MGU 151 | Reevaluating Travel

 

Travel has changed a lot globally since the publication of the Take Charge eBook, so we dedicate the last section of the book and this podcast episode to that very subject. Faced with some pretty radical changes brought about by COVID-19 to the travel industry, Jason Wrobel and Whitney Lauritsen share their reflections as they reevaluate the eBook’s final chapter. With much of their brand tied to travel, Jason and Whitney had had to make their biggest adjustments in that field since the pandemic hit. What lessons can be taken from this pivotal experience? What does the future hold for travel? Now that the holiday season is coming, you may have similar questions on your mind as well. Listen in to get their honest opinions on the matter!

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Reevaluating Travel – What Has Changed Since The Publication Of The Take Charge eBook?

This episode is based on a section of our free eBook, Take Charge, which you can download on our website, Wellevatr.com. This last section of the eBook is about how to prioritize travel. Of any section that we wrote in that eBook, which came out in 2019 before the pandemic, before COVID, this section, I’m curious to go over. This is the final episode of the series. If you haven’t read the other episodes yet and you’re not familiar with the Take Charge eBook, we wrote this in November 2019, to help people get more consistent, stay committed and follow through on their health and wellness goals. We pulled these subjects from frequently asked questions and concerns that were coming from people like you in our audience throughout Wellevatr and our individual work with Jason’s platforms and mine on social media and our newsletters. Travel came up as something that a lot of people wanted to do.

It’s an interesting subject now that we’re recording this in November 2020 because people are traveling a lot less this year in general. It is certainly not meant to be a blanket statement because some people have gone on with their lives as “normal as possible.” Some people don’t want to stay home all the time. Some people are comfortable going out and traveling despite the pandemic. As long as it’s allowed, they’re probably doing it. Some people are the exact opposite and they’re staying home. We don’t want to make assumptions about you, the reader, but globally, travel has changed a lot. We’re going to be going through this last section of the Take Charge eBook and reflecting on what’s changed since we wrote it because this book is full of advice mostly curated from a wonderful group of people that we met through No Meat Athlete, which is a great platform that we’ve been part of for a few years.

It’s also an interesting timing because Jason and I have also completed some travel of our own. We’re going to talk about our experiences with that. We have referenced it before. Our aim with these episodes is not to be repetitive, but we also don’t want to assume that you’ve read those episodes, so we might overlap with some subject matter here and like you, our opinions on things are constantly changing. Certainly, I’ve changed a lot since I traveled. My perspective is constantly shifting with that too.

This subject is so interesting because I feel like I miss traveling. Even though you and I got back from two individual journeys, mine visiting my family in Detroit and you visiting your family in Massachusetts, it’s another thing I took for granted in reflecting on it. Every single year for the past few years, I’ve done a lot of traveling with speaking appearances, you and I going to different trade shows or conferences, sometimes speaking and going to a conference. There’s a lot of overlap. One of the biggest adjustments for me in 2020 has been around travel because so much of my travel has been tied around our brand or my individual brand or making money.

A significant chunk of my personal income has been affected by the lack of being able to do conferences and festivals and trade shows. For me, it’s not just personal travel, but I’m also reflecting on how much travel has impacted me professionally and financially too or the lack thereof. Between you and me, I still would like to do one road trip before the year’s done. I’m feeling the Pacific Northwest, but one more road trip is going to happen before the end of 2020. I’m feeling around that right now.

For me right now, I am not making any plans. I just came back from my trip. Part of me do want to travel again and feels like I “got it out of my system” for now. Another part of me have no idea when I’m going to feel comfortable traveling again. Probably the biggest thing that’s changed for me is I found a lot of comfort doing my road trip. I took a lot of precautions and was mindful. For you, the reader, I talked a lot about this in previous episodes about the road trip.

If you go to our website, Wellevatr.com, go into the podcast section, search for road trip and you’ll find all those episodes. We technically have two websites that are connected and eventually there will be more merged. Our podcasts had to be in a separate platform than our main website. Make sure you go into the podcast section and then you can use the search tool. It’s great. It is very accurate in terms of the results that you get after you search. You can also look on your podcast player for any episodes that I have referenced travel, road-tripping and all of that. I will say that my opinion has changed a lot. I’m curious about yours with this, Jason, before we dive into the tips from the Take Charge eBook.

I temporarily have plans for a short trip to go up to the Big Sur area. A friend of mine’s dad who I’m close to is camping up there. Now that I have become an experienced car camper, he said I was welcome to go up there and use his camping reservation or meet him up there and camp alongside him. That sounded appealing when he brought it up. I haven’t checked in with him about it. Who knows if that opportunity is even still there? A big question of mine is we don’t even know what opportunities we’re going to have next. That’s the ongoing lesson with COVID. We don’t have quite as much control over the future as we thought. We’ve talked about on the show how COVID has shown and revealed to us all this uncertainty, and it’s so important to be present.

As much as a road trip might sound nice to you or me or the reader, Jason, none of us even know if that will be “possible.” We might be breaking the rules of the state that we’re in or the country that we’re in to travel. We can’t even make assumptions about what we’re going to be technically allowed to do or want to do. The other big thing is that traveling is not the same. That’s part of the challenge here and the sadness as you were expressing because normally, I would have done at least two extra trips in 2020. First of all, I’m incredibly grateful, Jason, that you and I went to The Fancy Food Show in January. For you, the reader, I have a whole episode about that experience, as Jason alluded to. It is a trade show for fancy food, which is a category of natural foods and higher-end foods.

