My Travel Life Before Covid-19: A 12-Month Snapshot

Stephen L M Heiner
11 min readNov 9, 2021
Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

I know it wasn’t that long ago that we were told it was going to be two weeks to flatten the curve, and perhaps the more pessimistic thought it would be two months, but I can’t imagine anyone speculating it would be two years before travel resumed as it was before March 2020. But here we are, not too long from March 2022, and there’s no indication that things will be too much different then from how they are now: countries in various stages of border closure, with numerous tests/proofs required to visit, and more proofs/test required once inside a country, regardless of “vaccination” status.

I had no idea that March 2019-February 2020 would represent one of the busiest travel periods of my life in the last decade, but for whatever reason, it was. That life is over, and I have no regrets because I never took it for granted. But I thought it would be useful to see how very different the rhythms of my life were when I was traveling almost every month of the year.

March 2019

A fairly busy month in Paris. I had just recently returned from one of the greatest trips of my life, a month in New Zealand. I needed some time to rest and get back into the swing of things. That said, I did manage to get up to Epernay for the first time in order to taste some Dom Perignon and hear the story of how this Benedictine monk helped create the drink the region is known for today.

I like champagne and have friends who do as well so I’ve managed to get to nearby Rheims half a dozen times but it was my first time to Epernay, about 20 minutes away by local train, and I found it to be a wonderful respite. Yes, there are definitely still tourists there but it’s much more of a small town than Rheims and as such is calmer and more peaceful. Of course, Rheims has the cathedral in which all the kings of France were crowned and has a Joan of Arc connection, so you shouldn’t go to Epernay and skip out on Rheims, rather I’m suggesting you don’t skip Epernay if you happen to be in Rheims too. You won’t regret it.

April 2019

I popped over to Frankfurt for a couple days to meet a friend I hadn’t seen in a while. I ended up really liking the city.



Stephen L M Heiner

Singaporean-born American in Paris. I connect, educate, and build, AMDG. Follow my adventures at