This is only one viewpoint, but I wanted to answer the one question everyone seems to be asking each other: what’s it like where you are? I’ve done my best to avoid the news at all costs, but I’ve loved seeing the human stories around the world.
This won’t be the end of us
— Gilbert Ott | GSTP
(@godsavethepoint) March 18, 2020
With friends and families around the world separated from each other, knowing what’s going on in other parts of the world can range from fun, to cathartic or depressing, and I wanted to weigh in on my viewpoint in the UK. Times are uncertain, but wonderful things are happening too…
Some of you may know that Laura and I recently brought a daughter into the world, and it’s a weird time to have an infant. As a travel blogger, it’s been weird bringing a daughter into a world without travel, and I hope with all of my heart that will change soon, whenever it’s deemed safe.
The news loves adding fear by the hour, but that’s just not the world I’m seeing here. To borrow the most cliche, but visibly true phrase in regards to the British public, people are just keeping calm and carrying on.
Obviously, not in regards to toilet paper shopping, but that’s another story.
And of course, Boris Johnson telling everyone not to flood into bars, restaurants and pubs last night, since it would be the last night they could, had the exact opposite effect; which wasn’t ideal either. But in a way, it only goes to further the ‘keep calm carry on’ bit, even if it’s not medically advised.
People are keeping their distance, pretty much all group gatherings from schools to classes and sporting events are cancelled but people are really enjoying the simple walks outdoors. I’ve never seen more happy people walking, jogging or cycling in the park.
We live near a park, and taking Olive for a stroll is the highlight in our daily life, but the community aspect has been incredible. For the first time I can ever remember, at least since 9/11, people really are banding together to support businesses, protect employees and help their neighbors.
If anything, just having outsiders to talk to seems to be doing a lot of good.
My friend Seb runs my local coffee shop, and since they’ve been forced to close the business as it usually runs, he’s been doing bicycle bean deliveries. They’ve got their own in house roaster, so it’s pretty much the only way to get genuinely fresh coffee these days.
It’s fun to see people get creative to find new ways to support themselves and keep life as calm and normal for people as possible. Freshly roasted, single origin beans ground to exacting specifications goes a long way for me.
I’m seeing similar things with local gyms offering online classes, people getting creative with deliveries and most importantly, many people helping elderly or at risk neighbors with groceries and other necessities.
Grand gestures are great, but little moves can be too. Whenever you see an opportunity, err on the side of good.
So how’s the panic level?
Whenever I see people – from a 2 meter, 6 foot distance, ideally in open air – there seems to be a common thread. Those that watch the news all day are losing it, and those that simply catch up on the big principles and daily changes from a reputable news site at the beginning and end, or either or, tend to be far better off.
Supermarkets have been open and other than dried pasta, wet wipes, toilet paper and the obvious bunker necessities, it’s been pretty easy to get a hold of things. Happily, local butchers, farmers and smaller establishments have seen upticks in business as locals flock in support.
It’s just not all doom and gloom.
Don’t mistake 24 hour news with altruism. The more theories, experts and tangents they go on, the more premium ads they sell, and the more it scares or confuses people who are already scared and confused.
For the sake of everyone, yourself included – read a book, build that thing you’ve always talked about, learn a language or do anything that makes you happy. Even just having the time to cook, and some random ingredients to cobble together into a decent meal is a fun, creative challenge.
And then there’s wine : )
I’m planning with great hope for fall trips and learning more about the places that are actually recovering during the slowdown in travel. There are silver linings everywhere, if you look for them. I love checking in via WhatsApp video, Skype or any other video platform to catch up with friends in different parts of the world, and it’s bonded many people in our world together.
Like that magical musical moment in Barcelona, we’ll get through this.
How it going where you are?