MGU 151 | Reevaluating Travel

Take Charge Now!

Gourmet is a better term than fancy. You hesitated to go on that trip, but you ended up coming with me. We drove up there, we had a great time. It’s so interesting to look back on that, Jason, because you almost did that trip in the assumption that you’ll be going to the Natural Products Expo in March. You and I also had plans to do the Fancy Food Show in New York in June. We assumed that we are going to get to go to the Natural Products Expo in Philadelphia. We had four trade shows planned for 2020. Thank goodness we went to that first one because we had no idea back then that 3 out of the 4 were going to be canceled.

It also is an interesting question moving forward of not assuming or expecting that we are going to have any concrete timeline for when public events of this nature can be reopened. There are layers to this. We talk a lot about sporting events and other kinds of public-facing events. This is a little bit more specialized in the sense that sampling food, touching, tasting and eating free open-handed samples. You get sample cups and whatnot. The layer of complexity with whenever these are going to come back is going to be higher as a result of the fact that food and eating food publicly around other people is such an intrinsic part of that experience.

Expo West got rescheduled to the last week of May 2021 now, but my point is we have no guarantee that will even happen. It’s going into 2021 with tempering our expectations a little bit. It’s not like everything is magically going to be resolved on January 1st, 2021. We know that. There’s this temptation of a new start, but we know not everything is going to hit the reset button. Moving forward into our trade shows or travel for 2021, there’s no guarantee that’s going to happen either. We’re like, “We don’t know.” We got to take what life brings us right now.

It can make us feel a little bit sad to think that we took things like that for granted because we’ve gone to many of these trade shows and there’s never been a problem before. We naturally assume that they will always be there for us, and we’ll always have the option. To your point, we don’t know if, when or how these events are coming back. That is a little sad. You and I were also talking about Thanksgiving, which is coming up very soon as of the time that this episode comes out. This episode is coming out on November 23rd, 2020. Thanksgiving is a few days away. It’s interesting thinking about the things that I’ve typically done in Thanksgiving and what I did in 2019, which was you and I went to that huge Thanksgiving potluck that has been held at Pollution Studios run by our friend, Asher Brown.

That event is so much fun, but it’s weird to think about even doing something that anymore and simultaneously sad. I’m also wondering how many people are going to continue with events like that and think that they’re being safe and cautious by doing them outside and distant and all of that. That’s a whole other subject, but noticing how people misjudge their safety during COVID has been interesting. We went to two separate events, a big indoor Thanksgiving celebrations with other people and looking back and feeling like, “When am I going to get to do something like that again?”

It’s bittersweet because it is something that certainly I took for granted. You mentioned taking for granted these seemingly innocuous things of human community, human connection and gatherings. The thing for me is realizing how much we take all these things for granted. These seemingly innocuous everyday things like gatherings, dinners, getting together with friends, I’m realizing how much I miss those things. To your point, I was seeing some articles online about how to adequately prepare if you are going to be having friends and family over for Thanksgiving in 2020. The article was alluding to the fact that everyone should have a mandatory quarantine period of fourteen days prior to Thanksgiving, and everyone needs to have accountability tracing.

It was this complex list of how to “safely get together” for Thanksgiving. I was reading the list, shaking my head going, “This is incredibly complicated now.” If we want to have a simple family dinner and do it according to these higher-level safety standards, it’s a lot of steps. After I read that, I was like, “I think I’m just going to get a carry-out and we’re going to call it a day.” That’s the plan for Thanksgiving. Get a coordinated carry-out and be done with it.

You also brought up the word accountability and that’s huge. If anything, during this series that we’ve done on the Take Charge eBook, which was inspired by people’s need for accountability and need for finding a way to be consistent. Consistency is needed right now because a lot of people are inconsistent with their behaviors. One discussion I’ve had with some friends is that it’s similar to being sexually active with a variety of people. Let’s say that you in your life are not committed to one person. You’ve had sexual relationships with multiple people. Some people don’t which, it’s incredible for people that have been sexually intimate with one person their entire lives. I would say it’s very common for people to have multiple partners.

If you’re in that latter category, you know that you’re at risk every time you’re with somebody. At least for me and my mentality and people around me, there is this assumption that somebody would tell you if they’re at risk for something. Somebody would tell you if they have an STD and you put a lot of trust into someone because there’s fear of it ruining intimacy. People talk about how birth control can feel it gets in the way of intimacy. We all know that birth control is wise not just to protect our health, but also for pregnancy and all of that. Yet, a lot of the times people will make assumptions or they will be lenient. Sometimes they have major consequences from it. COVID is very similar in a lot of ways.

MGU 151 | Reevaluating Travel

Reevaluating Travel: Everybody has their different versions of safety. That’s what’s tricky about traveling and socializing during the holidays.

We can make the assumption that somebody is healthy, that doesn’t have COVID. We can make an assumption that someone’s quarantined. We can make the assumption that they’re wearing masks and doing all of these things, but do we ever really know? It does take a lot of trust and it can simultaneously lead to major paranoia. I know for me, coming back to the trip side of things, when I look back on my two-month-long road trip, which I wasn’t driving the entire time, to be clear. I took ten days to drive to Massachusetts where my family is. I traveled a little bit on the East Coast and then I took 8.5 days to drive back to Los Angeles at the end of that trip. In hindsight, I feel like I wasn’t as safe as perhaps I could have been or maybe should have been.

