Radio Essay: What it's like to travel internationally during a pandemic

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This radio essay shows off a conversational yet poignant delivery style. It was written, produced and edited by me.

Vocal Characteristics



Voice Age

Young Adult (18-35)


North American (General)


Note: Transcripts are generated using speech recognition software and may contain errors.
I knew this trip would be different. I didn't know it would be scary. Upon arrival, the Berlin airport looked deserted. The normally crowded drop off lanes were empty. I naively thought This will be a breeze. I don my mask, which would stay in place for most of the next 24 hours. When I got to the right terminal, I realized the two hours I've given myself to check in and board would not suffice. There were hundreds of people lined up just to get inside the airport. Security was limiting the number of people allowed inside. Everyone was masked. Physically. Distancing was impossible. I had two hours to push my way to the front, check in and get through security. I hadn't been allowed to check in online or pay for my baggage because I was traveling internationally. While Germany remained under a worldwide travel ban, getting on that flight required, skipping to the front of a series of long wait lines and sprinting through the airport before arriving. Dripping with sweat and exhausted on the first of my three flights that day, I walked onto the plane and found my seat at the back, squeezed into a row with a couple of teenage boys. The flight domestic headed for Frankfurt was full. Every single seat occupied. We ask you to wear a face mask that covers your mouth and nose at all times during a stay on board. This measure provides additional protection for all of us on board, please. Where your face mask during the entire flight. You may, of course, take it off when you're eating and drinking sardines on a flying infection incubator. No temperatures were taken. No questionnaire administered. A small pack of disinfecting wipes was handed to me As I boarded. I wipe down my seat and strapped in, sweating under the mask. I was short of time. Transferring in Frankfurt hurried through question list. Customs and speed walked my way to the gate. The airport, one of Europe's main hubs, had shuttered its restaurants and shops. Only a few retailers offered drinks since next to go. I had hoped to eat in the airport to avoid having to remove my mask on the flight. That plan was disintegrating. I found my gate. At least half of my fellow passengers were fully gowned and masked, wearing face shields and gloves. I took my place in a long spaced outline of passengers waiting to get our temperatures checked. I got the all clear and made my way on board and found a bit of luck Exit row all to myself. This international flight was a completely different experience to the crowded domestic one I had just taken. We're also taking extra precautions to ensure no middle seats were occupied and most rose had just one passenger. Flight attendants wore masks, face shields or safety goggles, gloves and gowns. It strikes me that these safety measures were anything but reassuring. The flight felt like swimming in a pool with invisible sharks or maybe no sharks at all. But you have no way of knowing For the umpteenth time. I questioned the decision to fly. I reminded myself that I had taken every precaution. I stayed home during locked down. I kept my circle small, but the hundreds of strangers on board with me for almost nine hours, locked into a metal tube of circulated air. Well, they've blown that circle up. I expected this experience to be different. A series of hoops through which toe launch myself an obstacle course of documents to prepare and doggedly wiping down seats with disinfectant, temperature checks and distancing. I didn't expect it to be scary for the Boogey Man to be people, all of them masked, gloved and gowned and staring at me the same way, like I'm the disease below me. Canada appeared in a patchwork of fields and lakes. Toronto Pearson was empty. My guess is there were more security officials than travelers. I filled out a form where I'm coming from Where I'm going addresses dates. Customs was rigorous. Final leg. Just a dozen or so other passengers, all flying into 14 days of isolation. Like me, agents questioned each of us are detailed plans for quarantine how we would get their contact numbers addresses. They asked detailed questions about my health. And this this part of my 24 hour journey over the Atlantic, this landing on home soil to be greeted by Islanders dedicated to protecting us All this made me feel safe