“Now is not the time to travel.” How many times have you heard the prime minister say that since the pandemic started?
My response: Now is absolutely the time to travel, Mr. Trudeau… especially if you’re from Manitoba.
As you read this, I’m a few days into my work trip to Nashville, Tenn. Aside from the extra hoops to jump through, such as COVID testing before departure, I haven’t felt uneasy at all in the U.S.
Think about that statement for a second. In recent years — at least for the four Trump was president — we as Canadians had a sense of superiority; like our country was waaaaay better and better off than the U.S. We hadn’t had that strut or bounce in our step for a long time. It’s not there anymore. It’s gone.
There is a newfound sense of freedom here in Tennessee. It took me a moment to get comfortable seeing people maskless and going about their day. It was odd. It was scary. It seemed dangerous.
Then I remembered that this is how life was barely a year ago in Manitoba. Are we a month away from it being that way again? Two months? Six months? A year? Never?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not running around maskless and hanging out with groups of people in Nashville. I’m still taking precautions that I would at home in Manitoba, but I’m not as uptight being amongst people here. It’s just a different vibe right now. And it feels damn good.
It’s strange how the U.S. is dominating in its COVID response and brought its numbers way down yet Canada is still untrusting of the country. I’d expect things to flip and Americans to say, “Um, yeah, Canadians, maybe you’re not welcome here right now.”
Alas, Americans are tuned out of what’s happening back home so they have no idea what the situation is like in locked-down Manitoba.
I’m actually figuring out ways to stay in the country longer. I might make a jaunt to the West Coast and visit colleagues in Los Angeles since I normally spend a big chunk of time there for work. From there, maybe my return trip will have a layover in Las Vegas before heading up to Canada.
It’s wild how a few days of freedom in the U.S. has given me a new energy since I haven’t been confined by the constant negativity that is life in Manitoba.
As I’ve previously said, the lockdowns and restrictions haven’t been a burden on my daily life but being around it and in it is absolutely emotionally draining. I didn’t feel it at the time, but now that I’ve been removed from it and experienced life on the other side of the pandemic, oh yes, I totally see it.
I might be going against all the guidance from Canadian officials, but I say if you can get the hell out of Dodge, do it. This is the perfect time to leave our plagued province.