The main reason that I took those risks is because I assumed that the people I was with were being mindful and safe. That’s what they said. I was taking their word for it, but everybody has their different versions of safety. That’s what’s tricky about traveling and socializing during the holidays. Our desire to spend time together is so strong that we convince ourselves that we have been safe enough and the people around us have been safe enough, and that leaves a lot of room for error. Consistency starts to play a big role in here. Mindfulness is I feel more comfortable right now around people that are getting tested, that people are barely socializing. I’m also recognizing that if I’m not with them, I have no idea what they’re doing.

I have to assume that they aren’t being as safe as I am, not because I don’t trust them, but because it feels mentally safer to me to assume they’re exposing themselves to other people and not quite realizing it. It also reminds me of one other thing. You know when you’re around somebody who isn’t vegan and there’s a very common response? It often stems from insecurity. Someone will go, “I don’t eat that much meat.” My parents are a great example. They have told me they don’t eat that much fish and they don’t eat that much dairy, but when I’m visiting them, I noticed that they eat, from my perception, a ton of dairy. They’re eating fish every single meal. Even though they consider themselves pescatarian, every once in a while, my parents eat meat. They’ll have a slice of bacon or something.

Their definition of moderation is very different than mine. If you were to take their definition at face value and assume that it’s the same as yours, you would have a completely different picture of what it looks like to eat that way. It’s very common that someone will say, “I don’t eat that much sugar,” but if they start tracking the amount of sugar that they eat, they may realize that they’re eating a lot more than they thought they were because our heads are not always reflective of reality. The same thing can be true with COVID.

It’s having honest conversations with the people in your life. You have to take their word for what it is. If you’re not tracking their movements and who they’re in contact with, you have to take people at their word.

That’s my point though. If you take somebody at their word, what if their definition of safety is radically different than yours?

This is the challenge though. It’s like, “Who have you been around? Have you been in public?” I’ve had conversations with friends that we’re more cautious than others. They wanted to know a little bit more detail about where I’ve been, who I’ve been in contact with and etc. I feel like the terminology that I see floating around right now is pods. Our dear friend, Adam, who’s been a guest on the show, his partner, Pam, and their daughter Cora. They have pods of very specific people that they see and they don’t go beyond that pod. That’s going to be a terminology we’re going to see a lot. It’s this conversation like we have with STDs and who we’ve been in contact with and active with. Families and friends and groups are going to be forming small, controlled and well-communicated with pods. That’s what I see sociologically being spoken about.

That leads into one of the first pieces of advice in this section about travel in the eBook, which is about making it a personal connection. This advice was stemming from how do you motivate yourself to travel more? This is what’s changed since we put out this eBook. The reader may not be seeking out travel opportunities as you may have in 2019 or the beginning of 2020. It’s interesting to look at this in context. One of the first tips came from Shoshana Chaim who said that, “As a speaker, traveling for work is important and also provide some independence while connecting with many great people from different parts of the world.” For her, she was finding that balance between traveling for work and also using those work as an opportunity to connect with all sorts of incredible people that she might not normally meet.

I certainly found this to be true during my road trip because I ended up having socially distant. I don’t know why I keep using that term. It’s almost got ingrained in my head. I don’t like that word because it’s implying that you’re not going to socialize. I prefer physical distant interactions with people. I met up with people along the way when I drove out to Massachusetts. My friend Leanne and I did the trip together, and we saw her parents. We met up with a wonderful woman named Rachel who I had never met. We did our best to be mindful when we saw them to keep a certain distance, to wear masks, to wash your hands and sanitize, and all of those things. I felt like we did a good job.

Not everything's going to be magically resolved on January 1st, 2021. We have to take what life brings us right now. Click To Tweet

I also saw my family and it was wonderful because I wasn’t doing the trip to see them, but they happened to be along the way or it was easy for me to adjust the route that we took to see these people. It did feel like an amazing connection. There were certainly moments in almost every single interaction that I had where people got more relaxed with one another and started to get closer. I would have this gut feeling that maybe we’re a little too close or maybe we shouldn’t be doing this. It was overridden by the desire for personal connection. Part of the challenge here is this desire to travel, to experience something normal, and to see each other during the holidays. This COVID fatigue that many of us are experiencing can lead us to want to leave and go somewhere further than where we have been. I think that’s great but if you’re anything like me, it’s very challenging to continue operating at the ideal safety distance. Honestly and this is no joke, but I wished that I had a measuring stick because I greatly misjudged how far away 6 feet is.

Do you mean like if someone’s in front of you, what you thought was 6 feet away was 3 or 4?

Yes, and I think it’s the same thing with them too. The amount of people, especially on my trip back, I drove by myself, which now I can say overtly. I didn’t say that during the trip because I didn’t want anyone to know. It was a little bit more ideal because since I was by myself, I was not being exposed to anyone else unless I chose to, versus when I drove to Massachusetts, I was with Leanne. Our risks were doubled the entire time because we had to trust one another, be in integrity and we have to communicate. It was a lot more work and a little bit riskier to travel with somebody versus going completely alone with my dog. It gave me more independence and a better sense of safety.

