Social distancing. It’s the new catch phrase (hashtag). Unless you’ve been living in the most remote parts of the world, you’re well-aware of the headlines. The coronavirus has been declared, by the world health organization, to be a pandemic. And, to go along with that bit of news, it has been suggested, worldwide, that we all engage in the practice of social distancing.
Before the virus really took hold in Europe, we cancelled our 30-day trip to Portugal, France and Spain at a time when people were still touting media hype over the virus. We trusted our instincts. After hearing the news two days ago, of a 30-day travel ban on flights from Europe, arrving in the US, we looked at each other and said, “Called it!”
As with most announcements from the White House, within 24 hours the tweets came flying across the internet “clarifying” the actual terms of the ban.
Stuck in French Polynesia
American citizens and permanent residents can actually enter the US from anywhere while the ban is in place. Easier said than done though. Just ask our friends Viv and Jill of WAVEJourney who, at the time of this writing, are stuck in French Polynesia because their cruise was cancelled. I know, French Polynesia, it sounds like a good place to be stuck, right?
But when you’re stranded, it doesn’t really matter where you are. You just want to get the hell out. And, when your home country makes it that much more difficult to get on a flight, well…
Being stuck sucks. I’ve been in communication with our friends throughout the day as they ride the roller coaster of not knowing if their flight will be cancelled, or if they’ll get back to the US anytime soon. It’s the primary reason we cancelled our trip, getting stuck. While our friends have a great deal of time flexibility, we do not.
Stuck in Leon, Spain
We’ve been reading all the virus updates of our planned trip destinations and it isn’t looking good. We had six stops, and nearly two weeks, planned in Spain. If we had made the trip we would have been in Pamplona today.
Our friends, Frank and Lissette of The Travels of BBQ Boy & Spanky are currently stuck in Leon, Spain. The four of us were looking forward to spending time together as we were all planning to be in Leon at the same time. Missing that meeting, was a big disappointment in our decision to cancel. Frank and Lissette are nomadic, so they too have a level of flexibility that we do not have.
Currently, Spain is now considered to have the second worst outbreak in Europe, after Italy, and has declared a state of emergency.
Trust Your Instincts
I say all of this, not to toot our horn about our decision making, but rather to encourage everyone to trust their instincts. If you can’t shake off that little voice in your ear, more than likely there’s a good reason you’re hearing it. Pay attention.
The New Catch Phrase
So, here we are with the new catch phrase (hashtag), social distancing. To learn more about social distancing, click here. While I don’t find any humor whatsoever in the current situation with the virus, I do find it slightly funny and quite fascinating that every new story that makes the headlines seems to be labeled with a catch phrase. #socialdistancing #panicbuying #marketmeltdown #Brexit. Why is that?
It’s almost an oxymoron, isn’t it? Social and distance. It’s okay to be social, just keep your distance (at least 6 feet) and don’t touch. No shaking of the hands, no kissing of the cheeks, and certainly no hugging. #socialdistancing
The Impact on the Travel Industry
How this worldwide crisis is going to impact the travel industry is still unknown, but at the same time it’s pretty clear the economic impact will be massive. Even for independent travel writers such as myself, it’s going to get pretty interesting. If I (we) listen to the scientists and adhere to social distancing, travel will be limited at best.
Over the past few weeks we’ve been in the process of conducting research for an upcoming series, #insearchofquirk, in Washington, DC. Here’s a sample of what we’ve been working on.
Ella the elephant can be found at 1536 16th Street NW, on the grounds of PETA Kids. She teaches children why it’s wrong to keep elephants captive in a circus.
We found Ella quite by accident as we crossed the street, in search of another quirky site. She was definitely a fun find. We’re looking forward to discovering more quirky sites and creating a guide for visitors to the city. Stay tuned!
Social distancing. It’s here, it’s real and we all have to find a way to make it a part of our daily lives. I think it may prove to be difficult for some more than others. Especially, because there are many who do not believe in the validity of the spread of the virus. Also, because the general public just doesn’t have enough information about what they’re facing.
As we wait out the unknown we’ll continue to find ways in which to explore our backyard, so-to-speak. I’m thinking social distancing may actually prove to be a lesson in looking beyond the obvious and finding hidden treasures such as Ella the Elephant.
Let us know what you think, is social distancing a viable option to slow down the virus?
You DID totally call it, Patti! You two definitely have great instincts. So sorry that you’ve had to postpone your trip. Like you, we had a month-long trip coming up … that is now postponed until … ? Ours was to Southern Africa, via Brazil, from the US. We held out, hoping that the low CV incidence rate in both destinations would work in our favor, but when the European travel ban happened we knew we had to cancel. But I love your idea about local exploration. Thanks for the inspiration. All the best, Terri
TERRI VANCE recently posted…Pandemic Postponement: Putting Travel Life On Hold
Thanks so much, Terri. I’m sorry you also had to cancel your trip. It’s happening to so many travelers around the world. The good thing is that this will all pass and hopefully, we’ll come out stronger for having gone through. Safe travels!
Patti I love Leon as you predicted ( and yes this is the first time a blogger recommended a place that I actually love). I wish we could have met up with you and Abi on this trip. But I know one day (and hopefully soon) we will meet. But I can’t promise I’ll be able to keep my social distance and not pinch Abi’s cheek. Stay safe always <3
spanky recently posted…The coronavirus in Spain: How we’re dealing with it
Ah… I love reading this. We were very much looking forward to getting together and now for sure, we have to make it happen. If you’re based in Spain, it will be much easier since it’s so close to Portugal. There is just something very special about Leon, and I’m glad to know you feel it as well.
Love this post Patti. Social distancing for me is just being a typical New Yorker :). I had to learn to get used to people “getting up in my grill” when I first moved to Montreal back in the 90s. I had to replace my curt “good mornings” with 2 kisses and a quick hug with my immediate co-workers (all 5 of them). Ugh by 9:15, I was already exhausted by the prolong greetings. I then met other Latinos who told me to stop acting like an American and give them a bigger hug or kiss. Joking aside, I think that the current events have already changed us and will continue to effect how we socially interact with each other and strangers alike. If SARS changed the “cough/sneezing etiquette” I wonder if we will develop a “Don’t stand too close to me etiquette” armed with minty-fresh scented Lysol bottle as a back up :).
I look forward to your #insearchofquirk findings! That’s going to be a fun post!
spanky recently posted…The coronavirus in Spain: How we’re dealing with it
That’s a great story, Lissette, too funny. It’s an interesting point about how this will impact all of us for years to come. I wouldn’t mind if people I don’t know kept their distance. 😉
Limiting this winter’s travels to relatively local, southren AZ, I find it no problem to keep a social distance. Of course I’m living in a small camper and mostly boondocking so I can make that choice. However, my summer work season at Bryce Canyon NP begins April 12th, presumably we’ll be open. Greeting hundreds of visitors daily, and usually from around the world, is daunting. And yet, I agree with Cynthia, this too shall pass.
Gaelyn recently posted…Sauntering south in search of Arizona wildflowers
You definitely have the perfect “home” set up to self-isolate Gaelyn. It will be interesting to see how the season unfolds at Bryce, and other National Parks.
I love Ella the elephant!
We need to be practical and cautious but also optimistic that we shall travel again. I cannot imagine life without exploring the world and sharing and experiencing compassion, kindness, adventures, and laughs! We have weathered many storms and this too shall pass.
Ella was pretty great, Cindy. We too cannot imagine a life that doesn’t include travel, either near or far. Hopefully, this surreal time of life will pass sooner than later. I’d like a little normal.