Home > First Vacation Since the Pandemic Began

First Vacation Since the Pandemic Began

March 25th, 2021 at 04:38 pm

I just returned from a three week vacation to visit my sister and her family. My parents are abroad during the pandemic, so it will be a while until I get to see them. But, they have received their first doses as well and will get their second doses in two weeks. So, everyone in my immediate family except my brother in law is vaccinated, and this gives me an immeasurable amount of relief.

This was my first vacation since the pandemic began. It felt so good to get out of town and visit my family. Here is a gist of my thoughts on it:

(1) I chose to fly Delta because they seem to be only one of two airlines flying out of my local airport that are committed to blocking middle seats. (Alaska was the other one). United and American are the two other major airlines that fly from here, and neither of them are committed any longer to blocking middle seats. I hate United, and will never fly with them if I can help it, and this convinces me further that they are not a company I want to spend my money on.

(2) There is a marked difference between how people in the west coast (at least in my state) treat the pandemic, and how it's treated in the Midwest (at least in the city my sister lives in). I saw loads of people wear masks underneath their chins in stores, playgrounds absolutely packed with hundreds of parents and kids, people not maintaining 6-ft distance in stores, etc. It was quite astonishing. I was not prepared for that.

(3) I spent way less money. Usually we go out and do things when I visit. This trip, most of what we did was hang out at home, go for long walks, watch movies at home, and cook together. My only expenses this trip were a few times I ordered take-out for us all, and the Uber drive back home from the airport when I returned. It was probably the cheapest 3 week vacation I have been on.

(4) It felt absolutely wonderful to be with family. My sister thought it was funny that I wanted to eat only when she ate. In our family, we only eat dinner together, for the other meals we just eat whenever we are hungry - which means it ends up being at different times. But, eating meals with family is something I have missed this past year, and I ate every single meal with her and my neice. I think I ate more than usual and not always very diabetic-friendly meals. But amazingly, I somehow lost 3 lbs.

(5) Time away from work only made me even more determined to retire as soon as possible even though I love my job. It is not what gives me a sense of worth or meaning. My joy comes from family, travel, nature, gardening, reading, and all my other hobbies. I have my fingers crossed for a 10 year time frame to retire.

Financial things while I was gone:
(a) The new CPA did my taxes, and I am very pleased with him. I am also delighted that I chose to switch this year to a new person rather than wait as I had initially thought to do. He is excellent, and cost me about $150 less than my previous person.

(b) For the most part, I did not really keep track of finances except to keep an eye on GME every so often. In the three weeks that I was gone, the price rose from ~$40 to a high of ~$265, and then back again. It's currently at ~$160 as I write this. The GME subreddit was somewhat funny over the past month while the users were having some fun at the expense of the bots, in the earlier part of the month. But in the last few days at least two of the subreddit mods who post daily DD have reported that they are getting death threats and hate/disparaging messages. It's ludicrous to think that any individual share owners would do this - especially as the price rises, so I believe some form of psychological pressure from Hedge Fund reps to drop the subreddit's morale. It makes me feel even more disgusted with the nefarious ways in which these large financial entities run. I'm still holding my shares. Since I had reconciled myself to losing the lot, anything over zero just feels good.

(c) My garden has exploded in the weeks I was gone. In the green house, my eggplant, peppers, basil and tomatoes have germinated and started to put out true leaves. In the garden, the radishes, spinach, lettuce, and cilantro have sprouted. The fava beans have flowered, the shallots and kale are growing well, the sage and oregano have exploded, the peas are climbing their trellises, almost all my flower seeds have germinated, and the raspeberries and blueberries are filling out with foliage. In the front yard, the daffodils and hyacinth are putting on a good show, the nigella and tulips will flower within a month, the Persian buttercups and the daisies are looking healthy, the plum tree is in blossom, the comfrey has loads of flowers and the bees are loving it.

(d) I set up appointments to get quotes to install ductless heat in my home. Apart from redoing the front yard, this is my other big home expense for this year. I will push painting the outside until next year.


NW: $274,888.12

6 Responses to “First Vacation Since the Pandemic Began”

  1. Wink Says:

    Your garden already sounds amazing! Fall is my favorite season, but I also love spring, when everything starts to bloom and blossom and come to life.

  2. terri77 Says:

    So glad that you enjoyed my time with family. It sounds like the perfect vacation!

  3. terri77 Says:

    Correction: *your* time

  4. disneysteve Says:

    I'm glad you enjoyed your trip.

    "(5) Time away from work only made me even more determined to retire as soon as possible even though I love my job. It is not what gives me a sense of worth or meaning."
    Oh my god! I am on day 9 of a 10 day staycation and this speaks to me loud and clear. I've said it a few times this week. I have loved every minute of my time off. I've gotten so much done around the house. We've run some errands. I've spent some time with my mom. I've slept in ("in" meaning past 7 am) every day. I've exercised several times. I've just been so relaxed and content in a way that I simply am not when I'm working. And I love my job, too, but I can't wait until the day when I can walk away from it for good.

    I keep saying 60, but I doubt I'll actually wait that long (I'll be 57 in August). I think we're at the point where we'd rather trim our lifestyle and spending than have me work longer. COVID has actually helped a great deal. We've been so tied to being home but have both found that we're quite happy that way, and our spending is down nearly $2,000/month as a result. If we could maintain that, we'd need way less saved for me to retire.

  5. terri77 Says:

    I go back & forth between the ages of 57 and 60 as my retirement age. 57 is my minimum retirement age for my pensions & for health care insurance. 60 would get me to 30 years of service.

  6. rob62521 Says:

    Glad you had a lovely vacation. Yes, most of us in the midwestern city I live in wear masks and try to socially distance. So glad so many of your family have had the vaccines too.

    Good news on your garden too!

    I retired at 55 because I could. Do I regret it? Not for a minute. If I agreed to sign a 4 year letter and I would have been eligible to do so, I could have waited and retired after a few more years and had a bigger pension. But to be honest, do I miss that extra money? So far, no. Like Disney Steve said, I'd rather cut back and have the joy of being retired so I can spend it with DH.

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