Like many of us, I have not traveled very far since the pandemic began. I went home to Alabama the Christmas before the pandemic started. In fact that holiday season, I took a cruise from New Orleans to Mexico with some friends of mine, then flew home to Alabama before returning to Vermont just before the New Year. I could not have guessed back then that I’d be spending my second Christmas in Vermont away from my family. I don’t completely miss traveling to Alabama. I know that probably makes me a bit of a bad person, but when I go home, I basically still have to pretend to be someone else and suppress my sexuality. I don’t miss doing that. I also have zero alone time when I go home, and I like my solitude at times.

While I may not miss going back to Alabama too much, I do miss traveling. For Thanksgiving and my birthday in 2019, I went to New York City to see my friend Susan, and we had a very lovely Thanksgiving dinner, and she took me to see Chicago, one of my favorite musicals, on Broadway. I got to see the Stonewall Inn and the Freedom Tower among other famous Manhattan landmarks. I would love to get to spend more time with Susan in person, whether that is her coming to Vermont or me going to Manhattan to see her, but that won’t happen until COVID-19 becomes as routine and as seasonal as the flu.

I also want to get back to Montreal, which has become one of my favorite places to visit. New Orleans used to be my favorite place to visit in North America (Italy, especially Florence and Rome, still beat out everywhere else), but while New Orleans is fun, it’s also kind of nasty; it stinks, and it’s filled with drunk tourists. Montreal is a much cleaner city. The Village (formerly the Gay Village) is much larger than New Orleans’s gay area in the French Quarter, and Canadians are much nicer than Louisianans. I just always have more fun and feel safer in Montreal, so I’d really like to go back when the border is easier to cross again.

When you are like me and enjoy traveling, it’s hard being somewhat confined to central Vermont. The farthest I’ve been is Burlington to the northwest of me and Lebanon, NH, to the southeast of me. Both cities are about 45 minutes away. I guess I got spoiled working at my museum. When I first started as the oral historian, I traveled all the time to conduct interviews all over New England. Then, we had the traveling exhibit which took me to places all over the eastern seaboard. It all came to a sudden halt when the pandemic began. At some point, I do believe we’ll get back to normal. Vermont thought it was ace enough to return to some sort of normalcy, and now we have the fifth highest percentage of COVID cases in the country. All we can really do is stay vigilant and keep up with our vaccinations. If we do that, then maybe we will return to normal sooner or later.

About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces. View all posts by Joe

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