The New Normal. Is this even a thing? Can we have an actual new normal? It would seem, from this writer’s perspective, that we have no choice. I don’t believe for one minute life will return to what we knew as normal. I’m not even sure that would be a good thing. People didn’t pay attention, life was taken for granted. Sadly, there are still millions who are not paying attention to the science. I do hope though, that more people than not are actually waking up to the reality of the new normal.

Curbside Pick-up

At the time of this writing, we are in our 65th day of stay-at-home state mandate. Our definition of stay-at-home is, we do not go in to public or private buildings and we stay 6′ away from all people when we’re out walking. We’re fortunate in that we’ve had success with delivery services and curbside pick-up. There, right there, curbside pick-up.

Was it always such a simple task to place an online order with a company similar to wine.com for example, and have a store clerk place your purchase in the trunk of your car? I’m guessing yes, but seemingly not to the degree of how it is now in the new normal.

Pull in to a designated parking space, text the store with your order number and an employee will bring out your order and place it in your trunk. You just have to show your i.d. which we put up against our car window. Contactless pick-up.
A Few Clicks on the Phone

If ever there was a time for smart phones, it’s now more than ever. If you’ve got a credit card, or a mobile banking app such as PayPal or Zelle, you can get anything delivered to your door, or you can pull up to a designated spot and someone will bring your order. Grocery stores, restaurants, wine stores, bakeries, creameries, home repair, etc. are all ramping up their delivery and pick-up services.

The young woman who does our grocery shopping uses Zelle. With just a few clicks on our phone, we can transfer money from our bank account to hers within minutes. She sends me a text when she’s in line to enter the store and we guesstimate the cost and transfer the money. Once we know the final amount, we adjust accordingly and add her fee. It’s brilliant.

The Delivery Industry

In this stay-at-home life we can’t just hop in the car and drive to the newest station to refill our propane tanks for our grill. We’ve discovered Propane Taxi. Someone will come to our house, walk up our driveway (or wherever) pick up our empty tank and replace it with a full one. For the low cost of $10. Was this a thing before? Probably, but it’s new to us. I think there are all kinds of ingenious new services popping up in this new normal life of ours.

Seemingly, the delivery industry has skyrocketed since the onset of the pandemic.

When in Montpellier, France, we came upon this mini UPS truck. It gives you a clue as to the width of the city center streets.
Zoom Zoom

Recently, the CEO of Twitter announced that all workers who need/want to can work from home permanently. That’s a huge announcement and one that will definitely drive the new normal. As other companies such as Facebook, Zillow, and Capitol One, jump on the work-from-home bandwagon think about the economic impact on the real estate industry. Why would a company cover the cost of renting thousands of square feet of office space when their employees can work from home (or anywhere) as long as they have internet access?

For employees who have family obligations, or long commutes to the office, or health issues, or just a preference, think about the emotional well-being of having the choice to work from home.

Raise your hand if you’ve heard the term Zoom more times than ever in the past few weeks. Zoom trainings, Zoom conference calls, Zoom concerts, and the list goes on. I’m so over Zoom and I’ve never once logged on.

Photo credit: Zoom Basecamp
A Return to Normal

The governor of Maryland, our home state, has implemented a return to normal, in stages. However, our particular county is one of a few that is not yet open. Our numbers are too high. And, because Maryland is closely connected to life in Virginia and Washington, DC, it’s a jigsaw puzzle as to who’s open and who’s not. Washington, DC is still on tight lock down, but just like everywhere, people are rebelling and pushing their way out.

They either don’t believe the science or they do believe but they’re sick of staying home, or they want/need to return to work. The $1,200 payment from the government lasted about a minute for most people who live paycheck to paycheck.

We often walk by this church, it’s been closed throughout the stay-at-home mandate.
Travel in the New Normal

I’m sure you can imagine I spend a lot (too much) of time researching and chatting about the travel and hospitality industry. The worldwide pandemic took a tremendous toll on the industries, but of course you know that.

More than anything of late, I have been aching to start walking. I’m mentally ready to take on another Camino, or The Dingle Way, or Hadrian’s Wall, basically any inn-to-inn walk. I’m more than ready. One of the best aspects of a long walk is the ability to just get lost in the peace and quiet. Between Covid-19 and the upcoming election, life here in the US is anything but tranquil.

Recently, I was invited to participate in a collaboration that required me to look through our Camino de Santiago photos and it was bittersweet because I don’t know when/if we’ll be able to return to Europe.

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Final approach to Lisbon, Portugal

Right now, we wouldn’t get on a flight if you paid us. Even if we did, I don’t think I could stand to wear a mask for a seven-hour flight across the pond. And, it would seemingly be pointless unless people were not allowed to eat or drink on said seven-hour flight. International travel will definitely be impacted in the new normal. Can you imagine the length of lines as people wait, six feet apart, to go through airport security?

Of course I have no idea but if I had to hazard a guess I would predict US citizens will not be admitted in to EU countries (or anywhere) without proof of vaccine. The US is too far behind in the game to combat the virus.

Given what we know about Covid-19, it’s going to be a long time before we board a flight.
Return to the Drive-in

Remember the drive-in movie experience? I’m predicting there is going to be a return to the drive-in theaters. And, they won’t be just for movies. Think about it, church services, concerts, conferences, rallies, they all fit the drive-in format.

While driving Route 66 in 2008, we took this same photo. Unfortunately, it’s not in my cloud so I’m giving photo credit to: TakeMyTrip.com
On the Road

Will daycations and road trips, such as Route 66, become the preferred method of travel in the new normal? A road trip has the potential to offer a more self-controlled travel experience. We love a good road trip and I foresee a lot of them in our near future. I just have to figure out the public restroom situation. (insert eeesh emoji) Once campground and RV facilities figure out the logistics, I think RV travel and camping will experience an increase as well.

new normal
We drove Route 66 in 2008, we’d love to make the drive again. Photo Credit: Toonmaps.com
Are You Ready?

People are pushing the boundaries and as hard as local governments are trying to hold back the tide… the inevitable is just around the corner. Are you ready? Is it too soon, or is it time to push forward and hope for the best?

In our new normal we never leave the house without masks.
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