Mamma Mia and Traveling Again

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Mamma Mia and Traveling Again

Update on travel from a personal point of view. I have taken two road trips recently.  The mask, the caution and the distancing took its toll. Rather than feeling work free, there was trepidation. Once on the road, fear began to disappear- slowly at first. The first restaurant dinner served distanced outdoors was a miracle meal.  Darkening the atmosphere, of course, was the sad and sorrowful time being experienced by others.

These two pandemic vacation experiences brought back to a memory.  There had been another shattering national situation followed by travel.  The memory was going to see Mamma Mia at the Prince Edward Theater, London, end October 2001. Why would the memory of a British play connect to this pandemic, vast unemployment, and hungry families?

Here is why:

9/11 was a terrifying shock to most Americans. Lives were lost in the most horrifying way. Trust in national safety was broken. Video was censored in the US to eliminate photos of people jumping from the Twin Towers. It was not censored overseas; so scraps were shown from time to time in London. Everyone knew someone who knew someone who knew someone, who died or lost family or workmates. New Yorkers were catatonic.  Today if you visit the 9/11 Memorial (our groups to New York do), you still get a lump in your throat, you still cry.

London is my second home.  Since 1970, I have lived all or part time in Chelsea or Holland Park; therefore, our company through me, has special relationships in Britain.  A month after 9/11, The Women’s Travel Group operated a 7-night London trip.  Security at the airport was extreme. The stern atmosphere was our first experience with such severity.  Fellow flyers eyed each other suspiciously. Passengers tried to identify the government security staff we knew were near the cockpit. Crew was dead serious, no standing near the lavatories or near the front of the plane. A new lock was on the cockpit door; pilots were tense when they exited to use the bathroom. 30 minutes from London, passengers were required to stay seated.

After a few days of touring and sharing, the group attended a historic West End theater to see the musical, Mamma Mia.  The play is full of jukebox music, catchy silly happy stories, and energetic dancing. At the conclusion, the usually reserved British audience, stood up and started dancing and singing in the aisles. I found myself crying. Why? It was the first time I allowed myself to enjoy an experience, tension-free. This release will happen to you when you take your next trip. It be sparked by a child, a flowerbed, a concert, a meal. Something will trigger your relief to tell you, it is time to stop worrying. It is fine to enjoy again.

Your mask, your distancing, your fear of airplane air, and travel closeness might evolve and change like mine did in London.  We know from the history of travel after 9/11, AIDS, Hong Kong Flu, SARS, and others, that we will travel again. We will cry with relief once we allow ourselves to move on. Regain trust, and regain your travel thrills, your travel pals, and make new travel memories.

Follow the authorities as they learn and share their advice.  Here are some links to look at for current science-based information.

Physicians Practice

Johns Hopkins

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  • Phyllis Stoller

    Phyllis Stoller has a BA from Tufts University, an MA from New York University and a Finance Degree from the University of the South Bank, London England. Phyllis founded the leading tour operator for women's travels in North America. After selling her company in 2006, Phyllis started a new company for women: The Womens Travel Group which she defines as Smart Tours for Women. She was voted top in women’s travel by Travel & Leisure Magazine,the first to receive this honor. Phyllis has appeared on The Today Show, CNN, Lifetime TV for Women and others. Phyllis now resides in New York and London For more information: or to join a trip this year: Phyllis Stoller Visit her web site: Follow her on Facebook: on Facebook at /toursforwomen For more information: or to join a trip this year:

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