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Escape from 2020

Six tales of road tripping, camping, staycationing, and eating during the summer that wasn’t

Get me out. Now. Like, right now. I’ve got to leave. Lace up my boots, buckle up, and go — anywhere, everywhere, just away. Fill my eyes with empty horizons, my ears with lapping waves and crackling fires, my belly with the fresh-caught, flash-fried, smoke-charred, coconut-tinged taste of vacation.

After months of sheltering ourselves from the pandemic-ravaged world outside — of enduring isolation, boredom, deaths, illness, job losses, police violence, and retaliation against cries for racial justice in the streets — escape became a universal craving, even if our access to it was not. Travel has always been a privilege, but this summer the very act of “being elsewhere” was especially elusive. Those of us who could get away did, by whatever means necessary. We hit the road, pitched tents, booked cabins, and inflated kiddie pools in our backyards to submerge our consciousness.

Here, six writers document their personal quests to find (and eat their way through) some semblance of summer vacation during the year that challenged everything — our imaginations, our incomes, our cooking skills, our very lives.

Their food-filled accounts bear little resemblance to the outdated Griswoldian ideal of Great American Travel we’ve been taught to mythologize, but hopefully they provide a small slice of the summertime escape we all deserve.

Editorial lead: Lesley Suter
Art director: Brittany Holloway-Brown
Contributors: Wei Tchou, Jenny G. Zhang, Alanna Bennett, Carmen Maria Machado, Vanessa Bowen, Clio Chang
Editors: Erin DeJesus, Monica Burton, Rebecca Flint Marx
Copy editors: Rachel P. Kreiter, Emma Alpern
Engagement: Adam Moussa, Milly McGuinness
Project manager: Ellie Krupnick
Special thanks to Nicholas Mancall-Bitel, Matt Buchanan, and Amanda Kludt

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