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United or Not Here We Come, Glasgow!

PRC Covid-19 testing in Carbondale, Colorado in preparation for travel

Last evening my first of many covid tests results came in negative. I packed my limited luggage (traveling light) with snacks and extra immunity boosters. I downloaded one more smartphone app for Scottish contact tracing. I have lost count how many apps I have added to my phone for this trip. I double checked that I have my official delegate letter from the United Nations. And I read the article James at the Sopris Sun so kindly crafted about my adventure. This is really happening. I am going to COP26.

Waiting for RFTA bus in Basalt, Colorado

Walking from my small condo in Basalt, Colorado to the bus stop to ride RFTA bus rapid transit to Glenwood Springs and then catch the state operated Bustang bus to Denver, it was still very dark. So dark the stars were so bright they were absolutely incredible. When gazing at the stars I begin to name the constellations I have known for years. There is a familiarity that is comforting. There is also an basic understanding of just how far the light travels for me to be able to actually see the star, which offers an invitation to an expansive universe, a universe that we all belong in. Traveling to a large city in the United Kingdom the light pollution may be so bright I will not be able to see the stars, yet being in the northern hemisphere I know the same stars will be there above us. Though thousands of miles apart we are more connected than we sometimes remember.

This morning is the beginning of a seven leg trip on public transportation from my small town all the way across the big pond to Scotland (arriving on Sunday evening, Oct 31). I have not taken public transit since before the pandemic when it was a regular occurrence for me. With my N95 mask and being fully vaccinated I think the risks of travel to the world meeting that is our last best bet for curbing the causes climate change is worth it. And to be able to ride public transit is fantastic.

Boarding Bustang in Glenwood Springs, Colorado

The complexity of traveling to a world-wide conference during a global pandemic is no small thing. I keep wondering how one would do it if they did not own or feel comfortable using a smartphone. It feels like my entire existence and participation in COP26 is based on the numerous apps and necessary passwords on my phone. At times it feels surprising they are not requiring us to wear a pit tag on our wrists. Between United airlines requirements, United Kingdom regulations and the passenger locator form, and United Nations letters, testing, bar codes, and apps… its curious how united this adventure will be, in addition to how united we really are as a world wide community to commit to rapid systemic actions that will unite us to take care of our common home.

Follow Sarah’s COP26 experience at


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