Today, 23 April, is Day 29 of the lockdown in South Africa, where I am based. Some of the strictest lockdown rules in the world are in place here, with outdoor exercise, dog-walking, and fast food all banned. We are only allowed to go out to buy essentials or for medical reasons. This is probably the longest that most of us have been indoors for. I have been spending this time with my husband and two kids at our house in the suburbs of Johannesburg, and working from home. What I miss the most is going out in nature, and especially on safari, because the bush is my happy place (#FirstWorldProblems).
Our world has become infinitely smaller, yet we still have the opportunity to travel virtually. I found myself wondering what it was like in other countries so I chatted to some fellow travellers about lockdown around the world . If you would like to participate in this series, please email me.
Difficult times, right? I’m sure for some of us, this is the first time we’re going through something like this, and we don’t even know how we feel about it yet.
I am in Basel, Switzerland. Luckily, I didn’t get locked down far away from home, like some people. I’m sure it must be really hard on them, and I’m grateful that I can enjoy the benefits of being in my own home.
The rules here were never that strict (they are too relaxed, in my opinion), so the isolation doesn’t feel as bad as for other people. I am locked down with my husband and I have no kids, something to celebrate in these times. Most parents now realize that teachers all around the world are severely underpaid.
We’re allowed to go out as long as we’re in groups of fewer than 3 people (more if they live in the same household), and as long as we maintain the social distance. We go out once or twice a week, grocery shopping included. And when we go out for a walk, we try to go either to the woods, where there’s no one around, or to go at night, when most people are indoors.
As IT professionals, we are working from home, something we never thought we’d be happy about. We’re trying to still love each other after this ends, so we’re keeping a good vibe inside the house. We’re keeping ourselves focused on hobbies as well, so we don’t even feel bored yet - and some alone time for each of us helps.
It’s been 38 days already (not that I’m counting or anything), and we’re still better off than in a hospital bed. We miss traveling, of course, and we miss our Indian restaurant across the border, but we’re grateful for not having to miss our health. In the end, it’s all that matters.
Cristina writes at Honest Travel Stories
We are on our 6th week of Sheltering in Place. In my city we are allowed to go for walks in our neighbourhoods, sit in the park 6 feet away from each other, and go out for grocery shopping and other essential services. These include corner stores, restaurant pick-ups, gas stations, banks, pharmacy, and marijuana stores. Some people are respecting the rules, other places like the beaches are still very busy. We are required to wear masks when we are out, but this doesn't seem to be enforced. I am working as a therapist from home doing video sessions.
I live with a couple so I have some company and we watch movies and eat together some evenings. During non-work hours I go for walks, do puzzles, exercise via online classes, socialize via Zoom, do art, and watch television. Things are not bad here, but my friends and family in New York and New Jersey are losing people they know and love. It seems very scary there. There are protests in other places in the country - people armed with AKs who don't want to be shutdown (even in places with the highest death rates such as Michigan). I miss my friends and family, and touch, but I feel grateful to be in California.
Find Anica at Anica.In.Bloom
I am in lockdown in Auckland, New Zealand. I am from the UK and was staying in an Airbnb with a family when the lockdown got announced, meaning I did not have time to find alternative accommodation.
The rules here were stricter at Level 4 lockdown than some countries, with no takeout or online delivery, and no workplaces open beyond truly essential services. Next week we move to Level 3, which means we can now order things online, and businesses who can’t work from home are mostly able to open. It doesn’t change things much for me. I am an introvert so ‘isolation’ is not a scary word for me.
I lost my job but fortunately, the host has been very welcoming and let me know that I could stay as long as I needed to. The difficult thing for me is worrying that I am in the way or ‘taking up space’, and I feel very self-conscious. I do wish that I was in my own space where I could relax a bit more but, of course, incredibly grateful to have a roof over my head and to this family for hosting me. I hope that I can make it up to them one day! Alongside worrying about money, the hardest thing is wishing that I could support my friends in the UK where things are worse.
Cass writes at Cassie The Hag.
I’m grateful to be a freelancer who has worked remotely since 2005 and who still has projects (despite working in travel). I’m hunkering down, together with my husband, in Arad, Romania, a town located right at the border with Hungary.
We’ve been under a state of emergency since March 16 and, as of March 23 we can only go out for specific reasons (grocery shopping, going to the drug store / doctor’s office, going to work, exercising, taking the pet out, helping the elderly). Also, the elderly (65+) can only go out during set hours unless they go to the doctor. Restaurants can only offer take-outs. Hotels, theaters and cinemas are closed, and people are encouraged to work from home where possible.
The thing I miss the most right now is dancing the Argentinian tango and meeting with my colleagues at the tango school twice weekly. It’s a passion that I was hoping to turn into a profession (by becoming an instructor) but with everything on hold right now, so is my dream. I am grateful to be able to dance with my husband at home but we both miss the community.
Needless to say, not being able to visit my parents is not great, either. From visiting them each weekend (they live in the town), we had to switch to video calls here and there. We do talk daily on the phone and luckily, they don’t need assistance.
Our president just announced today (April 22) that after May 15 (when the state of emergency ends), we will be able to go out, but masks will be mandatory in public spaces and when using public transportation.
Cris writes at LooknWalk
Living in the UK whilst being on lockdown is not as hard as we thought it would be. We’re currently allowed to go out for basic shopping needs, urgent medical needs, one form of exercise per day. Travel to work is permitted if working from home is impossible. I’m currently working from home though. Fortunately, I’m at home with my wife which is nice as I’ve heard many are living alone. It’s always nice to spend this time with someone and we’re really enjoying spending this time together.
As I’m working from home, it can be really difficult to discipline myself to have a structured day. We try to include some of exercise into our daily routine such as yoga, running, walking or cardio in order to keep our blood flowing and stay mentally and physically charged! One of the things I miss the most - especially due to the beautiful weather we’ve been having in England - is the freedom to drive down to the beautiful countryside. Whist we’re quite fortunate to be residing in Yorkshire and being surrounded by greenery, it’s tough on us to not be able to take advantage of these places. Hopefully one day soon!
Juber writes at Muslims Go Travel
I live alone in a 2-bedroom condo. So, it’s small, but the good thing is I live alone. I don’t have kids or a significant other to worry about sharing a space with. I also do not have any animals. It does make for a lot of down time and it does get pretty lonely often. But I’ve been able to keep busy during those times by getting into different shows on Netflix and Amazon Prime. I have also been able to connect with family and friends via different virtual platforms to stay connected as well.
My day to day schedule hasn’t really changed much. I’m lucky enough to still be working full-time remotely. Virtual platforms are nice, but I really do miss the 1:1 interaction with my co-workers who I have built personal relationships with. My home office is my spare bedroom where I typically fold my laundry after it’s dry, but I have a nice little area set up for my work space as well as a nice view of the beautiful days outside!
I used to get up in the morning and head to the gym for my morning workout. The only difference now is that I get up and head into my living room which has been transformed into my home gym! My trainer has a group and he continues to train us virtually 3 times per week. I’m not at the same activity level that I used to be at by any means, but it’s still movement and connection to others!
Laura writes at Living and Loving Beautifully
Stay safe and healthy.
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Things you must do in South Africa