Last year, the girls and I had plans to visit one of our best girlfriends in Texas but due to unforeseen circumstances on my end, I was unable to join them.

I inquired with United Airlines and was lucky enough to avail of the ticket prior to its expiration date, which was one year from its purchase date. We revisited the dates and the month of March was available. And then the news of the novel coronavirus from China broke out. It did not stop there. It infected many countries most especially those of Iran, Italy, South Korea, and even the Diamond Princess cruise ship. Then on March 11, Guam had not one but two cases of persons under investigation for the novel coronavirus. Guam has since seen five confirmed cases of the virus that causes COVID-19.

I do not travel for a living. Therefore, playing it safe and canceling the trip was the wisest decision to make for now. If I went, I would have checked my point of entries at each layover country and read up on their COVIID-19 measures. I would take the necessary precautions doing the following:

· mask and gloves on (non-negotiable)

· wash my hands (only time gloves are removed)

· disinfect my assigned seat like it’s my workstation

· turn off the air vent (don’t know how much well that would do being in an enclosed space); and

· relax – in my case by typing away on my laptop documenting my experience.

If I went, my first connection would be Narita. In Tokyo, I would Speedy Gonzales my way to the next gate trying to catch the flight to San Francisco and notice the notoriously busy Narita airport would be nearly empty.

The plus side to the coronavirus is that most shops and restaurants would advertise their items at half off. Since the outbreak, we have experienced a depressed economy. It is my hope in this time of panic that families and communities would come together and be vigilant in trying to combat this global pandemic.

While on the flight to San Francisco, I would imagine a person not wearing a mask would cough on the plane and almost instinctively I would play out a scene where a riot may ensue between the coughing suspect, several passengers, the flight crew, and myself.

I would have used so much hand sanitizer and wipes on the trip that I am debating investing in GOJO stock, the company that owns Purell sanitizers.

The reality is the virus is everywhere. And I’m sure I’ll be fine physically had I gone but it is a game of Russian roulette at this point. I could get it just as easily if I stayed home but staying home is the safest choice.

In the meantime, I will heed the words my dear friend said, “Dallas will always be there.” I agree. On that note, to those flying home, stay strong and message me when you get home.

If you can get home…

Vanessa A. Judicpa is a Guam resident

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