The NBA is shut down. Broadway. Disneyland. The parades in Chicago, Dallas, and even Dublin are cancelled for St. Patrick's day. Jazz Fest in New Orleans is cancelled. Italy is locked down.
At first, I thought, this is just a flu. But over the past few days, it's become clear: Coronavirus is serious.
Everyone around the world has heard about the virus for weeks, but now we've come face to face with the reality of how it could affect us directly.
Before you keep reading, understand that this post was first written when the virus first started affecting the USA. Clearly, things have changed. And anything written in italics are my updated thoughts. The main thing I hope to instill is to: STAY HOME.
I have to admit that my initial reaction was to focus on the cheap flights airlines began offering. I even called my Mom and we laughed about going to Italy since for once it wouldn't be crowded. But what she said stuck with me, “This feels different.” (Again please remember these thoughts happened WEEKS ago).
Panic rose thorough my chest as I noticed my blog's pageviews seemed to be inching down the page, lower than I'd seen them in years. Did a post get unpublished? Did Google go through an algorithm change? Is Pinterest down?
None of the above. The fact is, people aren't really searching “what to do in Vienna for 3 days.” Instead, they're trying to find out where they can purchase toilet paper.
A virus that seemed to be a slowly trickling in, has turned into a faucet of casualties. And I don't just mean deaths. Obviously, that is the worst part. But I'm also concerned about the millions of jobs affected.
In the travel industry alone, consider the impact on hotels, events, airlines, and cities that rely on tourism. And now, as we're hearing that schools are closing, we're all starting to worry. So many are feeling the impact now, like nurses, already overworked, who have school-aged children. What are they supposed to do with their kids?
My gut reaction is to urge others to live your life to the fullest, keep on traveling, and simply avoid crowds and lines. BUT after warnings from the government, and as the death toll rises in Italy (now over 1,000) it makes sense to stay home.
- You could contract Coronavirus and spread it to others
- Places you try to go to could be shut down
- The anxiety of travel and worry of constantly washing your hands and keeping yourself safe may not be worth it
- Lastly, is it the responsible thing to do?
We all have to weigh our options when it comes to travel. It seems like COVID-19 is changing day by day, and the risks seem to intensify. The places that I always turn to are the CDC (US Center for Disease Control and Prevention) and the WHO (World Health Organization). These groups are keeping track of the virus and can offer you the best advice.
As someone who travels for a living, I must admit this is a strange turn of events. I almost feel like I'm in the Twilight Zone where the only thing I can talk about is the virus, despite life looking seemingly normal. Well, besides the empty shelves of cleaning products and toilet paper.
To some extent I do think it's important to keep on living your life. So here are my suggestions:
Watch your favorite travel movies. You don't have to leave your house to travel. Here are 75 of my favorite travel films.
Start your blog. If you've been putting off starting a blog or working on blog posts, now is the perfect time to stay inside and work. The same goes for writing a book.
Take a staycation in your home! Make yourself a drink. Turn on a tv of palm trees and pretend you're in a hammock on the beach.
Get outside. Hiking, biking, or just walking with your dog.
Lastly, try to not overthink things or give in to the hysteria. Freaking out is not helpful. Stay safe, but also sane. It seems like everyone and their dog has an opinion on how to handle this situation, despite most having absolutely no health background.
At the end of the day, our health is our most important asset. And while I love traveling, I also want to be safe and keep others around me safe.