Vacation dreams: Do we dare venture out into the world?

| July 1, 2020 | 0 Comments

DINING IN TUSCANY with Susana Hayman-Chaffee (fifth from left).

The world is beginning to reopen, and sequestered Los Angelenos are eager to jump back into some semblance of normalcy, but does that include travel to exotic climes? Some travelers report that airlines’ promised empty middle seats — for social-distancing  — are not always empty, and that wearing masks, while advised, may not be mandatory. (Check with your carrier if you care!) Cruise lines are experiencing an uptick in bookings, with Viking, for example, rolling out ocean and river voyages as early as September, even while health officials warn that continued coronavirus spikes might cause “no cruise” restrictions to be extended. Are people leaping into dream vacations with both feet — or merely dipping a toe into the travel waters?

This is Part 1 of a two-part report on locals’ vacation plans. Part II will be in August.

Susana Hayman-Chaffee

Susana Hayman-Chaffee is skeptical that travel bookings will pick up any time soon.  The Brookside resident’s company La Vera Italy has been leading women’s tours to Tuscany and Puglia, Italy for 30 years. She remembers what happened after 9/11. “It took four years for traveling to resume. So, best case scenario now — it might be two years.” Hayman-Chaffee cancelled her May tour and is now waiting to see when people are comfortable rescheduling. “It’s a long flight from California to Italy. It feels very uncertain. No one is ready to commit.”

Would the itinerant traveler board a European flight herself? She’s not ready either. “Countries are requiring a two-week quarantine, which might relax by the 15th of July, but everybody would feel more comfortable with a vaccine.”

JILL BAUMAN and son James (at left) in Govan, ancestral Scottish parish.

Bauman family

It seems like eons ago when the hardest part of booking a vacation was deciding which country to visit. Few travelers are ready to fly, let alone fly to Europe, such as in 2018 when Jill Bauman (nee Govan) and family traveled to her ancestral home of Govan, Scotland, now part of Glasgow. There they walked in the footsteps of her father’s forebears and visited the Govan Old Parish Church, which has been in operation since the 6th century.

The coronavirus certainly interfered with Bauman’s scheduled Scandinavian road trip this summer. She and her husband John had arranged to purchase a Volvo at the source, tour the countryside, and visit their daughter Isabelle, in Denmark on a Fulbright scholarship, before shipping their new car home. “None of my family except for me has seen the fjords in Norway,” Bauman exclaims. “It’s one of the most beautiful places on the planet.” Instead, when the virus hit, the trip got cancelled, and Isabelle was forced to return to the family home in Windsor Village and quarantine for two weeks. Bauman is busy rescheduling everything for next summer.

That doesn’t mean she isn’t engaging in low-risk jaunts now that things are beginning to open. The CEO and president of Imagine LA, a nonprofit that helps the homeless, booked a cabin in Los Olivos, in rural Santa Ynez Valley, for a “girls’ weekend” with Isabelle and Isabelle’s cousin, Ellie Martino. They rented bikes, enjoyed the fresh air and engaged in social distancing cocktails with other family members staying elsewhere on the ranch. Jill plans a similar weekend with her husband and son James, plus a seaside retreat in San Diego or Carpinteria. Bauman explains that, for now, “We’re staying close to home.”

SHARON LAWRENCE and husband Tom Apostle hike New Zealand glacier.

Apostle / Lawrence

Travel plays an integral part in actress Sharon Lawrence’s personal and professional life.  In fact, one of her favorite travel memories is when, early in their relationship, now-husband Dr. Tom Apostle flew to New Zealand to visit her on the set of the film “Atomic Twister” and they hiked the Franz Joseph Glacier. Now, aside from getaways to their Idyllwild vacation home, the virus has thwarted many of her planned adventures. “I wanted to walk the Camino [Spain’s pilgrimage route]. It’s been on my bucket list.” She and friends had to defer that hike and are discussing rebooking for fall 2021. “We’ll start at Leon and walk 15 miles a day. … We’ll be on the road for 14 days and end in Santiago.”

An African adventure was also delayed. “[My husband and I] bought an African safari at a fundraiser for Cancer Centers of America. I’m not pushing to make that happen right now.”

First up on the travel horizon, Lawrence is scheduled to temporarily move to Atlanta to resume her role as Laura Van Kirk in “Dynasty.” She will also travel to New Orleans to play Louise Garbeau in the Showtime series, “On Becoming a God in Central Florida.” While in the South, Lawrence hopes to visit her mother and sometime travel companion Earlyn Sams Lawrence in North Carolina. Rather than risking air travel, she and her husband plan to drive cross-country.

To be continued next month.


Category: Entertainment

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