A Nomad in the Times of Covid-19

Robyne Stevenson
3 min readApr 28, 2020

I live the life of wanderlust, a traveler who comes and goes as she pleases. Except now — when a biologic virus upends the world and forces everyone inside.

I’m parked, for the duration. I’m at risk, and my lust for travel does not exceed my lust for living. I have 25 feet from front to back in which to while away the hours.

Other travelers are parked with me, though I do not know them. A few are here for the long haul and I recognize them and they me. We share the friendly RVer hello wave. It’s what passes for quarantine socializing. There has been more coming and going of travelers than I would expect in a pandemic, but then I came just a few weeks ago. Each has a story that will have to wait to be known.

Time passes slowly and begs for conversation. We limit our interaction to Zoom. The days are all the same and the calendar becomes irrelevant, except for the days on which I have a writing deadline.

The lack of street traffic, even on the interstate that is nearby, yields a comforting stillness. It’s a stillness I am used to when I am in the woods. I hear birds, lots of birds who are awake during the day. They don’t have to compete with the normal urban soundtrack of cars and trucks, so they have come back to daytime to do their chirping.

But people are chafing. You can feel the strain of the desire to return to old habits of being with the world and being out in it. But the old way was not that great. How many people did you talk to in those days — people you didn’t know. Maybe a glare or a snub in the latte line, a huff or a tsk at the clerk who was too slow. Maybe a curt hello or a half-smile to co-workers whose name you didn’t know. What will be different now that you just have to go back out there? Probably nothing.

Robyne Stevenson

I travel the country in my Airstream meeting people and enjoying life. I’m a writer. I was a Professor of Politics. Things change.