A Personal Story in These Strange Times
These are very strange times for everyone. A virus outbreak is going on which affects every human being on this planet. Governments are taking precautions to avoid hospitals getting overcrowded which affect everyone. Since it’s so strongly discouraged, traveling abroad is almost impossible, and very irresponsible as well. Some countries even closed their borders completely. Sharing our travel content during these times just doesn’t feel right. That’s why, in the upcoming weeks, Mika will tell her personal story.
In the past month, I’ve been following the news regarding the Coronavirus outbreak closely. As we have a few upcoming trips planned, one of which to Venice in Northern Italy, I wanted to know whether and when we would have to cancel these trips. In the beginning of March, the situation in Italy and other European countries got worse and worse. The Netherlands didn’t have many infections relatively speaking, but the numbers here were also growing exponentially. On Sunday March 15th, the Dutch government announced that all restaurants and cafés had to close until (at least) April 6th. This precaution affects me directly. I work as a waitress in a restaurant, so this meant I would be unemployed for (at least) three weeks. It felt weird knowing I couldn’t go to work the next day. I also had a feeling of relief; the Dutch government was finally taking the Coronavirus seriously.
Not being able to work also means no income. The government offers a benefit in this situation, so financially I should be fine. And luckily for us, Joop can work from home full time.
Currently, I’m dedicating all my free time to learning new skills such as creating YouTube videos and (finally) the basics of Photoshop. So far it’s been a really great process and I’m learning so much everyday. I’m happy that I can spend this unplanned time off so well and it really feels like the days are flying by.
This week, we’ve also shifted our ‘online’ focus from travel to staying at home. We’ve branded Kipamojo as a ‘travel couple’, but since no one can travel, we’re just a ‘couple’ now. We want to show you that staying at home can be just as fun as traveling and want to encourage everyone to stay home as much as possible. This means we’re currently taking all our Instagram photos at home, instead of posting throwbacks of our travels. This also means we have to be creative with our small home, but I have to say that I like that challenge!
When I’m creating content during the day, it really feels like I’m living in my own safe bubble. It makes me forget what is really going on outside of our home, and that bubble feels nice and cozy. I don’t want to leave the bubble, but sometimes reality hits me. The number of infections is still rising exponentially and the so is the number of deaths.
Last Wednesday, we went outside for an evening walk. The weather was beautiful and the sun was about to set. It was a peaceful evening, but it also felt a bit eerie. There were hardly any people outside and when we saw someone heading towards us, we crossed the street as we wanted to keep a safe distance. That evening walk also made us realize that we shouldn’t take these walks for granted. The day might come that we’re not allowed leave our house at all.
I want to include some numbers as well, both for future as well as personal reference. Today (Sunday 22 March 2020), there are 4204 infections and 179 deaths in the Netherlands. The following precautions are currently taken by the government:
- Keep everyone at a safe distance of 1,5m.
- Work from home whenever possible.
- Stay at home when you have a cold, coughs, a sore throat or a fever. Avoid social contact and only call a doctor when your symptoms worsen.
- Vulnerable people (elderly and people with reduced resistance) have to avoid large groups of people and public transport. In general, it’s strictly encouraged to avoid any visits as well.
- Schools are closed until April 6th.
- All cafés and restaurants are closed until April 6th. Delivery and takeaway is allowed.
- Sport clubs, gyms, saunas and sex clubs are closed until April 6th. All events of more than 100 people are canceled. This is applicable to many public locations, such as museums, concert halls, theaters and sport games.
I have to admit, this first week of social distancing wasn’t too bad. Even though it seems like the worst has yet to come, I want to stay positive throughout this situation. I’m happy to be spending more time together with Joop, I’m happy that we’re still allowed to go outside for walks and I’m happy that I’m learning so many new skills that I really enjoy. We’re all in this together and we can make it through!
My heart goes out to all the people that are directly affected by the virus, and to the people that have lost their loved ones in this fight.
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