WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, N.J. - Traveling can be tough, especially with a lot of family tucked into an RV. But, 8,500 miles and 23 states only made this family grow stronger.
They wanted to be able to live their lives and not have the coronavirus impede their journey.
“Right around my birthday on March 16 the schools shut down in our township,” said Nirav Patel.
Patel and his family were impacted just as everyone else was – kids out of school, businesses closing. But, that pales in comparison to the personal impact on Patel and his family when his mother became infected while living in a nursing home.
“We got a call that she tested positive and she was admitted to JFK Hospital. Right after she went on a ventilator and in about two months, she passed away, in May,” Patel explained.
Virtual isolation was weighing on him and on his family. They wanted to do something extreme, but also something to help the country, because that matters deeply to Nirav.
“I wanted to take my kids and my family and go on the road trip to support other businesses that are struggling and are open right now, to give the message that we are here to support America,” Patel commented.
They invested in an RV, hit the road on a journey of self-awareness and economic support.
“We traveled 8,500 miles in 23 states in about 30 days,” Patel remarked.
They went to Houston to bring his mother’s ashes to his sister. Then they traveled to some of the most beautiful and symbolic sights across the country, being safe and supporting the economy.
“Respecting the coronavirus and keeping the CDC guidelines, we still did what we can do as American citizens can do to support one another,” Patel added.
So, why is he telling their story? First, to share their experience with what has become a national debate.
“Traveling without a mask, you might be infecting yourself or somebody else, but if you’re not traveling, you’re hurting the economy,” Patel said.
Second, he wanted to offer encouragement to so many wondering what’s next in this seemingly never-ending new normal.
“I kind of wanted to take my family and support all of the small businesses that we gave money to and I feel like we came back and made a difference,” Patel added.
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