New Adventures with the Bean

This blog post will be short and sweet, but it’s a meaningful personal one. For almost 3 years, international travel has not really been an option for me as Hong Kong’s borders remained fiercely closed during the pandemic. As someone who lives, breathes, and eats travel, this was a difficult pill to swallow. I began to wonder if I would ever get to return to exploration again. It’s been years since I have set foot on an airplane and had something stamped in my passport. It’s been years since I’ve found myself surrounded by yet-to-be-discovered-by-me environments. I would be lying if I said I did not have some anxiety about returning to the skies and finally returning to doing what I love most – travel writing and photography.

But now there’s a new bit of anxiety, because I am no longer just traveling by myself or with the beau anymore. At long last, I am finally able to travel again and now I get to do so with my new bestie – my 6-month old daughter. My travel anxieties have slightly shifted, as now I am anxious about packing enough formula and making sure the bean is happy and comfortable on the flight with enough toys and blankets. I find myself chuckling. As I look back on all my flights pre-pandemic, I used to pack way too much in my carry-on with activities to last me throughout the flight and most of the time I’d only touch about 1/4 of it all. These days I realize I don’t need much, but for baby bean it’s a whole other story!

Last month, my long-awaited trip home to New Jersey that was months of planning had to be cancelled last minute as I contracted COVID-19 for the first time in the entirety of the pandemic just days before our flight. While there are no rules anymore about flying with COVID-19, the beau and the bean had remained negative and symptom-free and we wanted to keep it that way. We hoped I would recover quickly and still be able to board the plane, so I isolated away from them. Traveling with a sick baby just was not the extra headache we wanted. Sadly in the end, I tested positive for nearly 2 weeks and so the trip could not go ahead. I would have been staying with my elderly grandparents, and I just did not want to spread the virus not just to my family but to my fellow travelers as well. My plans got ruined, so I did not want to ruin others’ plans. But calling the airline to cancel our plane tickets was one of the most devastating moments for me because it’s been 4 years since I have seen or hugged anyone who shares blood with me. It felt like a cruel prank.

I became wildly depressed while I battled COVID alone in our guest room, especially on the day we would have flown to the US. Rescheduling the trip was not going to be easy with everyone’s schedules not matching up, but eventually we found a time that worked for most. It would still be some time before the rescheduled trip could happen, but I was feeling the travel itch. I had been expecting to have finally traveled by now, so when the beau had a few days off from work I told him I still wanted to go somewhere with him and baby bean, even if it was just for a couple of days. I was feeling more than ready to take our daughter on an adventure, and the perfect destination for baby bean’s first trip abroad popped into my head. The beau was immediately on board (pun intended), and I’m excited to share that I am currently writing this post from outside Hong Kong’s borders for the first time in 3 years. Can you guess where we have gone? Stay tuned to find out!


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