Ian RuderDriving to the cover shoot for this issue, it struck me that the relatively-short, 45-minute drive to the location was the farthest I’d been from home since the start of the pandemic. In 12 months, I hadn’t ventured more than 50 miles.

This shouldn’t have been, and wasn’t, surprising. I made the choice to quarantine, cancel travel plans and isolate from friends in hopes of curtailing the impact of COVID-19. It didn’t take a genius to figure out one of the outcomes of those choices would be a lack of exciting adventures.

Still, as I watched the cars go by on the freeway, I felt like I’d followed all the road signs to go somewhere I was excited about only to end up somewhere else. Instead of being overjoyed about at least a partial return to normalcy with vaccines and declining infection rates, my new looming freedom left me confused.

I realized that 12 months of staying mostly at home, avoiding friends like the plague and worshipping at the altar of Zoom had changed me in ways I hadn’t expected.

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