July 8, 2020, boarding the Fayetteville Regional Airport to San Francisco. COVID protective items packed – protective plastic gloves, plenty of masks, alcohol spray, wipes, hand sanitizers, Elderberry, and Vitamin C supplements. I didn’t know what to expect as the pandemic brought on a scare worldwide. Numbers were rising, no vaccination, and many people were dying from this epidemic. In addition, California was one of the highest states of COVID-19 cases. This was the first significant pandemic since the 1920s Spanish Flu. I overly protected myself on the plane, hoodie tightly pulled to my face and wearing 3 masks – a surgical mask, a wool mask, and a face shield.
My good friend/traveling buddy and I decided to travel to the Bay area during the pandemic after sitting by the dock at Bald Head Island, NC, discussing our love for traveling. International guidelines resulted in my canceled birthday trip to Belize. I made it on the birthday pandemic list. When I thought I would be home celebrating my birthday, my friend said four magical words to me. “Let’s go to California,” after I told her I was not afraid to travel during the pandemic. Without hesitation, I agreed to go on the trip. It was one of those needed trips to make up for my canceled trip.
My traveling experience went smoothly. To my surprise, many people were at the San Francisco International Airport. My guestimate was some travelers taking advantage of the cheap flight deals.
The city was relatively quiet. Restaurants were dry. The cable cars weren’t in operation. My friend and I didn’t want to waste money driving an Uber. We decide to stroll around the block to tour the city’s scenery. San Francisco landmarks have some of the most beautiful architectural landscapes. The colorful flowers plastered on the Victorian-style homes add an alluring touch to the city.
Strolling around intensified our eagerness to walk further to view the city’s most famous landmark, the Golden Gate bridge. The hilly hills gave our calves and legs a workout. Amid walking to the Golden Gate bridge, we ran into the Pier, Lombard Street, and spotted Alcatraz Island. Our legs had to activate again to get a closer view of this infamous landmark. San Francisco is where you must sit back and soak in the captivating architecture and landscape. My friend and I pause between our walks to capture those picturesque scenes to add to photo memories. Presidio flourishing the most beautiful unique flowers I didn’t know existed in my human dictionary. My iPhone recorded 21 miles of the city’s walking tour. The phone would’ve tracked more steps if it wasn’t for me turning off my phone to save my battery life. Returning to the hotel led us to more city attractions – the Palace of Fine Arts, Chinatown, and Union Square.
We rode the San Francisco Bay Ferry to Oakland, California, the next day. Oakland was livelier than San Francisco. Sections of the streets were blocked for street vendors. Black Lives Matter murals plastered on buildings. Crowds hanging out at Jack London Square and Lake Merritt. My friend’s cousin, who resides in Oakland, was the tour guide – driving us around Oakland. Before leaving, we visited more attractions and eateries, including Yerba Buena Garden in San Francisco.
I returned home excited about a change in scenery after feeling limited due to the pandemic restrictions. I immediately got tested for COVID-10, and my results came in negative.
Overall, the trip was risky due to the rise of the pandemic and no vaccination. I used every method to ensure my safety while enjoying a taste of adventure. We got our workout from our self-walking tour while capturing unforgettable traveling memories.