A Travellerspoint blog

The 2021 Variant - The Year We All Said Would Be Better

My year in review - another bad year for travellers


I reread my 2020 year end blog before starting to write my new one for 2021. I ended last year in isolation, staying at home, and being anxious about Covid. The vaccines were not quite available yet. It was scary to even think about going out any place. I started the new year with hopes of getting a vaccine and getting my life back to normal. I soon realized I had no idea what normal was any more. We were not getting a new year. It was going to be 2020 the 21 variant.

I grew a Covid beard in 2020 and had planned to clean it up in the new year. But we never really got that new year and the beard remains. I have kept it trimmed and not long. But this is still a first for me and I have grown to appreciate it. I have a feeling it will still be here at the end of 2022 also






I spent most of January and February still in lock down but not just because of Covid. Our dog Tallulah had been hit by a car in December 2020. She had surgery on December 23, 2020 and the emergency vet tried to save her front leg. We brought her home on Christmas Eve 2020. She was under complete sedation and was not supposed to move at all. We found out eight weeks later that the surgery was not successful and she would need her front leg amputated. So I remained at home with her for her recovery from the amputation which was just as well as I had not received a my Covid shot yet and should not have been out anyway.


My daughters and Mark were all concerned that I should get my Covid Vax as soon as I was eligible. My age group was opened in March for the shot. Katie drove me down to the Raven's Football stadium where the state of Maryland was doing mass vaccinations.


Memorial to Baltimore Colts Football Player Johnny Unitas with a mask

I was glad to get the vaccination hoping it would allow me to get back to some sort of normalcy. But as I mentioned above I was soon to find out I still had no idea what normal really was any more. Three days after getting the vaccine I woke up to find that I had no sense of taste of smell. I knew what that meant! I had Covid. I went to the nearest test location at my local CVS Pharmacy to do a drive through test. One day later I had my response. I tested positive for Covid. This was certainly not part of my plane. I was still home with a recuperating dog and now I was concerned about getting ill from Covid. I was very fortunate. My case was very mild, thanks to the vaccine I had taken right before being diagnosed. I had no other symptoms other than no taste or smell. No fever. No weakness. And within the week my taste and smell has returned. But we still had to stay quarantined for a full ten days. I spoke with my personal physician by way of a Zoom meeting. He said I could assume I caught it while in line for the shot at the mass distribution site and that in his opinion my vaccination worked because I had such a light case.

April the fourth was a big day for me this year. I felt some sense of things returning to some kind of normal.


I was a fully vaccinated Covid surviving member of society and I returned to favorite bar, Racers, and had my first beer back inside the bar.

Now for the next big step. Mark was finally qualified to be vaccinated. So now we were wondering if we would be to do some traveling. Nothing big, nothing out of the country. We had really wanted to go to Hawaii again but that was just not possible. So instead I found a wonderful beach rental on the Outer Banks. Tallulah was doing well with only three legs but we could not see ourselves leaving her at a kennel just yet. Luckily the house I found to rent had handicap access ramps. It was perfect.


Tallulah loved the beach house and spent a lot of time on the deck watching the neighbors. This had to be one of our best vacations in a long time. We were still somewhat isolated but it could not have been more relaxing.

We were able to do some more local traveling in September over the Labor Day weekend. Oh how we wanted it to be Hawaii again but that still just was not happening for us. Plane travel was still sketchy. People were fighting on planes over mask mandates. Flight schedules were not dependable. And honestly Hawaii was not being too open to tourists returning yet anyway and who can blame them. And due to the unvaccinated Covid just kept growing. After some initial Google searches we were able to find a log cabin to rent in New Hampshire in the same area we vacationed in 2020. So the 2021 varient year of 2020 continued for us.

We enjoyed New England as much this year as we did in 2020. And the blending of the years continued. Writing now it's difficult to remember did that happen in 2020 or was it 2021. It's almost liked we have blotted out 2020 and just jumped from 2019 right into 2021. It's still difficult even going through photos to tell the story of this year to differentiate what happened and when. And to make it even more bizarre I am currently researching plans for a return this spring to New England.

We found out that Tallulah does travel well. She managed the both trips in the car with no real issues. She was more relaxed than at home. At home she is on constant guard duty guarding our house and yard growling and barking at everything and anything that moves. But on the vacations she seemed to be on vacation also. She ignored most of the dogs at the rest stops. She did not bark at any of the neighboring vacationers at either location. She pretty much became a some what normal dog. And then we returned home and she went back to her self appointed guard dog duties.



Our cabin was isolated and on a dirt road. We were surround by beautiful lakes, trails, mountains and wild turkeys! The only time Tallulah got really animated was when a large group of wild turkeys decided to visit out yard. She also got a little agitated one evening and the next morning I saw a paw print that might have been from a small bear in our back yard. But other than the wild life there was nothing there bother us and we had one of our most relaxed vacations in years. We hiked. We photographed lakes. We saw lighthouses and cliff climbers. We drove to Maine and my daughter from Massachusetts drove up to see us for a day also.