However, because I was traveling alone, I felt more of a desire to see people along the way. I ended up interacting with a lot more people on my drive back to Los Angeles. In hindsight, I might have overdone it. I certainly let other people’s boundaries override mine. I would say almost everybody, if not everybody I saw was a little bit more comfortable getting closer to me and not wearing a mask around me than I was. I found myself letting down my guard more. The reason that I hesitate in that is because when I returned from my trip, I took a COVID test and my result was positive. This is the first time I’ve publicly talked about it.

I’m trying to find more bravery in talking about my positive result. I feel like it’s an important thing to bring up because some people perceive me as being paranoid or too strict. When I got that positive result, I realized, I don’t know if I had been strict enough. The ripple effect of having to call and message every single person I saw and every place I went to let them know that I could have potentially exposed them was a lot. Granted, as of this moment, I’m not sure that I actually had or potentially have COVID because after I got that positive result, I went and I got a second test. I didn’t believe the first one, to be honest. I don’t know if I was in denial, but I went and got a second test the day after, even though technically that was not allowed by the city of Los Angeles.

I probably should have stayed home for a full two weeks, but I intuitively didn’t think that I was positive. I got a second test and that result was negative. I thought that would give me some peace of mind but it didn’t. I went and I got a third test, which is probably extreme to people, but I wanted to know what the third test would say. Unfortunately, as of the time of this recording, I have not received the results yet because they take some time. I will keep you posted. In the next episode, hopefully, I can reveal that. Here’s the reason I bring this up. I could go on a whole rant or have a whole discussion with you, Jason, about whether or not to trust COVID results.

I don’t know if you want to discuss your experiences as well because this episode isn’t meant to be about COVID specifically. We’re meant to talk about travel, but because of the time that we’re in right now, COVID is a huge consideration when it comes to travel. I use my story as a cautionary tale because it’s possible I had COVID. It’s possible that the test was accurate. Looking back over the amount of times that I got together with close friends or family members, and stood closer than 6 feet to them, I wonder, I could have given them COVID and that’s a horrible feeling. Simultaneously wondering, did any of them give me COVID. There were times where they didn’t wear a mask around me, so I didn’t wear a mask and we both were putting each other at risk.

In hindsight, it wasn’t worth it. There’s no reason that we should have been that lenient with each other, but because of how much we wanted to have that deeper connection and feel like we were normal again, we let our guards down. That’s where it reminds me of sex. A lot of the times we make decisions because it feels more exciting or maybe even feels better physically to do certain things that aren’t as cautious, but you’re putting yourself at risk. If you get an STD, it could affect your health for the rest of your life. If you get pregnant, that’s a lifelong decision and consequences that you’re paying for a moment of pleasure. There’s not necessarily shame in it because as human beings, we’re all susceptible to that temptation, to be less safe with one another, to risk it. It’s not something that we should feel bad about doing necessarily, but we need to acknowledge that the consequences can be high. If I have to be an example of that, I want to be because I know many people who don’t think that there’s a risk of getting COVID and that makes me nervous for the state of this country and the world.

I don’t think you’re being overwrought or extreme. I want to acknowledge you too for sharing what’s been going on because it gives a good context to this entire conversation. I want to thank you for being extra uncomfortable and vulnerable in talking about your COVID status and what’s been going on with that. Since we’re on it and we’re in it, and we’re probably coming close to the middle of this episode, I do want to chime in with my stuff too. In previous episodes, I talked about my motorcycle accident, but there are other layers too beyond the accident and complications with the accident, and the impending surgery that I haven’t talked about yet publicly. This is a good time to bring that up and also add credence to what you’re talking about.

MGU 151 | Reevaluating Travel

Reevaluating Travel: A lot of the times we make decisions because it feels more exciting or maybe even feels better physically to do certain things that aren’t as cautious.

The layer of complexity I’m talking about that I want to add to this part of the conversation in this episode is that I also had a similar experience in that I went in for a COVID test when I returned from Detroit. To go back a little bit further, when I landed in Detroit in October to visit my mom a few days after I landed, I went and got a negative COVID test in Detroit. I came back to LA on October 24th, 2020. A few days later, I had a negative test on October 26th. I had my motorcycle accident that I talked about at length in one of our previous episodes. I have a titanium plate in my clavicle right now and I had surgery.

I had my motorcycle accident November 1st, 2020, and then they were going to try and do the surgery on me on November 5th. I had to get a test the day before. Mind you, I had two previous negative tests. I had just come back from Detroit and they’re like, “We can’t do the surgery on you.” I got to the hospital at 6:00 AM for my surgery. They said, “We can’t let you in. You had a positive COVID test.” I go for three more tests after my positive result. The next three tests were negative. Over the course of three weeks, I had six COVID tests. Five were negative, one was positive.

I can’t say with absolute certainty that it was a false positive, but five negative one positive is definitely strange. I’ve been doing a lot of research on the concern with a lot of the PCR tests, and that some of the tests were flawed that got sent to hospitals in the US to use. It’s hard to decode all this. I’m saying all of this because I chose to fly to Detroit. I knew what the risks were. I wanted to see my family. I thought I was taking as many precautions as I could. I feel like I’ve been mindful in terms of a lot of the standard precautions. Yet, much like you, I got a positive COVID test and it’s a bit of a head-scratcher because I haven’t had any symptoms.

