Though I have always been the type of person who reads about doomsday prepping, I could not have imagined the unprecedented events that have occurred recently. Not in my lifetime. Following the pandemic declaration on 13th March, I saw fear, shock and confusion. Plus there was grief and despair for the life we all knew. And then there was the crazy panic buying, which seemed the only way people found some control in an out of control situation. And as I write this, there have been 3.5 million confirmed cases worldwide of the Covid-19 virus, and 247,000 lives lost. These last six weeks spent in lockdown now seem like the new normal. And the question I most want to know is, “How will we all mentally get through this, and how will we move forward?”
Travel Bugs World – Our Story
Hello! I’m Oli. I am the editor of Travel Bugs World. I started this blog so that I can showcase my writing and travels. And to show people, particularly the upcoming generation, how to have a life removed from the 9 to 5 cycle, mortgages and routine. And instead of just moments after work, having a life filled with experiences and enjoying more ‘me time’. A life full of living your passion, being inspired, and where your work is doing the things you love. Or at least, working towards those things.
My partner and I left our jobs almost six years ago. The sole purpose of leaving our well paid comfortable jobs was to live the life I describe above. We wanted to see the world while discovering our passions and find inspiration from the things we saw. Mostly, we had wanted to do this before we got too old and found it harder to ‘run around’.
We are so glad we did as we spent the last six years ‘running around’ the world eating, drinking and exploring. Anyway, it was a fun ride! We already decided a long time ago to live our lives as if anything may change at any point. Thus, we are grateful for the last six years and us living as if they were our last days of freedom.
Suddenly the World Turned Upside Down
Incredibly, in the last few months, the world has changed so radically. Many people say they realise their worries were minimal before the Covid-19 virus.
In January, when we started hearing about the spread of the virus, we thought it was a localised outbreak and expected it would subside. By late February, there were 80,000 cases confirmed globally, and New Zealand had its first case. Yet we still didn’t take the outbreak seriously.
We had been in New Zealand for four months and, with winter approaching, were planning our travels for the year. We were looking forward to a family wedding in mid-April on New Zealand’s North Island. Also, we were eager to get back to Australia to see family. And as always, we anticipated heading to Thailand for our annual trip. Further, we envisioned we’d finally get to the countries at the top of our travel bucket list, Japan and Sri Lanka.
But, suddenly, things were spiralling out of control. Many people were getting sick, and the virus had spread all over the world. Panic buying of toilet paper had started on our shores too. And with the warning of a lockdown imminent, we decided it was time to buy essentials and settle in for the long haul.
Throughout the summer, we had camped in a basic bush hut on a private property bordering the national park. Our base camp included a storage shed. It became a makeshift kitchen equipped with a hob burner and a BBQ. We collected rainwater from our roof and boiled water in a pot for washing. We also had an outdoor bathtub nestled in the rainforest. As a treat, we lit a fire under it and had a sublime experience. It was incredible living in nature with rainforest walks at our doorstep, but the living situation wasn’t ideal for winter.
Actually, our world had already turned upside in 2019, read Our Untold Story & Why You Should Cherish Every Moment.
Travel Bugs World in Lockdown in New Zealand
Like any good doomsday prepper, first stop was the hardware shop. We bought materials to build a bathroom and for water catchment. We bought solar power, batteries, a tv and satellite dish. Also, we did a mad dash to buy a bed, as a camp bed would not be fun in the winter.
We normally save all our money to travel and do without modern conveniences. But, as we would not be going anywhere for a while, we splashed out on material things instead.
Our bedroom/living space is just 21 sq. m, so it is the ultimate in tiny house living. We added a ten sq. m kitchen/storage and seven sq. m bathroom. It is enough. Oh, and views are Priceless!
So with mod-cons and great views, along with unlimited data and a Netflix subscription, on 25th March 2020, we joined all New Zealanders in lockdown.
Everyone was to stay at home for five weeks. New Zealand’s lockdown approach has been to shut down everything – restaurants, takeaways, schools and all work unless an essential service such as supermarkets, pharmacies and medical services.
