Weighing Our Options

Florida this winter? Or, more broadly speaking, any form of non-essential travel this year? Or next? Or, for that matter, will life return to normal anytime soon in Canada?

Our Prime Minister provided this optimistic and encouraging perspective yesterday:

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says that “normal” is a “long way off” for all Canadians — and that some differences implemented as a result of lessons learned during this pandemic will last for “years.”

“If we want life to get back to the way it was exactly before, it won’t,” Trudeau said, speaking to reporters from the front steps of Rideau Cottage on Monday.

You can watch his response here.

My financial adviser gave me his perspective:

Few aspects of life have escaped change. Civil liberties, for example, have been slashed. So far most people are willing to trade unemployment, inconvenience, long hair, huge deficits, closed borders, self-anointed cops and draconian rules for what they’ve been told is a reprieve from death-by-virus. Politics are being altered. Trudeau’s approval rate has soared. Trump’s is faltering. Public finances may be changed for a generation or more. Your child’s child will still be paying COVID-19 taxes. Airplanes won’t be fun anymore. Mass events are done. Packed bars and open-concept offices may be a year away. Or more.

I love this closing quote from War of the Worlds:

From the moment the invaders arrived, breathed our air, ate and drank, they were doomed. They were undone, destroyed, after all of man’s weapons and devices had failed, by the tiniest creatures that God in his wisdom put upon this earth. By the toll of a billion deaths, man had earned his immunity, his right to survive among this planet’s infinite organisms. And that right is ours against all challenges.

Except, possibly, the COVID-19 challenge.

Fear of death is a potent fear.

Lorraine and I face a decision. One that we will have to make over the next few months.

Our options:

1. Keep going. Everything will be back to normal in a few months.

With this option we are free to travel in our motorcoach and we can return to Florida as planned in early November. Possible? Perhaps not. Canada may well continue to restrict our civil liberties and we might be unable to travel freely into the United States this fall. I put our chances of being back to Florida this winter at 50/50.

2. Store the coach and rent for the foreseeable future.

Make arrangements to find a rental property somewhere in the area, put the coach in storage, and ride things out for a year. Ideally we would prefer to rent from October to May so that we could return to our coach and to our site in Canada next year. I’m not sure if that option would even be possible and I am not very keen on committing to a 12-month rental term and I am definitely not keen on being in this part of Canada during the winter months.

3. Go west and spend the winter on Vancouver Island

It might be cooler on Vancouver Island than Florida during the winter months however it would be downright balmy compared to an Ontario winter. Would we be able to travel freely in Canada? It might surprise some to discover that 8 provinces and territories in Canada have implemented border checkpoints and travel restrictions. We have a mobility rights provision under our Charter. Provincial governments are violating our constitutional rights to travel freely in the country and the only recourse would be to challenge their actions in court. That won’t happen anytime soon. We might well be turned back at any one of the provincial borders if we tried to travel west.

4. Sell the coach and buy a house.

This is not an option that we would willingly pursue.

We did not anticipate these types of issues as Canadian snowbirds travelling full-time in our motorhome. We assumed that we would continue to have mobility rights in Canada and an accessible border with the United States.

Wrong on both counts.

On Friday we move our coach to our site for the next six months. I am looking forward to being at home for the next few months.

As of now, I have no idea where we will be in November. I find that uncertainty to be a tiny bit stressful.

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