It did delay my surgery, which was aggravating and fucking painful, but I wanted to get more tests like you did and you’re like, “That might sound extreme.” I wanted to be sure. If I have this one positive and then I get three subsequent negative tests, you all better get my ass in for surgery. I ended up getting surgery. The surgery was successful. I feel good. I’m mending but the whole complication though for me was another layer in the sense that because of that positive test, I had my surgery delayed a week. I’m sitting in pain with a broken clavicle, freaking out, trying to deal with the pain every day. Had I had a negative test, I would have had surgery the next day. Mine was more complex in the sense that it caused a lot of havoc in my life having to wait for that surgery.

This is the danger of traveling in general. Whenever you travel in a car, on a motorcycle, on a plane, there are risks to your physical safety and that’s not meant to scare you. I remember getting that text message about your accident while I was driving, Jason. Luckily, it popped up on my car screen and I didn’t have to look down at my phone. It got me thinking so much about how travel is also physically dangerous for us and yet we do it anyway. It’s a big evaluation knowing that anytime we do anything, it can be risky. This is part of a discussion that you and I both had throughout these travel conversations. You had originally asked me why I was choosing to drive instead of fly.

Personally, I still feel much more comfortable driving than flying, even though getting in a car accident is much more likely to occur than a plane accident. Part of me was like, “Did I make the right decision?” Every time I drove, there was a moment I thought, “This is dangerous.” I saw some crazy driving on my trip and all the different ways people drive across the country was fascinating, and the weather. There were many factors and to hear the story of you going out for a joy ride, Jason, feeling comfortable and secure on your bike, you never anticipated getting in an accident. You know that it’s possible. It ties into this conversation of we have to decide what our comfort level is with risk. Everybody’s going to have a different opinion on that.

That is a personal decision, even though we have to remember that it does have a ripple effect in other people. A car accident is very likely to affect somebody else whether a car crashes into me or I crash into another car. I have a crash on the side of the road, which causes a traffic jam or somebody else to end up in an accident as a result of mine. There are many other people involved with this just like with COVID. That was also the big wake up call for me when I had to track back and think of every single person I saw. In my head, I try to think like, “Did I expose them? Did they expose me? What were we doing? Are we being mindful?” It took me about five hours literally that day after getting that positive result to go through my whole travel history in that past two weeks, and try to make sure I was remembering everybody and everything that I did. Here’s the other interesting thing. A lot of people were congratulating me for doing that as if it was rare to be that responsible.

People were congratulating you for going back through your entire travel itinerary and messaging every single person you were in contact with? To me, that would be standard practice.

I feel the same way just like getting a COVID test is standard practice, but I recognize through the process that most people I know has never had a COVID test and never felt the need for it. Some people didn’t get tested even after my positive results. I had seen them within those two weeks and they still chose not to get tested because they didn’t have symptoms. I will say that through this process of researching COVID and talking to the practitioners at the testing facilities I’ve been to, they have all told me, the online research and the people in person have all indicated how common it is to be asymptomatic. The more I talk about this, the more I’m like, “I feel like travel is a huge risk right now.” I’m going to come out and say it. That’s my personal opinion.

Whenever we travel, we have to decide our comfort level with risk. It’s a personal decision, but it does affect other people. Click To Tweet

This episode is not meant to tell the readers right or wrong. We’re not trying to sway you in one direction or another. We’re not here to give you advice because we’re not COVID experts. We’re not doctors, researchers and scientists. We are two individuals who have had our personal experiences and have our opinions that may or may not be reflective of yours. The more I speak about it, the more I think this is a risky time. If people I know aren’t taking it seriously, if it’s rare to get tested, if it’s common to be asymptomatic, our exposure is a lot higher than any of us would like to believe. If anything, that reality check is key. If the reader can take one takeaway from this episode, it’s to reflect on it, do your own research, and spend a lot of time weighing out the pros and cons.

If you decide that the pros of traveling outweigh the cons, then maybe that’s the right decision for you, if you’re allowed to do it. We don’t know what’s going to happen in the upcoming days ever. Things are changing drastically. It’s also interesting to look back through this eBook. One of the contributors said, “There’s no substitute for connecting and building community with others face to face. If there is a screen separating you and someone else in any way, there is something missing.” What he meant was the screen in your computer or your phone. It’s funny to read that because now that’s the norm. The norm is to have Zoom calls and Skype and FaceTimes and whatever else that you’re using. The norm is to have a screen, usually a plastic partition in between you and someone else. We are literally separated. This is the reason that people want to travel because we are exhausted by this. It is detrimental to us in some ways to be this disconnected from others. If you have the urge to travel or to see somebody, I get it. It’s just an unfortunate thing that it is so risky.

This is the challenge because what we’re talking about now is a super fundamental value assessment for each person. To go on the record, Whitney and I have our sociological, political and spiritual beliefs. We have a continually evolving perspective and hopefully always being open enough to consider new perspectives on life. This is such a fast-moving conversation about not only the virus, but how it’s affecting our entire society. We can talk ad nauseam about the political, spiritual, socioeconomic ramifications as we understand them, but my point is that we’re not telling you what to do. It’s more of like Whitney and I are exploring our level of safety, comfort, risk and reward in real-time. I’m saying all this to say that at a certain point, if people are deprived of physical connection, if they’re deprived of human contact or proximity contact to people that they care about, we’re paying with something else.

