“Let me be clear. If you are abroad, it is time for you to come home.” — Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada.
Text messages and emails came to me in abundance yesterday highlighting this particular phrase along with the encouragement for us to follow the government’s clear message.
There was a bit more to Trudeau’s announcement. The full context:
I want to remind all Canadians that they should avoid non-essential travel outside of our country until further notice. Canadian travellers should return to Canada via commercial means while it is still possible to do so. Let me be clear. If you are abroad, it is time for you to come home.
Not wishing to be overly dogmatic, but this is how I interpret being abroad: travelling on vacation to a destination overseas, rather than to a neighbouring country.
With commercial travel in disarray, Canadian travellers that require a commercial means to return home – typically via civil aviation – should return home as soon as possible as they may become stranded.
We are not overseas. We are in the United States. A neighbouring country. In a large diesel pusher. Within a two-day drive to the border.
We are practicing social distancing. We are covered by our third-party health insurance. As long as the land border between Canada and the United States remains open for Canadian travellers to return home, we won’t be making a mad dash to cross into Canada.
Travelling in our coach requires some planning and preparation. It is not as simple as turning the key and heading north. Driving through the snow belt states could be hazardous at this time of year. Finding temporary accommodation in Canada until our site opens on May 1st would be difficult on such short notice.
We will closely monitor the situation and, if the Canada/U.S. land border closes to non-essential travellers, we would return immediately.
We may begin our journey north sooner than we planned to position ourselves closer to the border. And we are readying our coach for a quick departure if required.
For now, we will take it one day at a time.