Up till now, everyone I’ve interviewed for Friendly Footprints talked to me about travel before COVID-19. Today, Fred talks to me about a stunning trip to Montana during the pandemic.
You’re the first person I’ve spoken to for this series who traveled during the pandemic. How did you decide on Montana as a destination + how much did the pandemic affect your time there?
I had always been interested in checking out the Northern United States ever since my mind was opened after visiting Anchorage, Alaska for the first time. Also, the curious cat in me just wanted to venture into a world many like me hadn’t been to in order to check if it’s ok for Us.
As for the pandemic’s effect on me, it prolonged my decision to make the trip. I was actually invited all the way in April, but only made the decision to visit in August. After making the decision, I felt an immense amount of guilt — I felt like I was letting everyone down. I even decided not to post anything on social media while out there for fear of being judged, but I quickly threw that out the window once I saw the mountain range while descending into the FKA airport.
Did you travel solo or with people?
Solo, but I stayed with close friends of mine who own a lovely home out there
Describe your experience to me in one word: Revealing
Did you have any preconceived notions about Montana before visiting + how did they change once you got there?
I did have a few — some of them changed, some, not so much. The lack of racial diversity was just as I expected, but surprisingly, in conversations with locals (who were so nice to me, I must add), they all expressed how surprised they are about the lack of diversity because of how special a place they believe the state is. Someone may have even offered me land just so I have a reason to come back.
What did you do for the first time in Montana?
I love this question! I pet some deer, slept in a cabin for a night in Glacier National Park, ATVd up and down hills, drove a boat for several hours, and much more, but these are much more civil haha!
What were your favorite things to eat, see and do?
I ate Bison burgers like they were going out of style, watching the sun rise and set daily from my friend’s backyard was such a daily gift — irreplaceable. I loved meeting friend’s of friends, they were so welcome and were from such interesting walks of life career wise.
I think there are few travels without embarrassing or cringe-worthy moments, do you have any from Montana that you’d like to share?
A mouse got into my bag of chips in the cabin I spent the night in, I played catch with a dog for the first time, and I almost posted a photo of a house with a flag I wasn’t familiar with until I decided it’d be a great idea to Google it — it turned out to be a Blue Lives Matter flag (I didn’t even know that was a thing).
If you had to convince someone to visit Montana, what would you tell them?
Try to ignore the guaranteed jokes coming your way from friends and maybe even family if you’re a person of color and prepare to be amazed. Every angle of the state is picturesque and I didn’t see a single building taller than three stories so there are no obstructions — let that sink in, but beware of bears.
What did you learn from traveling during the pandemic + how likely are you to travel again in the near future?
I learned that for better or worse, a lot of people are doing what they want and taking advantage of their new flexible work situations. And I already traveled again; this Houston resident is currently making some new footprints and writing to you from LA.
Thank you Fred, for sharing with me and all of my readers. I hope you don’t ever have to find a mouse in your bag of chips again! If you would like to follow along with Fred’s travels and travel photography, you can check out his personal IG page and his photography page.
I’ve traveled twice during the pandemic, once in May and again this November. What I’ve noticed is that people are much more relaxed (to my discomfort), and airports are far from empty. I think in the near future, I’m more inclined to make the type of trip Fred did, with a lot of time spent outdoors. How beautiful are these scenes?
Have you traveled during the pandemic? What have your experiences been like? Let’s talk in the comments.
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thank you for reading.
Same Footprints, Different Sands