We've been keeping a close eye on updates from the World Health Organization (WHO) regarding the spread of COVID-19. There are now cases in Europe, which we suspected would happen, but we're not panicking. Despite the situation, we're going ahead with our Camino.
We'll be as cautious as possible and strive to stay aware of our surroundings. There are no travel advisories/bans for our planned destinations. While we have face masks with replaceable carbon filters, the WHO recommends not wearing a mask unless you're near someone infected with the virus.... well.....how does one know that?!? Safety precautions from the organization include staying at least three feet from anyone coughing or sneezing. That could be impossible on a plane or in a train/bus. It also recommends frequent hand washing and the use of hand sanitizer.
Given that we'll be going through some major international hubs, including JFK in NYC and Charles de Gaulle in Paris, we plan to wear face masks all of the time. We'll wash/sanitize our hands religiously and try to avoid touching our eyes/nose/mouth as much as possible. (But a pilgrim has to eat!) Once we get to the more remote areas of Spain, we'll remove our masks but remain vigilant.
We believe in being cautious and careful, but we refuse to live in fear. It seems that this virus is very much like a bad case of the flu and those at "high risk" (according to WHO) are those with high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. Those people are believed to be most likely to develop serious breathing complications if they become infected. Since neither of us fall into those categories, we feel confident that we can stay safe and savor the full Camino experience.
For those following our adventure, we encourage you not to worry. If we had any doubts about our safety, we'd postpone - but it's likely that our world will be dealing with COVID-19 for years to come. We've both had the flu shot and we're ready to start trekking!
So - on to happier topics. We depart in FOUR days!! I clearly remember when it was four months. Wow. It seems like a dream. A very sweet dream that looks like this:
It's almost time. We're so ready.