“Book Review: Running from COVID in Our RV Cocoon”
Reviewed by Jaylynn Korrell
An RV trip turns into an anxiety-driven escape story in Running from COVID in Our RV Cocoon
Gerri Almand does it again.
Almand’s last book, Home Is Where the RV Is, turned out to be one of my favorite books of 2020. It’s a lovable story about Almand finding home on the open road, and it features plenty of sweet travel stories, interesting new friends, and the occasional argument with her husband Michael.
But this latest installment has a new component: the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
When Gerri and Michael take off in February, he is ready to sell their home in Florida to embrace a full-time RV life; she is a bit more hesitant. And readers’ minds are spinning with dramatic irony—what in the world are they going to do when quarantine hits?
Almand tells this story with a familiar wit and an open mind. She’s come such a long way since being the reluctant RV wife, so it’s invigorating to read of her willingness to consider the concept of selling their home to live on the road.
But when the adventurous duo starts their maiden voyage in their new RV, they don’t know it’s about to be a trip they will never return from.
“Openness.” This is the word I use to best describe Almand in her RV books. This story is filled with stressful situations that, if it weren’t for Almand’s practiced mindset, would turn quickly into a “this is the end” type of situation. But even when she gets close to calling it, she always finds a way to remain open or to work hard enough to return to openness.
Have I ever met Gerri Almand? Unfortunately not. But her writing, and her honest narration of her travels and anxieties, makes it feel like I have—and that I am better for it. She isn’t always in the right, she and her husband often bicker, and bad things come up on their trip running from COVID-19.
Still, I finished this book an even bigger fan of hers than I already was. And that’s saying something.
Like most conversations you have with people during this time, COVID-19 turns into the main subject of this story. I felt both intense anxiety and true understanding as I was taken back to a time where even less was known about this pandemic. Her initial reactions and thoughts are like echoes of our former selves. She doesn’t attempt to hold back from the emotions that come from trying to navigate these strange times, especially when it comes to mental health.
Without pouring out her feelings, readers will notice familiar displays of anxiety just through her interactions with the people around her. For Almand, it’s worrying that her RV neighbors are congregating too often, that the grocery store clerk isn’t wearing a mask, and dealing with the heaviness of having to cancel important gatherings with friends and family. It’s also shown through a newfound impulse to shop online, and a tempting urge to drink a little more than usual. But hey, haven’t we all? Concerning all of these new anxieties, these new tendencies, these new lives, RV Cocoon proves to be a great marker of the times.
Almand manages to keep us moving during the dullest of quarantine restrictions. A senior and all-around thoughtful human, Almand is always serious about safety protocols, so as a reader, we also don’t have to worry that she’s doing things she shouldn’t be. And because of this, we get to enjoy her fun and unique travel experiences from the Rio Grande to the wide-open world of a nudist RV park and beyond. Trust me: it’s well worth the trip.
Publisher: Sunbury Press
Genre: Nonfiction / Travel
Print Length: 242 pages
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