 2019 and away with it went her piano, their printer that was still in perfectly good shape, the banana tree which was a wedding gift and lots more.
As if all this were not enough, she left her job of 6 years that she loved. In pursuit of their so-called dream tour, everything became sacrificial lambs. She confessed that it was not easy letting go of things that have become a part of her. At the same time, she was elated because things were getting real. They were just a few steps away from their dream.
Cheryl looked at things realistically and often consulted her husband on how to make a 7 months long tour work, especially when they were both without jobs. Unwilling to take chances and fall behind, she narrowed down the 'world' to '6 European countries'. She did careful management and calculation of their expenses, checked and rechecked. She made a never-ending itinerary. She was excited. They stayed in an Airbnb from December up to the time they took off for their so-called dream tour.
They bought tickets for France and landed in Paris on Feb 16, 2020. Their initial plan was to spend 6 weeks in southern France because they thought they had the summer all to themselves. They were ready to take time, appreciating the beauties of the land.
Europe Becomes the Epi-CenterEven though coronavirus had already made its way into the cities of Italy, Cheryl was without a care in the world because Italy is not in their bucket list.
The gravity of the situation finally struck them in the month following February. That was when they decided to shorten their trip to early May and from early May to April. When the news reached them that the government of Italy had declared complete lockdown, they bought return tickets. Although they no longer have a home to go back to, they decided to leave France for the US on March 28 2020.
On March 14 2020, they went to Avignon, and had a particularly 'good time' in the provincial town, walking through the still busy streets because life was still the same there, with cafes heaving with coffee lovers and people lounging about in the gardens, feeling the comfort of the sun. Nothing seemed out of place there. Ironically, the 'good time' that they had had in Avignon was to be the end of fun, as well as the end of a 7 months long '6 countries European tour'. Because it turned out that the prime minister of France had been out on the very same day Cheryl went to Avignon. He saw how people were not taking the disease seriously and imposed a lockdown on the same night. That was when Cheryl and her husband's nightmare began. Everything was going wrong, contrary to what they had anticipated. Minutes after the declaration of the lockdown, they got a mail from their airline, notifying them that their flight got cancelled.
The American couple was in a dilemma. They were left with only two options. Either they continue their stay in Southern France, under complete lockdown, stuck in the Airbnb, not knowing when they will get to leave or pack their bags immediately while they still could and do away with the whole 'dream tour' thing.
Finally, they chose to flee and started packing to leave France as soon as possible. They travelled for 23 hours on a plane, 3 different trains and 2 buses before they finally got back to the states.
Cases in U.S.A Rise ExponentiallyAfter they got back to the States, they got themselves an Airbnb again, since they need a roof over their heads. She started applying for jobs but it was easier said than done. Due to the pandemic and lockdown, many are without jobs and livelihood. That's when she realised the grievous mistake that they had committed. She regretted deeply letting go of her well-paying job so easily. Now, without a place to call home and without jobs, they have no other option but to start from scratch.
She said that the pandemic has harmed a lot of things, some of which are on more serious notes than her dream tour.
She added that those wonderfully constructed quotes of 'living up to dreams and touring the globe' need to be reconsidered. They may not work out for everyone, just because they did for some because the future is uncertain as it can be.
Even after throwing away the warmth of a home and their livelihood, she is now staying positive. She along with her husband plans to rebuild lives in a new city. She is trying to find works that have a deeper significance than the salary, she also plans to buy a banana plant to cherish when the world is done with the pandemic.
"If you're daydreaming about ditching it all to travel, there's a chance it won't work out," asserted Cheryl Rodewig.