It’s a sense of isolation and disconnection to loved ones. We’re talking now about the mental health and spiritual complications of not being able to see people we love. To back up your point, each person has to make an assessment of what is their perception of safety. What is their consideration of the risk they’re taking perhaps physically to travel versus the benefit they’re going to get mentally, psychologically, spiritually from seeing the people they love? This is a very tough thing because if we stay deprived of that too long, there are serious implications for society of staying that disconnected for too long. That’s the flip side of this conversation. Every single situation we’re in, what is the risk-reward assessment of the benefit of the connection and the beauty versus potentially putting myself or the other person at physical risk. It’s tough. I don’t know that there’s a right answer.

I don’t think that there is either. I think the right answer is what feels right to you given the circumstances and the present moment. As I said and as we’ve been talking about so frequently, the answer is constantly changing. It’s revealing itself. We are in a place of uncertainty. Even the most knowledgeable people on viruses don’t have all the answers so how could we as common folk have the answers to this stuff? To assume that we do is in our ego and I get triggered by that. I’ve been incredibly triggered by posts on social media and messages from friends who want to try to convince me. In some ways, the term gaslighting is a good one here. I saw somebody use this in the context of COVID. I thought, “That’s how I feel sometimes.” I feel like when I talk about my comfort level and my experiences with COVID, people will gaslight me to try to make me feel like I’m being paranoid or I’m being too strict or I’m believing or I’m not believing the conspiracy theories or the reality, and all of these things. People want to convince you to believe things their way.

As we’ve talked about so much on these episodes, who are any of us to know? A lot of the times when somebody comes across as having the answers, it makes them feel good. That’s a coping mechanism. It’s easier for them to believe that because that makes them feel safe. That makes them feel protected in a way. If we can believe that we’re safe in those situations and we’ve made it this far, my feeling is you’ve been lucky. I know people firsthand that have COVID and that was a recent thing. In fact, when Jason got his positive result, he was the third person in one week to test positive for COVID and I was the fourth. I had my first-hand experience, plus three other people in one week’s time. This all happened in the past two weeks of the time of this recording.

We’ve all been lucky not to test positive beforehand. I wasn’t getting tested before my travel. If anything, I’m grateful that my travel happened because that was inspiring me to get tested in the first place. The whole reason I got tested was to protect my loved ones. I wanted to protect my parents so I got tested before seeing them. I wanted to protect anyone that I came in contact with when I returned from my trip. I even thought like, “There’s no way I’m going to be positive because I’ve been so safe.” Even if that test wasn’t accurate, it was certainly humbling.

Humility plays a big role in all this. The collective addiction to certainty is being broken in our culture. For people to have an explanation or the desire to have an explanation for all of this is an addiction to certainty. It’s a transmutation of if I know what is happening and I can explain it, I will therefore feel safe in a potentially unsafe situation. Our philosophy is more like lean into the uncertainty, lean into the unknown. Be honest if there’s a question and the real answer is I don’t know. Some people are frightened by the prospect of saying, “I don’t know,” to something. They’ve got to have an explanation of where it came from, what it’s doing and how to protect yourself. I’m not saying that knowledge isn’t power. I do think that humility can go a long way in our society right now of not knowing the full ramifications and implications of this entire global situation. I want to piggyback on that. People would do good to stare down the chasm of uncertainty and say, “I don’t know.” To me, that would be a lot more honest in many regards.

It can feel very lonely too. One thing we haven’t even addressed is it is possible to travel by yourself and not see a single person up close. Right now, any urges that I have to travel could be fulfilled by me going on the road trip and having as few interactions, if not zero interactions with somebody else. On my trip, I wore gloves every time I went to the Tesla charging station because people had advised that based on how many other people were potentially touching the charging stations. Mind you, most of the charging stations I went to were empty and probably barely had anybody visiting them. That was a perk.

MGU 151 | Reevaluating Travel

Reevaluating Travel: Travel can be what you want it to be. You can shape it into whatever you need from it.

Even the stations that were busy, most people were in their cars waiting for their charge to complete. I never got even close to them or whatsoever. As I discussed in some of the episodes about my road trip, I found all sorts of ways to not go indoors, to be mindful about how often I use restrooms and how I use restrooms and went to the bathroom and all of that. I learned a lot of amazing ways to be more isolated during travel. One important element of this, even though our Take Charge eBook leads with the personal connection side of it. If you do not feel safe connecting with somebody, even at a distance, then I want to remind you that you can get in your car and you could go do a day trip, or you could go do a short camping trip. You can put yourself in positions where you barely interact with anyone.

The beauty about camping is there are all sorts of ways that you can avoid other people. You can find that fulfillment and travel while you’re alone. Maybe you live with somebody. Take the person that you live with or you spend a lot of time with you because you already know that that person is safe, hopefully. For you, Jason, you could go on that road trip you’re craving and camp. That would be a great way to get that travel experience. I can certainly attest to how fulfilling that felt. I rarely felt lonely. A lot of people were concerned about me driving across the country by myself. First of all, I didn’t have a lot of opportunities to be lonely because I met up with a variety of people along the way.

Looking back, if I changed that, it would have still been lovely. I stayed at one of the most incredible campsites I’ve ever been to in Arizona. I would go there and back. That was so amazing. It was on somebody’s farm. I saw one person. The campsite can have up to eight people, but there are only four spots. Technically it could be as few as four separate people or four couples, or you could be the only one there, depending on when you book. I would go back there by myself in a heartbeat. It was so beautiful. The people that ran the farm came by and didn’t get any closer than 10 feet away from me. It was like, “That felt like a safe experience.”

