DOV EPSTEIN | Travel Vicariously

Although COVID-19 has affected our lives in a lot of ways, one of the most restrictive effects has been the access to movement. Cornellians won’t travel as much as they did last break, and they won’t be signing up for study-abroad as readily. But despite the restrictions, there is still a way to learn from and about different countries for those who are interested. While nothing can substitute for the real thing, traveling vicariously is an easy way to learn more about cultures and the histories of other countries in an entertaining way. Because traveling has, historically, been inaccessible to those who can’t afford to travel extensively, are limited due to language barriers or suffer from physical disabilities, interacting with online or print sources in an effort to capture the value of real travel has led to incredible innovation and creativity in terms of documenting visits to places around the world, which has only grown during the pandemic. 

There are a number of people who make it their lives’ work to travel and educate, through writing or videography, providing some real gems in terms of supplying intimate ways to learn about countries around the world that are worth seeing for those who have the time.

STELLA | Wednesday’s Fall Break — The Semester’s Saving Grace

The freshman year on lockdown, the shortened senior fall, the choppy internet connection on Zoom — they’re all side-effects of an uncontrollable variable about which we can do nothing but hope to end. Thank goodness for the one saving grace of this semester. The golden goose from that one fairytale, the walk-off homer in little league playoffs, the utter sense of relief when you finally make it to a bathroom after holding in a large Coke for the entirety of Parasite. Wednesday, October 14: our Fall Break. I don’t know what we would have done without it.

SONG | Witnessing the Pandemic Across 18 States

In some ways, traveling across the country was exactly how I pictured it would be: a black Jeep rumbling from the coasts of Florida to the vineyards of California, long nights fueled by Slim Jims and one dinky motel after another. But on this particular trip, there were also floor-to-ceiling face shields in hotel lobbies, prairies swarming with wildlife in the absence of humans and long lines for lottery tickets to enter national parks. I began my journey on March 28 in a passenger seat next to my boyfriend, eating our last CTB sandwiches as we veered onto the freeway. Over the span of 18 states, 5,500 miles and four weeks on the road, we would witness COVID-19 evolve from its first beginnings to a country-wide pandemic, manifested in distinct ways from one state to another. But as we rushed out of Cornell that evening, we knew only a few basic facts: We had grandparents residing in both of our homes, and we needed to avoid flights at all costs.