I don’t love the thought of danger. I’m very much a Virgo — I like my feet on solid ground, not quicksand. I’m vanilla, and proud of it. For those brave souls among us, though, who like to get their pulse racing while on vacation, there are tons of options. For instance, you could visit an active volcano, Mount Aso, in Japan, offers beautiful scenery, two cable cars that offer an incredible view, and the very real possibility it could blow at any moment.
Have you ever been in the middle of a relaxing vacation and suddenly thought, “You know what we’re missing here? Molten lava!” If so, Mount Aso has you covered. If you’d like to stay closer to home, perhaps a nice hike through the Rocky Mountains in a charming little place called The Bells is the ticket. This little slice of paradise received its innocuous sounding nickname in 1965 when eight people died in five separate incidents.
The Bells are home to “downsloping, loose, rotten and unstable” rock that is known to “kill without warning.” Doesn’t that sound fun? But let’s be real: We are currently experiencing an unprecedented opportunity for adventure travel very close to home, and we have the Novel Coronavirus to thank.
ADVENTURE TRAVEL TO KROGER
Right not, leaving your house for any reason whatsoever is a dangerous adventure. Forget swimming with sharks in Australia; all you need to get your blood pumping is a trip to the grocery. Just the other day — somewhere between “It’s not that bad, is it?” and “WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE” — I braved our local Kroger. I thought I was ready. With my stash of Clorox wipes and a tiny hand sanitizer that’s been in my purse since the 90s, I felt prepared.
I was wrong. Because of the timing of the trip, my five-year-old son had to come with me. As we approached the door, he immediately started screeching like a wounded pterodactyl, “I WANT THE BLUE CAR! I WANT THE BLUE CAR, MOMMIE!” You parents out there feel sorry for me already, and you should. Because what my son wanted was one of those godforsaken, impossible-to-maneuver, germ-covered grocery carts with a plastic car the size of a Sherman Tank pushing out from the front. Out came the Clorox wipes. As I sat in front of the store, wiping down every square inch of this wheeled petri dish, a thought sprouted in my brain…perhaps, just perhaps, this was a bad idea.
THE LAST ORGANIC BUTTERNUT SQUASH
Once Cloroxed and ready to go, we walked three feet into the store and immediately realized we weren’t the only ones going on a panicky grocery run, not even close. That place was PACKED. People were already giving each other the side-eye, either because they were both reaching for the last organic butternut squash or they were coiled in tense springs, just waiting for someone to cough within six feet of their person.
I suddenly remembered I’d been having an allergy-induced cough since late December. My anxiety started to rise. I prayed silently that God would keep my throat from tickling for the remainder of the trip. God laughed. Five seconds later, I coughed into my elbow, but within 12-18 inches of the onions. So many sets of eyes snapped my direction with the look of shared mutiny that I had no choice but to flee. No onions for us today.
Next we visited the meat department, where a good friend works. I saw him putting things out and stopped to chat. As I perused options, he leaned closer (but not too close!) to me and his eyes darted to a large package of ground beef. “That’s the last ground beef in the store,” he whispered conspiratorially. I dove for it. Never mind that it wasn’t lean ground beef, or that the package was three times the amount we use. I was learning this was an eat-or-be-eaten world. I wasn’t going down without a fight, or — at the very least — a cheeseburger.
I WILL DEFEND MY CHILD WITH CHEEZ-ITS
Did I mention as we left the meat department that I coughed again? From the reaction of my fellow shoppers, I knew we were on borrowed time. I told myself I’d protect my son with my life if I had to. Little did I know, I was walking directly onto the most dangerous aisle of the store, or isle of the store more appropriately perhaps.
As I rummaged through my cart for possible weapons, I realized Cheez-Its were probably not going to help. But I felt confident I could take out at least two with the pineapple–if it came to that. I sped up. Some people like to bungee jump off the side of mountains. Others will throw themselves from an airplane, or hike through jungles surrounded by apex predators and poisonous snakes. They have nothing on me now, though. I survived…the toilet paper isle.
As if straight from a movie, everything happened in slow motion. Still available were a few small 4-packs of the super cheap stuff that will tear your sensitive parts up but good. But there — on the top shelf, shining like a beacon from heaven — was one 9-pack of Quilted Northern Mega Rolls. I locked eyes with a woman on the other end of the aisle. We both took off running. I’m ashamed to admit this, but I left my child behind. I couldn’t let that germy Sherman Tank cost us our bounty. I got there first. It took all of my self-control not to rip off my shirt and celebrate Brandy Chastain style in nothing but my bra. The joy I felt was comparable to my wedding day and the birth of my only child. I had done it. I had scaled my Kilimanjaro.
ONLY THE STAPLES: DORITOS AND ICE CREAM
We got the rest of our necessities (ice cream, Doritos, a Thomas the Train toy for the child… the usual survival supplies) and headed for check out. As we loaded our groceries, I patted myself on the back for my bravery in the face of danger, thinking maybe I’m not so vanilla after all. When all this is over, I will treat myself to a nice, relaxing, trip to the Gulf Shores or Orange Beach maybe.
But only after it’s been sanitized from Corona SpringBreakers 2020. I’m not that adventurous.