Traveling (or not) in the times of COVID-19

What are you doing today, COVID-19?

COVID-19 (Pic Source: Forbes)

Feeling scared, worrying, finding a contingency plan, rescheduling your travel, working from home and the list goes on. Novel Coronavirus has created a lot of negativity around but it has also given us a few more things, one of them being Evaluation and self assessment.

What is more important for me and how the surrounding will be affected by me. 

Human beings have become synonymous with Selfishness, all we do is think about us but coronavirus is making us to think about, others. 

Your life is not yours anymore, you are responsible for others as well. If you get sick, you are going to make others sick. You may be the cause behind an epidemic and I am sure you don't want that burden on your shoulders.

Being a passionate traveler, my mind never really stops or ever get tired of planning travel escapades. With my full time job it is difficult to go on frequent trips and that makes me suffer from "fernweh". So, when a trip cancels my heart aches.

This is hard to write. 

Angkor Wat - Before and After Coronavirus scare (Pic source: The national)

I was supposed to go to Cambodia - Vietnam this April. Tickets - check, Circuit Tours - check and on top of everything 12 days leave from office - also check. But then the news of coronavirus outbreak in China surfaced, which was just after a week of booking my flight tickets. 

Although China and Vietnam share borders but then the cities I was going to visiting were quite far, so I wasn't very anxious. Even when I heard about a case in Cambodia and 2 in Vietnam, my confidence didn't shook, I thought, "what can happen to me, I will take care of my health and hygiene and any way I am a vegetarian, so there should not be any problem"

I didn't anticipate that things will go out of hands, the virus had started spreading across nations. But again by the end of February, news came that authorities are able to control the spread which lead me to think that there is still a chance that I may be able to make my trip happen.



But one fine morning in March, I woke up to the news of an exponential increase in the cases in my country i.e. India and also in Europe. This is when I got worried and decided that I will not go. It was a sad moment. I had planned my trip to the smallest of detail; I was ready with my micro-level itinerary, maps, estimated expense report, had even spoken with tuk tuk wala for intra-city travel. I love researching and planning my trips. What now? Everything's gone for a toss, I thought. Money is one thing but the excitement and trip, well, both gone. 

Then I thought, it was not about me anymore. I would have gone and come back fine but I sure would have spent my days there in stress. But then what if I come back sick? I would have infected many more because of my ignorance and that wouldn't have been right, morally. 

I have always been an independent person and the way I have been brought up, I have always lived on my own terms without any fear or without feeling sorry for my actions but one thing that I have been taught is to make sensible decisions. If I had taken the risk of going, more then me, my family and friends would have got worried. Plus, I did not want the burden on my shoulders of causing problem to others for my ignorance.

Then again there is a different breed of people who would condemn my thoughts and are the kind who would say, we only get one life and one day we all gonna die then why not travel and do what we like, indulge in some adventure. Well there I would like to add that although my line of thinking is same but the present situation needs different kind of mindset. One can take the risk as no one knows the future but some times we need to slow down. 

Travel Deal with COVID-19

By chance if one get affected while in foreign country they can either get stuck there or be put in isolation after returning. So, in my opinion, hype or not, prevention is better than cure. Also, many countries are applying ban on cross country travel and even getting strict about arrivals of tourists their country. E.g. in India, sick or not, if you arrive from a foreign country, you may be quarantined for 15 days.

Bottom line is we should think about pros and cons before taking any decision. Till we get the cure for COVID-19 or get control over it completely, situation is unpredictable. But also don't panic, is the mantra. 

What COVID-19 is doing apart from scaring us?

Bear Market (Pic source: CNN Business)
  • Economy is hit, stock market is down
  • Almost all sectors are booking losses
  • People are losing jobs specially in hospitality industry
  • Supply chain management is hit
  • Rupee is down among many other currencies and
  • Most importantly, people are losing their health and peace of mind.
Then again, need of the hour is to be positive and find pros in the cons. Coronavirus is not only affecting us physically but mentally as well. The psychological impact is so much that yesterday while watching 2 people shaking hands in the movie; in my mind, What's wrong with them, why the hell are the shaking hands?

In a second, I realised what was happening and then I laughed. The silver lining here is, I am more conscious now and that I will not at least shake hands while greeting people. There are a few more things that I feel Coronavirus outbreak is teaching us, like:
  • Making people more vigilant and morally conscious
  • Patience because now you will think twice before making a decision
  • Cultural changes, people across nations are adopting Namaste over handshakes & personally, I am loving it
  • More time at home with family because less of theater, restaurants, parties and malls
  • Less pollution because less travel and also most of the factories are shut down
  • Change in work culture, work from home is being appreciated (work from home is something, I don't really appreciate but there should be a system in place which can be activated in case of emergencies)
  • Less outside food, more homemade simple food 
  • More time for your hobbies. Also, listen to music, watch television or make some more travel itineraries, because once all this is over, you gotta pack bags and go travail.
  • But my most favourite is that people are becoming more hygienic, they're washing hands, yay! and due to shortage of tissue paper, people have to use water now, you know for what, which is again good for hygiene.

What you should do to scare away COVID-19?

  • Avoid travel across states and countries. India has any way imposed one month quarantine on it self until 15th April 2020, so think twice before taking that trip abroad. Also, check travel advisories released by states and different countries before you make a decision.
  • During daily commute, cover your face completely, if you don't find masks, use cotton scarf (wash it daily), if masks are used, you should know how to dispose them off.
  • Avoid touching your face, eyes and mouth.
  • Wash your hands with soap frequently, where there is no soap, go for alcohol-based hand rub (as prescribed by the doctor).
  • Avoid outside food and stay away from live animal market.
  • Go old school, do Namaste or Hi from far, maintain social distancing.
  • If you feel sick, stay at home. Isolate. Report to Doctor. Keep a check on your symptoms.
  • Cover your face when you cough or sneeze.
  • Avoid spitting in public. Keep yourself and the surrounding clean.
  • Don't listen to arrogant but sane people.
  • Be supportive.

Beware of Fake news 


Don't believe in forward messages instead go to official pages of your country and of WHO to verify. 

COVID-19 Quick Links

Update as of 14.03.2020. For recent updates - click here

Updates on Novel coronavirus w.r.t. India is available on the homepage of "Ministry of Health & Family welfare" website. While for global, please visit: WHO Instagram handle or WHO website

Update on Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases around the world: Situation in the world

Myth Busters 

Q&A on Coronavirus


The Bottom Line

Life is yours and not others to live and the choice is yours too and you have to live with whatever you decide. 

Take Care Amigos!

Comments

  1. Sad to know your travel plans got canned - however it is for the best! Some other time, some other time...

    Stay safe.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It's alright. You chose wisely. One life, but right now a slight postponing of plans is the right thing to do.
    Anyways it would have been too hot in April there. :D

    ReplyDelete

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