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Not Guilty!

Porthole Contributor Steve Leland wrestles with home confinement during COVID-19.

I’m pretty sure that we all glossed over the chapter on the rules for pandemic survival in the master plan of life. Regardless of our innocence and lack of complicity, we have all been convicted (somewhat unjustly) by the judge and jury to serve the collective six month and counting sentence of social isolation.

Early on in the COVID chaos, my wife and I were enjoying an exotic fling in Fiji while all hell was breaking loose in Wuhan, China with the ensuing lockdown of the city.  We flippantly said, “imagine if they tried doing that in the United States”. Little did we know that this would become controversially accepted protocol in our “free” universe.

What eventually morphed into simulated routine doesn’t come without benefits. The landscaping around my house has never been so manicured. I astonishingly started a regimen of daily exercise, resulting in a loss of 20 pounds that initiated the illusion of being the dreamy pool boy we never had. With that fantasy quickly dispelled by a look in the mirror, I move on to the highly anticipated daily shore excursion to the supermarket. Far from the intrepid travel we are accustomed to, it’s the culmination of a day of watching Squawk Box, animated day trading, a little exercise and touching up already touched up points around the house.  Who knew?

But this modified utopia isn’t for me. With the exception of a temporary work release for a California road trip.  I’ve been a model prisoner for six months and it’s time that I’m granted parole from these pandemic prison bars. Although, I’ve occasionally rebelled and walked in a contrary direction to the taped arrows on supermarket aisles (c’mon, who hasn’t ?), my conscience and my hands have never been cleaner. I’ve maintained social distance, avoided groups and haven’t been to a restaurant in six months. On top of these gestures of extreme responsibility, I am proud to say that following mandated protocols, I have gracefully accepted honorary membership into the masked marauders club.

Born To Travel

Without fear of repercussions, I’m happy to announce that I’m busting out. I hear your collective gasps, and you can call me crazy but there comes a time when we all have to reclaim the freedom to travel. It’s what I do. It’s who I am.

Did any of you even notice that the CDC without fanfare, quietly lifted their authoritarian restrictions on travel this past week?  “Suggestions” for some self imposed routines are noted, but mandatory quarantine requirements have been eliminated. Albeit limited to specific destinations, at this point any news in this direction is good news for travel addicts.  While cruising in and out of US ports is still somewhere beyond the horizon for larger ships, smaller vessels are due to start up next month and I assure you that when they do, I’ll be at front of the line to get onboard.

Until that glorious day and barring any unexpected issues, I’m scheduled for re-entry into the world of luxury travel with a short escape to the Riviera Maya in Mexico.  I’ll leave details of the indulgent resort as a surprise for now. I wouldn’t dream of not including you, so I look forward to sharing the experience of re-imagined travel in upcoming issues of the magazine and here at porthole.com. I am outta here!

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