Skiing and Family Time in India (January to March)
When I started negotiating media trips for 2020, I did not anticipate that a pandemic would topple multiple layers of the hospitality industry. Ira and I were visiting our eldest son and his family in Mumbai, India when it became apparent that COVID-19 was a serious issue. As soon as we heard that India would be preventing visitors from entering the country, we rebooked our return flights and headed back to the United States. It never occurred to us that our travel plans for the remainder of the year would be limited.
Skiing in the West was our winter emphasis. To celebrate the beginning of 2020, we spent three glorious days exploring Park City Utah. Our First Timer’s Guide to a Park City Getaway was published on the KUHL-Born in the Mountains site. While we love our home state of Colorado, we look forward to future ski trips to Utah. In addition to skiing, we discovered noteworthy restaurants and learned about the region’s history. For more details, follow these links to the Real Food Traveler and Wandering Educator stories.
Just a few weeks later, we found ourselves in Grand County, Colorado skiing at Winter Park Resort. Prior to our arrival, we were unaware of the YMCA of the Rockies– at Snow Mountain Ranch. In this tranquil setting, guests can stay in modest lodging and enjoy year round activities on more than 5,000 acres.
Our short visit to Winter Park included two firsts—snowmobiling and dog sledding. For more details, check out the Born in the Mountains blog— Winter Fun in Grand County, Colorado.
Before departing for Mumbai, India, we drove to Snowmass Resort. We were treated to the convenience of ski-in and ski out accommodations at the Limelight Hotel Snowmass.
NATJA Writing Awards
In February, I was informed that three of my travel stories were recognized by the 28th North American Travel Journalist Association Travel Writing Award Competition.
- Gold Medal for Culinary Travel—A Taste of Israeli Cuisine in Frankfurt published on the Real Food Traveler website.
- Silver Medal for Cultural Travel— Exposing the Jewish History of a Medieval German Town published by the Canadian Jewish News.
- Honorable Mention for Travel Tips & Advice—What You Need to Know About National Park Deaths published on the Far & Wide website.
The gold medal status included a free trip. I eagerly waited to receive the list of prizes and select my top choices. Not knowing the full extent of the pandemic, we chose domestic destinations. Disappointingly, the deadline for my Florida trip is fast approaching. It is unlikely that we will be able to travel before the end of February 2021.
Adjusting to the Realities of the Pandemic (April to June)
While recovering from jet lag, we hibernated in our home. Zoom presentations became my daily entertainment. We ventured out for weekly trips to the grocery store. When the weather permitted, we walked in our suburban neighborhood, bordering a wildlife sanctuary. Occasionally, we drove to nearby trailheads for more diverse terrain and a few times headed up to our mountain home in Summit County. After Mother’s Day, we started to occasionally get together with our sons and their families. One afternoon we met family members at Genesse Park to watch the buffalo grazing in the meadow. The highlights of this family-friendly hike were retold on the Born in the Mountains site.
Within no time, many media outlets ceased operation or started to layoff writers and editors. Surprisingly, the Canadian Jewish News became a pandemic victim. Pitching stories to media outlets became even more frustrating. Nobody was interested in new travel content. Many places were simply recycling old content. I struggled to find editors who would run stories about our amazing 2019 fall cruise to Japan. After the cruise ship sat for weeks off the coast of Japan, few publications were interested in cruise related stories.
COVID cases escalated in Europe. We waited patiently. Would our spring media trips to Italy and Switzerland be postponed? Ira and I were looking forward to our week-long media trip. Months earlier, I had diligently worked with a European public relations firm to plan this trip. The representative contacted me after reading one of my History Comes Alive stories. She arranged an amazing trip to several boutique hotels located on the Italian Riviera along with a stay at a hotel on our way to Switzerland.
After traveling in Italy, we were planning to participate in the pre-conference Travel Classics trip to Zermatt. Following this amazing itinerary, Ira was scheduled to fly home and I would attend the well-regarded Travel Classics Conference at the Beau Rivage Palace in Lausanne, Switzerland. While attending a summer camp in the 1970s, I had fallen in love with Zermatt. For decades, I wanted to return with Ira. Disappointingly, COVID travel restrictions prevented us from traveling abroad. Perhaps, one day in the future we will be able to visit Zermatt.
