Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

5 Things I Missed Out on During the Covid-19 Lockdowns

And why I’m happy I did.

Ryan M. Raiker, MBA
Apr 12 · 5 min read

Coronavirus (COVID-19) has become the defining event of 2020. This past year was difficult for everyone, albeit harder for some than for others. I am extremely grateful I remained safe during 2020. Although I missed out on lots of activities and events I was looking forward to, I know I ultimately made the right decision in staying put.

So here are 5 things I’m upset about (but also glad) I missed out on in 2020 while making the smart decision to stay home.

1. Traveling abroad and spending time in a new city

I think it is fair to say we as humans love traveling. Whether that’s because of sightseeing, exploring an unknown destination, or meeting new people. Like many others, I am no different! I am a huge travel junkie. Prior to the Covid-19 lockdowns, I was frequently traveling globally. In 2019 alone, I visited the United Kingdom, Dubai UAE, Moscow Russia, Spain, Germany, Mexico, California, and Florida to name a few. Actually, I think the first I really heard about COVID was when the airport in the United Arab Emirates had a quarantine while I was departing.

My #1 disappointment from this past year was my inability to visit new cities. It was certainly disappointing not trying new things, visiting new places, and learning and exploring the world. I would’ve liked to have gone to Oktoberfest, the world’s largest Volksfest. It is held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany. It is a 16 to 18-day folk festival running from mid- or late September to the first Sunday in October, with more than six million people from around the world attending the event every year. It is a unique tradition and is an amazing event to try authentic Dutch foods, wines, and beer! visit local attractions, and enjoy the social scene. One benefit of being in lockdown is that I was able to do plenty of planning for my next traveling adventures. Aside from that I was even to settle down and stay put for a little while.

Some time with friends from the United Kingdom, Budapest, Russia, California, Pennsylvania, and Boston.

2. Making new friends in new places

One of the key parts of traveling for me is spending time with new people and developing friendships across the globe. I know everyone is missing their friends right now, but I am also missing out on the potential friends I would’ve made while traveling.

I think that is what I missed the most during the lockdown, actually meeting people, shaking hands, and giving hugs, enjoying a beverage and a laugh together.

A friend from the United Kingdom and I enjoying a cold beverage at the Waterfront Marina in Dubai, UAE.

3. Nightlife both at home and in different countries

When you’re my age and involved with various groups and communities, going out to bars, comedy clubs, live shows, networking events, and friend meetups is a large part of your life. When I’m traveling, I’ve been fortunate to experience different types of nightlife, meet people from different cultures, and learn more about entertainment others enjoy. You’d be surprised how vastly different we all socialize!

However, quarantine allowed me to use this time on personal projects, which was great for my personal development. I like to think what I accomplished was worth staying inside for a year.

4. Trying out exotic new foods and restaurant experiences

Part of being a chronic global traveler is being a foodie. You can’t go to different countries each month and revert to microwave meals. It should be a crime not to try famous local dishes and street food.

One benefit of not traveling is I’ve gotten a touch better at cooking. I can’t say I’m on par with a master chef or anything, but there’s been an improvement. I still make a mean macaroni and cheese — right from the ‘Kraft Box.’

Christmas gift unwrapping over Zoom.

5. Visiting and seeing family members

My family is spread out like most families are. Although I spend much of my time working and traveling, I like to visit home and gather with family and friends. With the Covid-19 pandemic, I haven’t been with family as much as I would like.

I think family is critically important in life. I make time to see my loved ones and appreciate Sunday dinner.

The Covid-19 pandemic made getting everyone together much more difficult.

Although traveling globally is exciting and something I always look forward to, I am pleased with my decision to stay home during the Covid-19 lockdowns. I had plenty of time to focus on myself and my goals closer to home than I would have had if I were traveling between countries, and working across borders.

An old friend and I demoing my bathroom that was built in 1954.

I finally managed to complete some home remodeling that had been on my mind for what seems like forever. This included a new bathroom, vinyl flooring in the home office, a new closet in the extra bedroom, a fence, and more, but they’re not all finished yet.

Overall, I think I spent a lot of time standing still — reflecting, thinking, and working on myself professionally and mentally. I focused on just being content without the constant need to be on the go.

I became familiar with how to entertain myself without a constant stream of events, gatherings of friends, new people, and family members.

Perhaps most importantly, I did not get sick. I didn’t get others sick, and I made progress on my home, my life, and my career. I did my part to keep others safe and I do not regret it. So, cheers to getting vaccinated and staying happy and healthy in 2021 and beyond!


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Ryan M. Raiker, MBA

Written by

Former SME & GOV consultant. Process Expert | Marketing Director, ABBYY | Digital Guy | Adjunct Professor and Learner - Tweet me @ryraiker


Outstanding stories objectively and diligently selected by 40+ senior editors on ILLUMINATION

Ryan M. Raiker, MBA

Written by

Former SME & GOV consultant. Process Expert | Marketing Director, ABBYY | Digital Guy | Adjunct Professor and Learner - Tweet me @ryraiker


Outstanding stories objectively and diligently selected by 40+ senior editors on ILLUMINATION

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