By Lani Tunzi
When the Covid-19 preventative protocols were put in place in Los Angeles County, I, like many other people, found an escape in exercise and the outdoors — surfing, biking, roller skating, even distance running for the first time in my life. I had come to rely on these healthy outlets – and then ash from the Bobcat Fire began falling on our neighborhood streets.
Though I was fortunate not to have to evacuate, it was hard not to feel a sense of doom staring up at the dark red sun and smoky sky. I’m already starting my first year of college through a computer screen and now I can’t even go in my backyard without wheezing?
On September 11, when it became apparent that it was going to be a number of weeks until the wildfires were contained, I and five friends hit the road.
With not much of a plan, we drove 15 hours into Colorado. For the next 17 days, we drove, taking in not only Colorado, but New Mexico, Utah, Arizona and Nevada. We got home on September 28.
It was a scenic road trip that was immensely healing for my lungs and anxieties alike. I’ve seen very little of the United States and knocking out five states I’d never been to inspired more enjoyment than I’ve felt in a while.
The trip also made me realize that distance learning and working from home may have more benefits than I had recognized. There’s some merit in being able to make a sandwich during a lecture or learn math from the comfort of your own bed. Of course, missing out on the traditional college experience is a bummer, but being able to get an education while 900 miles away from campus, in clean air and with great views, is a blessing I am exceedingly grateful for.
Lani Tunzi, Class of 2020 at Eagle Rock High, graduated in June.
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