It's been a little over a week since I have been home, and I have had a wave of emotions take over me. Honestly, it has taken me by surprise. When I woke up on my last day in Aruba, I instantly felt sad. As I was packing up my last-minute items, I felt tears rolling down my cheeks. The best word to describe how I was feeling was heartbroken.
When we landed in Charlotte Douglas, of course, I was ecstatic to see my family when picking me up from the airport and so thankful to be with them. But as the hours went on with days passing, my feelings and emotions started to change. I started to feel heartbroken again. It's that kind of sadness where you stay quiet and want to keep to yourself. Some may even call it depression.
As a few more days passed and I was able to pinpoint why I felt this way. My heart, or a piece of it, was left in Aruba. Although I feel sad after every trip, this time it was different. The feeling seemed to linger around. The more I travel, the more a piece of my heart is left, making it harder for me to bounce back. Thankfully, I was able to talk it out with Matt and my best friend, who helped me feel hopeful again. I am more determined to achieve my goals and ready to put in the work. And who knows, maybe this was a sign.
When it comes to Aruba and how they handle safety precautions with COVID, it's something the United States could learn from. (I am pro mask which is a conversation we can have another day.) Without a doubt, I can say I felt safer in Aruba than at home with how people within the communities and businesses are going about this disease.
I hope this blog helps some people understand it's okay to travel right now, but understanding things will be different. While this doesn't apply to every place in the world, I can say without a doubt that Aruba is a safe place to travel. Yes, you will need to be prepared to have a mask and understand you may be required to do something uncommon in the States. (Aka is opened minded when traveling in general and understands that you are the guest within their country/state.)
Like all journeys, we started by arriving at the Charlotte Douglas airport. As you start to approach the doors to enter, you see signs of needing to wear a mask when inside. Some signs even had pictures showing the proper way to wear your mask. (Aka covering nose and mouth.) The mask wasn't a problem for me, and I only found it a bother when walking, so I didn't miss my flight. You are allowed to take the mask off when eating and drinking, but don't be the person who abuses this.
When you board the plane, American Airlines gives you a small goodie bag with one mini water bottle, a cleaning wipe, and a small package of hand sanitizer. Oh, and some plain cookies. I took my wipes and carried them in my bookbag as I didn't expect the airlines to give wipes. Of course, I wiped everything off from the walls when at the window seat to the seat belt to the A/C nob. I wiped it all down.
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The flight from Charlotte to Miami was full, and there was a body in every seat. To the point where seats got doubled booked, leading to a delayed flight. From Miami to Aruba, the flight was pretty full, but there were some empty seats. The flight from Aruba to Charlotte had fewer full seats where I could have a row to myself, and so could my best friend. In all, American Airlines are using the middle seats and flying with a full plane.
When it comes to the mask-wearing, everyone was wearing them from when we boarded the plane to leave Miami to the time we left Aruba. And the right way at that! (There were signs in multiple places we visited showing how to wear a mask properly.) Every staff member in the shops and restaurants had their mask on and took safety precautions to the highest standards. I was already a "germopho" before COVID, so the extra safety precautions made me feel more comfortable.