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?