Travel can be what you want it to be. In the eBook, we talk about making things affordable. Camping can be an affordable way to travel. It doesn’t have to be fancy. You can shape travel into whatever you need from it. If you’re looking to experience different parts of the country, that is generally accessible to you. If you’re looking to clear your head, sometimes taking a long drive can do that. In Jason’s case, a motorcycle ride. Although I’m curious, Jason, we haven’t talked about this. How do you feel about riding your motorcycle after your accident, speaking of risk-taking?

I don’t know yet, to be honest with you. The bike needs to be fixed up a little bit. It’s dinged. It’s got a few cosmetic things. I took the brunt of the accident much harder than the bike, which is good. Part of me feels like, “What is the excitement of risk-taking anyway?” This comes down to a deeper conversation as you’re asking me whether or not I feel like I’m going to ride the motorcycle again. It comes down to, am I comfortable with that amount of risk in my life now? I’ve been riding since I was 21 or 22. It’s going to be an honest assessment because is the physical and emotional pain that I have been going through and am going through during this healing process, is it worth the thrill of riding the bike? This is what the conversation comes down to. I’m extremely uncomfortable. I’m healing. I’m in pain.

It’s very weird. I have this thing implanted in my body. Yet, I do love riding motorcycles and I love going fast. I love being in fast cars. I love being on motorcycles. Maybe there is something else to where I can put my thrill-seeking into that’s a little safer. As our dear friend, Pam said to me, “Sell the fucking bike and get a cool car.” Several people have said that because they know me. They’re like, “Sell the fucking bike and get a cool car. It’s safer.” The answer is I don’t know. I need to heal first and feel more normal before I make that decision. Also, buff the bike out a little bit and make sure that it’s healed too.

That ties into one of the points from the eBook which was to learn from it. In this quote, it’s about travel is the best form of education, but so are accidents. Accidents teach us a lot. When we have these experiences, that’s where we can make the decision about how you want to proceed in our lives. Going back to the eBook, there were a few other parts that I wanted to highlight before we start to wrap the episode. One of them is about integrating into the culture. That’s one of the reasons that people want to travel so much. We have a desire to experience different cultures. We sometimes feel like we should experience different cultures. That was a huge benefit for me traveling across the country, especially during the pandemic and during the election. I was seeing different types of people.

I’ve seen different parts of the land. That was such a gift. I would go do that again. I would feel more comfortable in hindsight being extra mindful. Even if it came across as paranoid to other people, I would have preferred it that way. I got a little too worried that I was going to offend people. Some people wanted to hug me. Normally I would never hug someone during COVID, but I hugged them because they felt comfortable and they wanted it. That’s not what I felt comfortable with. I certainly did want a hug. Who doesn’t want a hug? That connection is so special right now, but I don’t think it was worth it. One of the other points in the book too is about putting your family first.

That was one of the biggest takeaways. Seeing my parents was the big reason that I did that trip. I enjoyed seeing the culture, integrating and traveling around, and everything I said, but it was about my family. Also, in hindsight, even though I crossed some boundaries that I wasn’t fully comfortable with COVID-wise, I’m glad that my family is safe right now. They have been tested negative and they are all in good health. I got to see people that I may never see again because we can’t take any of that for granted. My parents are getting older, just like everybody else’s if they’re still around. I saw an uncle that’s not in phenomenal health. I didn’t get to see another uncle because he wasn’t in a good health place to see me. I got to see a few cousins that I haven’t seen in a long time.

Lean into uncertainty. Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know” if that’s really the case. Click To Tweet

I got to see one of my mom’s cousins that I haven’t seen a long time. Those were gifts. It’s that looking back after I got that positive result. I immediately thought of all of them. I thought, “God forbid that I passed COVID on to any of them.” Imagine what they were thinking. What if they were afraid they passed it to me? Put your family first, but putting your family first means being selfless and taking the best care of your health possible so that you can be around for them, so that you would never risk them.

One of my friends who I had a COVID conversation with said she desperately wants to see family. She wants to go travel for Thanksgiving. It feels horrible not to be with her family during that time. She said she’s staying home because she couldn’t live with herself if she were to inadvertently give any of her family members COVID. That reflection from her gave me pause and had had me thinking, “Did I make the best choice in doing my trip?” How about you, Jason? Your trip was very driven by visiting your mother. What did you think? Did you immediately panic that you gave it to your mom?

There was some of that. After the confusion of I had a negative test, now I have a positive test. Even in my confusion, I thought I need to do what in my opinion is the right thing to do, which is whether or not it’s a positive or a false positive, that’s not the point. It’s the point that if I look back to the last fourteen days, who did I have interactions with? It was calling my mom, it was calling my friend, Michael. It was calling a small handful of friends that I had seen. I hadn’t seen that many people in Detroit or even when I had gotten back from Detroit and came back to California. Some of the people I told chose to tell the people they were in contact with and say, “A dear friend of ours had a positive COVID test. I just wanted to let you know if you guys want to go get tested.”

We’re talking about a much bigger ripple effect, depending on how people interpret it, what their belief systems are around it, and their level of safety protocol. I had a moment of if my mom gets ill, if my mentor, Michael gets ill, if my close friends, one of which is immunocompromised-ish, my mind was going down this rabbit hole of, “If I am absolutely positive and I get them sick, how the hell will I live with myself?”

