What Would it Take to Travel Down South?

A week after figuring out how to get from Point A to Point B, with the new international travel requirements amid COVID-19, I was determined to get myself from Edmonton, Alberta Canada down to Milwaukee, Wisconsin USA.

After a couple of weeks, looking into possible flights between the two cities it was becoming apparent that the only way to get from Point A -> B was to travel from Edmonton to Vancouver to Chicago to Milwaukee, or from Edmonton to Toronto to Detroit to Milwaukee, or on and on the list of multi-airport, multi-flights connected around and around between domestic Canadian flights into an international flight and onto a domestic American flight.

The price of this round and round trip was the price of $750 CAD or more.

Three weeks away from getting on a plane and I still didn’t have a plane ticket because it was going to take more than thirty-six hours to travel down south.

As each passing day came and went, I had multiple apps sending alerts when seats dropped in price or fluctuated and rose. It was a challenge having all this information pestering throughout the day, hour after hour, minute after minute just begging me to pick a seat to have it stop!

Then one night it all came true.

The price was right and I punched in those credit card digits.

Ticket in hand I ran into the office the following day and submitted a request for holiday. Within a handful of hours the response came back positive. Not that I ever doubted it.

From that moment onward I began planning what the week would look like when I reached the state of Wisconsin. Before my hands picked up the blue ink Uni-ball vision pen to begin jotting down notes of who I wanted to see and when it would fit into the week, my minds eye clouded over and I began to think about my last visit nearly seven-years ago.

There I was sitting next to my cousin Scott in the back row of chairs starring out across the room at family members, cousins, their spouses and children. Many of whom I had not seen in years. We had all come back together for this one occasion, to pay our respects to our 97 year old grandmother and lay her to rest in the family plot.

Sitting at this same Ikea sandal wood desk with a 24″ iMac computer terminal, I drafted a list of names on a sheet of paper: Kelly, Mary, Ty, Sarah, Paul, David, Natasha, Annie, Bonnie, and more. I starred at the names popping out and wondering how I would be able to connect with each of them?

I fired off emails, IM messages, and text messages asking for addresses and itineraries for the week of November 22 to November 26, to learn where I might be able to squeeze in a conversation over lunch, a session of wandering through a quintessential rural Wisconsin town or assisting with the preparations of a dinner meal together.

As the messages were returned each person became more and more favourable about our getting together for lunch or dinner. I had invitations to birthday parties, sporting events, low key engagements for a cup of coffee and five-cent tours of homes I had never seen or been inside.

The only expectation was reconnecting with long lost relatives in the great state of Wisconsin during one of the worst weeks to travel in America; Thanksgiving.

All of my travels around the world before April 2019 had not fully prepared me for what I was about to embark on. Unbeknownst to myself when the neighbouring border finally opened its awaiting arms to tourists who were fully vaccinated and willing to traverse the “friendly skies” the skies had actually darkened and travel in the new era under COVID19, was about to rear its ugly head to this soon to be international traveller.

General Mitchell International Airport

~ James Curtis