EvCC Student Pandemic Travels


Courtesy Photo from Ahilin Rivera.

El Boqueron National Park, El Salvador.

With long hours of work and school, we could all just use a little break once in a while. To get away from your surroundings, be somewhere new and take a chance to relax and hit pause on life, traveling is the thing most people turn to.

But while we are in a pandemic? Traveling has definitely changed from almost a year and a half ago to now. Before the pandemic hit, you could travel everywhere with no masks, no social distancing and no precautions.

Now when planning a trip, you have to be prepared to quarantine before and after the trip for two weeks, and you also need a negative COVID-19 test ready to travel in and out of the country.

Ahilin and her cousins at “El Boqueron.”
Behind them is a slide that goes down from a volcano. (Courtesy Photo from Ahilin Rivera.)

“When I was planning my trip it was basically my first time planning a trip on an airplane, so for me it was exciting. My first experience was going to be during the pandemic, so I had to get COVID-19 tested and wear a mask in the airplane,” said EvCC student Ahilin Rivera.

Rivera traveled to El Salvador last April. She has never traveled outside the country before. It was her first time, so she couldn’t compare it to traveling before the pandemic. When the pandemic is over, it will be interesting to see how Rivera and other travelers will compare during and post-COVID-19 travel. “I really enjoyed my trip, although I’m not sure if I will keep traveling during the pandemic because it’s stressful when wearing a mask and getting tested. I feel like I would much rather wait or at least not fly.”

One thing that seems to be different while traveling are the mask mandates. Some states here in the U.S. don’t require masks anymore, but outside the country is a totally different scenario. “People here when they go to the park you would see them without a face mask. In Mexico, everywhere you went you would see people wearing their masks,” said business student Emilia Sanchez Camacho.

Sanchez Camacho at monument called “a los Defensores de la Patria.” (Courtesy Photo from Emilia Sanchez Camacho.)

Not even Washington state has consistent mask mandates for COVID-19. Counseling and Student Success staff member Kristi Leksen recently traveled to Whidbey Island with a couple friends and mentioned how wearing a mask wasn’t required when being outdoors. When being outside she said, “It felt so nice seeing people’s smiles.”

Rivera commented how the mask mandate is not very enforced in El Salvador.
Despite that, when she went out with her family she still wore a mask and followed guidelines. “The mask requirement was a little less strict over there. You could go places without a mask, and it was just different from here in Washington state.”

Although we are still in a pandemic, places are slowly opening up and vacations are being scheduled. Despite the progress, it is still important to follow COVID-19 guidelines and to be as safe as possible to take care of our family and neighbors.

Sanchez Camacho’s Aunt’s House in Coyoacán. (Courtesy Photo from Emilia Sanchez Camacho.)