Thankfully, everyone that I was in contact with went to get tested, everyone tested negative. The extension people they let know also tested negative. That was a relief, I’m not going to lie. That moment of getting the texts back from everyone and being like, “We’re negative.” My health is one thing. My healing journey that I’m on right now is its own thing. The idea of inadvertently giving it to other people, two of which are in their 70s, my mind was going crazy with those possibilities. I’m right there with you.

That’s the other thing I want to say and also as a great note to end on. In one of my Beyond Measure calls, which I have weekly. It’s a private community that I run. I will eventually tell the readers more about it, but right now it’s in an invite-only beta testing version. We had a call and we are talking about COVID. It comes up very often during the calls because it’s a group support community. One of the girls was saying that it helped her to think that if she was going to get COVID, she couldn’t control it. She said for her mental health, it was too hard to be paranoid. It was too hard for her to fear it. It was too hard for her to go about her life wondering if she was going to get it and what would happen, and being scared about her every move.

I thought that was interesting because it’s the balance. That’s why there is no right or wrong. Balance means something different to each of us. Each of us have a different relationship with our mental health. For some people, perhaps being worried about getting COVID is too mentally hard for them. That causes them too much anxiety. They feel like they can’t operate. Maybe it is a coping mechanism to go about your life “normally” and think, “If I’m going to get it, I’m going to get it.” Whereas for me, I feel like my mental health feels better when I am being “paranoid” or strict or careful. I would rather be more careful than anyone else I know simply because I’d be caring for myself and for them. It feels worth it.

Even if I feel ostracized, even if I feel like my friends look down upon me or think I’m crazy, it’s temporary. For others, it feels worth the risk to see each other, to travel, and go on about life normally because that keeps them sane. A huge lesson for me has been trying not to judge people. I can notice when I get triggered by people because that’s my reaction to them, but I don’t need to pass judgment onto them. I can take responsibility and say, “What this person said triggered me, bothered me, irritated me,” or whatever. I can process that on my own. I don’t need to go to them and tell them that because I don’t want to make them feel bad for their COVID decisions.

Yes, I have opinions about wearing masks and staying 6 feet apart and all that, but I got to recognize that not everybody’s going to view COVID the way that I do. We can’t control other people anyway. We could lecture people all we want, but if you haven’t noticed already, just because you tell somebody to do something, it doesn’t mean that they’re going to do it. I want to put my efforts within myself and continuing to have open-minded conversations with other people. I learn a lot from that. Sometimes my opinions change a little.

MGU 151 | Reevaluating Travel

Reevaluating Travel: We can’t control other people. Just because you tell somebody to do something doesn’t mean that they’re going to do it.

 

That’s the sole reason we’re doing this. It is to get deeper into getting new information and new perspectives. I know for me, selfishly, one of the reasons that I want to do this show is it feels like we’re constantly in this deeper conversation here of exploration. That is the foundation. If it’s your first time in this show or you’ve been following us for a long time, you know how we do it. It’s very much an exploration. It’s very much an experiment. Often in episodes, you’re reading Whitney and myself and sometimes our guests decode things in real-time and explore concepts or be exposed to new ideas, ways of being, practices that we’ve never considered before. That’s one of the coolest parts of life. It’s expanding ourselves and willfully exposing ourselves to new ideas, new perspectives and new ways of living that may challenge or reform our own ways of living. That’s one of the most exciting, sometimes scary, but ultimately rewarding parts of life, for sure.

For our audience, if you are on that same life path of exploration and experimentation, taking risks, examining rewards, learning as we go, and continually being dedicated to not only our personal, but our collective global evolution, you’re in the right place. We also want to direct you to the eBook that we have been mentioning in our episodes. Once again, it’s called Take Charge. It is a free resource that you can access on our website, which is Wellevatr.com. You can go to the free resources section. You will find Take Charge along with some other amazing video trainings and eBooks we have written for you. Also, if you want to go a level deeper, we have something awesome that we offer to you. We have a couple of courses, one of which is called The Consistency Code.

The other one of which is called The Wellness Warrior Training. We want to support you all the time. We want to give you as many resources as we can and put you on the right track. We’re exploring this together, we’re in this together. If you want to connect with us directly, we always love receiving direct emails from you. You can email us at [email protected]. That comes directly to Whitney and myself. You can follow us on all of the social media platforms. We’re on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok. It’s funny, Whitney, because I’ve had some ideas for doing things together on social media and that’s one thing we want to put more effort toward. We talk about posting more, but it’s going to be tough with the physical distancing to get TikTok videos done. If we did want to do more, is there a way that we could do them remotely in the same clip on the same account? I don’t think you could do that from two separate phones, can you?

There’s got to be a way. I saw Drew Barrymore. She’s been doing her new talk show and having guests virtually there via green screen. Did you see that too?

I low key love her show. The parts that I’ve seen, I like how crazy Drew Barrymore is. She’s so sweet and she’s so herself, but the green screen shit is cool.

It’s a little weird, but very creative. I’m sure we could find a way to do something like that or fuse our clips together. People have been doing it. It’s not very common on TikTok these days, but it can be done.

In the spirit of experimentation, we shall attempt to figure it out because I have the tech wizard Whitney here on as my co-host, which thank God for your technical skills. They have saved the day more than a handful of times over the course of our relationship. With that said, dear reader, thank you for being uncomfortable with us. As always, as we explore these topics of life, living, risk, reward, chances, every single damn thing we talk about. Thank you for being on the journey with us and we will see you again for another episode soon!

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