An Andover woman who traveled to Guatemala for a writing workshop found a way home in the in the midst of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Saleha Walsh of Andover was trapped with two workshop colleagues at La Aurora International Airport in Guatemala City as they tried to find a flight home Monday morning.

As concerns of the spread of COVID-19 ramped up both stateside and abroad, Walsh's three children — who live on the North Shore, in Newburyport, and in Boston — begged her to come home.

"They were insistent that I leave so there was a lot of debate and angst and all of that of what we should do," she explained. "There weren't any flights so we decided to wait it out."

As of 4:40 Monday afternoon, Walsh and her travel companions' travel plans were up in the air.

Around 8 p.m. Monday, Walsh landed in Miami.

“The other interesting thing is that when we were in Guatemala, we would have our temperature taken even checking into a hotel. When we arrived in the U.S. no one checked us, we were given no quarantine instructions except for one sign that’s advised to practice social distancing," she said "It seemed very lax."

"Going through immigration was a breeze,” Walsh texted the Times reporter.

Walsh, as of noon Tuesday, was waiting for a flight to Boston.

Staff writer Taylor Ann Bradford can be reached at 978-675-2705 or

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