Portland, Maine Lighthouse


Cliff Climber at Cathedral Ledge New Hampshire

The year progressed to a slow end by December. I saw some friends get sick. I saw some friends die. I got angry at Covid. I got angry at the unvaxxed who continue to make this pandemic a political argument while I tried to avoid political arguments. And I spent a lot of time at my local bar. Day drinking at Racers was my one refuge. With Covid and the restrictions, depleted staff, and the general malaise of the year they survived. Many places closed permanently. Some closed temporarily. But my favorite bar survived. Monday mornings this was where you would find me. It was never crowded. There was no real concern of getting infected from people who were not there. It was just me and my bartenders this year. Roxy, Mariam, Bernard, John, Eric, and Brooks kept me entertained and hopefully I didn't bore them too much with my old man stories. And I thank the manager Emily for her kindness to an old man with free tickets to a local beer event this year and many free samples of the newest beers on draft. And Monday regulars Lou, Chris, Roger all properly vaxxed. All feeling safe. And all glad for the escape. They all helped me keep my sanity this year.


Colorful beer for a black and white world - Racers Cafe Parkville, Maryland The 2021 Variant

Ending this year I am glad t to have had my family together all at the same time over the Christmas holidays this. I am grateful for the vaccinations and the boosters being available. I am thankful they are all vaccinated and have received their boosters. I am thankful to have survived a very minor Covid infection. I am thankful for a year with strong leadership from our President and no longer going to bed angry or fearful each night from the actions of his predecessor. And I am looking forward to a new year. Will it be 2020 variant 22 this year? Will we all adjust to the new normal? It's difficult to say. I do know I will miss those good friends and family who did not survive this year. I dread hitting the big 70 this year but grateful to have been able to make it this far.

And Tallulah is looking forward to another vacation from her guard duties and returning to her mountain retreat.


Posted by littlesam1 18:15 Archived in USA Tagged beer dogs new_hampshire bars north_carolina outer_banks covid year_in_review racers_cafe

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Sam, Great to hear of someone else's year. My year has being more or less house and garden bound , because for this last two years being lame.Some of my time i looked up my photos , and wrote blogs i had not done.-- The nasty figures seem to be coming down here in England. Lets hope for a better 2022 for us all. Stay Safe.

by alectrevor

Hi Sam, fingers crossed 2022 might be the year things start getting back to something more like normality. Belated Happy New Year.


by irenevt

Sam, Thanks for writing this! Your experience is encouraging, a testament to what we can achieve with love and care for our family, friends and beloved pets! I<m happy that you recuperated quickly and adjusted well. Life here is VERY routine, I<m well and caring for my cat Paolina, who<s well too though jealous of time I spend caring for absent friends< cats. One friend<s cat hasn't moved in my presence for days... But her bowl is empty at every visit so I know she eats when I leave... Too bad she forgot where her litter box is... She does her thing on my friend<s bed!!! I keep washing sheets! LOL Last but not least, you look great with a beard! Wishing you all the best. lou (in Montréal)

by Lou Bessette

Thanks for the kind words on my beard Lou. I've never grown one before and am very conscious of it. So any mention of compliment grabs my attention.

by littlesam1

I know exactly what you mean about feeling that 2020 almost didn't happen. I think for me that's because it was so uneventful. After our February trip to Indochina, which we were thankful to have completed just before Covid really took hold, there were no significant events to punctuate the year, no milestones to mark its pace. Reading this though I can see that for you, as for me, 2021 WAS a step in the right direction - vaccinations, more freedoms, a sense of a bit more control over life again. Let's hope 2022 is another step forward, at the very least. And who knows, maybe by 2023 we might actually be able to see each other again - if not at Euromeet then perhaps in Chicago???

by ToonSarah

Hey "Sam" this is the first blog of yours that I have read. I am seriously thinking that you need a bloggers mug; remember the last one that I sent you. I will ponder this for a time......

by Karen Mimi

Hi Sam. I love the beard. It's a keeper.

Thanks for the update. We're all going stir crazy with the new variant getting worse every day. We vaxxed and boosted and very willing for another booster if necessary.

We did manage a trip to France mid-September to mid-October when numbers were way down. We got our TousAntiCovid app health pass with no trouble and zipped all over Brittany and Normandy. Had a great time and came home to the stupid Omicron variant starting up.

Don't worry about hitting 70. I'm heading for 80 in September. Just keep on keeping on and you won't notice the years zip past.

by Beausoleil

what a year indeed! I guess we all struggled with more or less the same issues, wherever we are and just like you I hope that 2022 brings better things. Keep the faith, I really hope this year is the year that things progress, but unfortunately it is all in the hands of ... Mother Nature!
Be Safe!!!

by Ils1976

The beard really suits you, don't you dare to cut it! :)

Hopefully this year will be more eventful (in a good way)! Glad that Tallulah has get accustomed to 3-legged going! :)

by hennaonthetrek

As a member of the British Beard Club (yes, really!) I must urge you to keep the face furniture.

Glad to see you making the best of a difficult situation for us all.

by planxty

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