In June, I went under contract to write my second book, 100 Things to do in Boulder Before You Die. To start the researching process, I reached out to our Boulder contacts. I was advised to wait. It was fruitless to do any onsite visits until the COVID restrictions were lifted and businesses had time to reestablish themselves. Instead, I gathered information about local hiking opportunities and we started trekking.
When our eldest son asked if we wanted to join his family on a road trip to Moab, we agreed. We couldn’t wait to get away for a few days.
Before negotiating a media rate at the Hoodoo Moab, a Curio Collection Hilton hotel, we investigated the pros and cons of traveling during the pandemic. After careful consideration, we decided that a short pandemic road trip fell within our comfort zone. We shared our first pandemic trip with my KUHL, Real Food Traveler, and Wandering Educators audiences.
A few weeks later, we were hiking near our home at Eldorado Canyon State Park. My attention was diverted by two young boys who were throwing boulders on to the path. Instead of watching where I stepped on the steep, rocky incline, I fell. Our hiking outings were curtailed. I needed time to recuperate. I had large abrasions on my knee and hand. A few months later, I would undergo arthroscopic surgery to repair the internal damage in one of my knees.
Launching Chefs and Recipes
After I realized that travel restrictions would be the new normal, I decided to focus on chefs and restaurants. Even if it wasn’t possible to visit restaurants, owners and chefs could share their stories and recipes on this site. In May, I launched the Chefs and Recipes category. This new content would appeal to homebound individuals who wanted to prepare chef inspired recipes. In 2021, I plan to add more stories to this section.
Son’s Wedding to Ira’s Brain Cancer (July to September)
COVID caused our son and future daughter-in-law to postpone their original wedding celebration plans. After careful consideration, they abbreviated their wedding list to immediate family members and opted for a destination wedding in Telluride. With some hesitation, we spent several days on the western slopes. Travel World Magazine covered the highlights.
Despite the persistent overcast skies and periodic rainstorms, we hiked many of the local trails. One morning, Kayla and Jordan took us to the Bridal Veil Falls trail so that we could see where Jordan had proposed to Kayla. To learn more about some of Telluride’s amazing trails read Discover Telluride’s Energizing Trails.
Days later, Ira’s brain MRI image revealed a glioblastoma. I watched Ira recover from brain surgery followed by six weeks of chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Currently, he is undergoing another round of chemo. Suddenly, Ira’s well being became center stage. I could only think of Ira’s quality of life.
I began reading about how individuals successfully beat the odds of incurable cancer. Shortly thereafter, I prepared almost all of our foods from non-processed ingredients.
Living with Ira’s Brain Cancer (October-December)
Relentless insomnia caused an over abundance of sleep deprivation. I wandered around each night while my mind raced from one thought to the next. This situation made it impossible to write constructively. For almost five months, I didn’t touch my two websites.
Plus, I cut short my available time to write. Instead of sitting down to draft stories, I spent countless hours analyzing healthy recipes and then cooking multi-course meals.
No matter how many times I sat in front of my computer, I remained unproductive. A severe case of writer’s block took control. Everything frustrated me. On New Year’s Day, I finally overcame this temporary obstacle. After skiing at Keystone Resort, I came home and drafted a story focusing on Ira’s desire to embrace life rather than his cancer diagnosis. This was the first time that I could write publicly about our situation. Read New Year’s Tradition: Skiing at Keystone Resort.
With the start of 2021, I cannot neglect my two websites any longer. I recently added a handful of stories published after Ira’s diagnosis and wrote this recap of 2020.I thank my readers for your patience and understanding. Stay tuned…I will eventually pick up where I left off.
When we resume traveling, I will once again share The Traveling Bornsteins stories.
May 2021 be the best year of your life.
When Sandy isn’t trekking or writing in Colorado, she is traveling. She has visited more than 40 countries and lived as an international teacher in Bangalore, India. Sandy’s award-winning book, May This Be the Best Year of Your Life, is a resource for people contemplating an ex-pat lifestyle and living outside their comfort zone.
Sandy shares her lifestyle and travel experiences with international and domestic online sites and print media. She has contributed stories to Hemispheres, Destinations Magazine, KUHL’s Born in the Mountain blog, Grand Magazine, Wandering Educators, Golden Living, AARP, Hadassah magazine, Localliz, One Travel, Miles Away, Canadian Jewish News, Getting On Travel, Far and Wide, Colorado Parent, Traveler Confidential, Family Circle- Momster, and others.