Road Trips and Reconnecting: What You’re Looking Forward to This Summer

My irrepressible, funny granddaughter is coming to stay for two weeks and we will visit the zoo, the aquarium, several museums and the local plunge pool. We’ll mask up and avoid restaurants, but having adventures together after a year of isolation will bring some excitement back to our lives. — Betty Smith, Vermillion, S.D.

I can’t wait to throw a real party, a bash, a cocktail party, a party with a theme or costumes! I can’t wait to say, “Sure, bring a friend!” But we’re not ready for that yet. We did throw a very small dinner party for a few fully vaccinated friends. I felt like I couldn’t remember how to dress up. I put a cashmere sweater over the sweatpants I wear daily — I split the difference! — Heather La Riviere, Chicago

I’m looking forward to meeting my new baby niece for the first time. I didn’t get to be with my sister at all during her pregnancy since we live on opposite sides of the country and she got pregnant in August 2020. — Chloe Nagle, Colorado Springs

Our 3-year-old cannot wait to swim once again in my aunt and uncle’s pool with all her cousins. And I will cry tears of joy once the border between Canada and the United States reopens and we can see my dad and brother who both live in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. — B. Reusch Serapio, Oshawa, Ontario

Road tripping to see my parents and brothers (most of whom I haven’t hugged in nearly two years), getting back to singing in choir and finding more time to ride a real bicycle. — Jen Milius, Portland, Ore.

On March 11, 2020, my friends Kelly and Nicole and I decided to hold off on meeting for drinks that Friday — “Seems risky,” Kelly said. As of this coming Monday we will all reach full immunity and we will finally meet for drinks. The last thing I canceled then is the first thing I’m doing now! — Kate Premo, Montclair, N.J.

What I am truly looking forward to this summer, if all goes well, is in-person summer camp for my children. The pandemic and lockdowns have been hard on all of us, but keeping children at home for so long has been very hard for them and moms. I wouldn’t want to go as far as a concert or a party. But I would love to have my children explore and interact with other children. They miss it and I miss having time and space to do anything other than try (and fail) to distract them. — Lina Garcia De la Ossa, Miami Beach, Fla.

The need to reconnect now feels urgent. I am craving face-to-face, meaningful interactions with people outside our immediate family circle and our dog and cat, who have been elevated to almost human level during the pandemic. I took entertaining for granted before, often looking at it as something I had to plan for. It meant we didn’t entertain often. Now I want to fling open the doors and have our home filled with the friends and family we have missed. It doesn’t matter if we eat on a china plate or a paper plate or have a home-cooked meal or a pizza. — Sally Mathew, Birmingham, Ala.

I am looking forward to wearing lipstick this summer. Not a light color that matches your gums, but a real stains-the-napkin-at-lunch bright coral. Something that isn’t going back behind a mask. That is when I will know we have moved on. — Becky Schaeffer, Atlanta

I am attending a small, masked, distanced outdoor concert in Santa Cruz, Calif., a big step toward the new normal. I’m going with my concert buddy girlfriend, who was my companion at the last show I attended in January 2020. — Mara J. Wildfeuer, Mountain View, Calif.

My friends and I have been meeting together every summer and planning a trip for the past 11 years or so. Last year was tough not seeing them. This year we’re going on a canoe trip together and I can’t wait. We’re all vaccinated, have been diligent and safe throughout the pandemic, and we’re excited to have a moment of normalcy together out in the woods. There are things I’m not quite ready to do (eat inside being one) but more and more, as vaccination rates go up, I’ve started to feel moments of regularity that have shined through. It’s a vaxxed-up summer! — Jared Smith, Boston

Traveling to Capri and Positano for a wedding in September. — Mary Bairstow, Atlanta

I’m looking forward to being spontaneous! Living in the moment with no reservations. — Robin Berman, Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.