And Now, There is A New Normal
And now much of the world is in lockdown or living with stay at home orders. We have been so busy fighting for our survival that there hasn’t been time to think about how we feel. People have gotten sick, lost jobs and are feeling isolated. They are anxious, about staying healthy, and about how they will earn money to live. This event is so catastrophic there is no time yet to consider the mental and emotional implications of living in this time. It is a time of living in isolation from others and feeling that control has been taken away from us.
Yet, in all this, there are positive things like the outpouring of generosity from both people and organisations. For example, people donating toilet paper and meals to the elderly, organisations giving free courses to people who stay at home and availability of free services for those in need. Some governments have stepped up to support their citizens with stimulus packages. And some governments have stepped forward to help other governments. Meanwhile, all the essential workers bravely go out every day to do their jobs, while the rest of us stay at home. And for us at home? Well, thanks to the internet, we are not truly self-isolated. We can stay in touch with family and friends. Imagine if this happened twenty years ago!
Many have chosen to do the best they can and use the time they have at home to do a course or learn new things. For some, there is an opportunity to rest or spend time with family. There is time to cook, to spring clean the house or write that great book. However, it can be hard to be creative or industrious when you’re anxious and sad and feel you have lost control.
We chose to treat our time in lockdown as a holiday at home. We also chose to develop our blog and share our ideas to help others. Further, we are proud our post 73 In-home Staycation Ideas During Lockdown went viral on Pinterest and started ranking on the 1st page of Google within a week of publication.
But meanwhile, in the blogging industry, how can you write about travel when borders have closed, everyone must stay home for their safety, and there is no travel? Stories about virtual travel and staycations can only go so far. Thus, it’s time for bloggers to reevaluate and find ways to survive. Equally, many industries, particularly in travel, are pondering how they will survive. Furthermore, it’s time for people to reevaluate how they live their lives.
Inspiration and Hope
We are in our 6th week of lockdown. Last week, lockdown restrictions eased and schools, takeaways and workplaces reopened. Though essentially we are still in lockdown, with those who can work from home asked to do so. Travel is not allowed unless going to work or to get access to essential services. Nevertheless, the easing of restrictions uplifted people.
And today was the first day since the virus came to New Zealand that there are no recorded cases.
So yes, there is an end in sight. And it is hope and belief, that has gotten New Zealanders through the hard days.
For us, things have continued with the same attitude we always have, “Try finding things you love, no matter where you are”.
We feel lucky that we have a tv and data, and finally have time to binge-watch Netflix.
Further, time spent chatting about travel on social media and access to all the knowledge on the internet makes us happy. And that we have the world at our fingertips for staying in touch with family and friends.
We enjoy our parties, taking care to prepare a huge feast for two and indulge in music and drinks.
Also, we love that we can grow a garden and develop our future home.
Mostly, we love the opportunity to stay in one place with no pressure to do anything!
Do we miss travel? Yes and No. We miss places and people more than anything else. We miss the road trip to the North Island and our family on the other end, and the equally enticing Australian road trip up the East Coast to visit family and friends. Particularly, we miss Thailand and our lifestyle, and the wonderful people we know there. Sadly, it is the first time in 13 years we will not get there this year.
And yes, the golden age of travel is over for now, but we will no doubt travel again. Ultimately, I don’t think any of us will take travel for granted from this point forward!
Also if there is any lesson in all this, it is to always be grateful for food, power, water, warmth, love, good health and unlimited entertainment via unlimited internet (some people do not have these things).
Thank you for reading. Try not to worry, do what you can do to stay calm, and find the things you love to do. May you, your family and friends be safe and healthy. And may you be blessed with kindness all around you.
Thank You to RoarLoud for encouraging this post. It is a part of the “Hello From” series. In this series, bloggers from all around the world bravely share their stories during the Corona crisis. Read RoarLoud’s post Hello From New Hampshire.
*Travel Bugs World is reader-supported. This blog post contains affiliate links (meaning we may get a small commission if you buy through our links.) You won’t pay any more if you use these links, and it helps support the site. We Thank You.