Hurrying back to our hostel, I only had one thing in mind: GET OUT! According to my super stressed, the-world-is-coming-to-an-end self, it was only a matter of hours before the border to the United States would close and I’d be stuck, well… who knows where?
The hostel owner looked at me as if I was crazy when I told him I was going to leave 11 days prior to scheduled departure. My shirt was drenched in sweat as I ran to the bus station. The streets of Tulum were full of people; no one, it seemed, had heard about the pandemic that was slowly closing off the world. I got the last seat on the bus to Cancun Airport. The air-conditioning soon became my worst enemy, as my wet clothes were as cold as ice within five minutes.
Icebergs in Cancun?
The first flight to Chicago wasn’t until the morning after; camping out in the airport was my only option. As an experienced traveler, I had tried this before = NOT recommended, but sometimes you have no choice. The cold tiles felt like sleeping on a brick made of ice as I tried to get some rest. Two hours of interrupted sleep was all I could muster.
Chicago O’Hare was empty. It felt like my airplane from Cancun was the only flight that arrived that morning. What usually takes an hour to get through with border control, customs and baggage claim took just 20 minutes. People wore facemasks – including myself. My mom had bought me a facemask two months prior as a joke, ‘cause we had seen other travelers wearing masks. What seemed to be funny at the time wasn’t much of a laugh anymore.
There’s NO place like Home
My thoughts were all over the place on my way to Green Bay. One thought that couldn’t escape my mind, was the fact that this might be a final farewell to the place I had called home for the past 3 years… But I just had to get to my REAL home – with very little time to GET!
My apartment was empty once I arrived. So was campus. It felt like an episode from the Walking Dead. The only sound present was the wind in your ears. Not a human or vehicle in sight. I said goodbye to the place I call home, but not to any of the people who made my time in United States feel like home. Will I ever get to say a proper goodbye?
Written by: Adam Mansa | 82/5.5
Link to a YouTube video uploaded from my first and last day in Cancun.
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