I’m looking forward to sitting in a park and feeling content with where I’m at with the world. I’m looking forward to smelling fresh cut grass without a mask. Listening to birds sing on branches above me. Watching the way the sun looks as it peeks behind the distant clouds. I’m looking forward to focusing on these pleasant sensory details and nothing else. I’ve waited a long time to move to New York and the pandemic pushed it back another year. But last week, I took a plane and then a train and then a cab. And now I’m standing in a shower that’s too small. I’m cooking in a kitchen that’s too crowded. I’m lugging bags of groceries up five flights of stairs. And I love it. — Samuel Eaton, New York

I’m most looking forward to the usual summer of backyard grilling with family, friends and neighbors unencumbered by masks, constant sanitizer wiping, bringing one’s own plates and cutlery and the awkwardness of asking if it’s OK to use the bathroom. To greet guests with hugs, share the same bottle of wine and literally break bread together. — Christina Tunnah, Berkeley, Calif.

I look forward to the return of Parkrun USA. It is not just a free weekly timed 5K, it is the most supportive and encouraging group of runners (and walkers) I’ve ever been associated with. I miss the community! — Tricia Jones, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Road trips by myself. There is nothing I like as much as the open highway and freedom to stop anywhere interesting. Getting lost is just an added adventure. — Patty deVille, Tempe, Ariz.

I am looking forward to surfing as much as I can. Summer means thinner wet suits, warmer waters, more sunlight and mellower waves. I started surfing in the thick of the pandemic but being vaccinated and knowing my fellow surfers in the water are as well means more relaxed and welcoming vibes. — Jean Kim, Los Angeles

At 63, I plan on seeing as much live music as possible! Before the pandemic, this wasn’t important to me — now it is; life is short, but music is everywhere. — Sue Leach, Yarmouth, Mass.

River rafting on the South Fork of the American River, plus two nights camping in a tent on the river’s edge. I’m just so happy to get out of my apartment for a couple of nights. I love my little studio on a quiet, dead end street — but after spending 22 hours a day inside for over a year, I’m longing to see the night sky and a lot of trees, and to be in nature. — Marjorie Pryor, San Francisco

I’m looking forward to a reunion in my home state of Nebraska with many of my 20-plus cousins on my dad’s side of the family. Last November our last remaining uncle (out of a family of nine siblings) died of Covid at the age of 87. Because of the pandemic most of us were not able to attend the funeral but vowed to meet up for a reunion over July 4 this summer. I just retired from the State Department and haven’t seen most of them in more than 10 years so I am excited to see everyone again! — Gwen Bedient, Carmichael, Calif.

I’m most excited about nightlife in L.A. returning with a bang. I miss a martini (or two) at Sunset Tower or the Sunset Marquis, watching (and tipping) the amazing performers at Jumbo’s Clown Room, and a night of dancing at A Club Called Rhonda or underneath the disco ball ceiling at the WeHo Edition. So many people are talking about a New Roaring Twenties kicking off this summer and I am definitely ready. I would also love for my name to go back to its association with a beloved beer instead of a lethal pandemic. — Victor P. Corona, Los Angeles

My husband and I live in California with our two kids. But I grew up in New Jersey and my dad and brothers and their families are still there. I haven’t seen most of them since March 2020. They haven’t seen my kids since Christmas 2019. We are going to drive across the country this summer to spend a month at the Jersey Shore, like I did as a kid. I am looking forward to the kids spending long days in the sand with their cousins, digging holes and giggling over melting ice cream cones, wasting hours and money in the arcade, riding roller coasters at sunset and eating french fries for dinner. I am looking forward to grilling dinners on my dad’s patio, to cocktails in water bottles smuggled onto the beach, to not spending hours in the car driving around Los Angeles on a schedule predetermined by child care and commutes to jobs. — Lauren Martino, Los Angeles

Going without a mask. Taking in a movie that isn’t on my television. Getting together with friends and families and not being worried about it. Knowing that I will not make someone else ill. Enjoying life once again. — Shirley Shanley, Harstine Island, Wash.

I’m reminded of a scene from the film “Doctor Zhivago.” Strelnikov, the Bolshevik military commander, asks a captured Zhivago what he wants out of life. Zhivago replies, “To live.” — Tom Sullivan, San Clemente, Calif.

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