In an Uncertain World & a Pandemic who needs a Travel Writer!

05.29.2019 Eshaness (1)

I am feeling discombobulated and not particularly useful at the moment. No one wants to read a travel writer’s blog in these days full of coronavirus disease [Covid-19]. We are all feeling confused and worried in different ways; some of us are concerned about elderly friends or relatives; some motorhomers are wondering whether to stay in Spain, Portugal or France or come home; we might worry about whether we washed our hands enough and why we can’t stop touching our faces [or is that just me?] and others are wondering where they can buy toilet roll or dried pasta.  In this period of social distancing a full lock-down is only a matter of time and even though my fear of when this will happen doesn’t help, the fear remains.  On top of this global apprehension, the campervan and motorhome community is arguing amongst itself about whether anyone can follow social distancing rules in a ‘van and what essential travel actually means.  The only certainty is that very few people are looking ahead and planning holidays and trips away.

I am not alone in living during a time that just a few weeks ago seemed fairly humdrum, I was blogging about being a frustrated travel agent and also busy writing and planning my own campervan trips for the year.  Those days seem very carefree and distant as uncertainty has mushroomed and I am finding this increasingly difficult to deal with.  I am sure I am not alone in wishing that I knew how long this state of emergency was going to go on for.  Last night we watched an episode of Countryfile from a few weeks ago, it was in many ways a calming escape to a world before all we thought about was a virus but as soon as we switched off the TV I remembered and the dread returned.

I long for the pandemic to be declared over, returning some stability to everyone’s lives but I realise that isn’t going to happen soon.  It may be that we never return to how things were but I hope that eventually people will begin to look to the future with confidence again.

In addition, of course … and this is only a minor worry … I am also aware that if I can’t get away travelling and camping then I will have no income.

Please don’t think I am feeling sorry for myself. Although we are both over 60 years of age, we are both in good health and have every reason to feel confident that Covid-19 will make us poorly but not kill us … but as apparently we are all going to get Covid-19 eventually, if it is my time than I have had 60 good years.  It is not for myself that I am anxious, what I dread is anyone across the world suffering unnecessarily and I fear for my close friends and relatives.

I Know that I am not alone in feeling anxious and fearful about the difficult and stormy future road ahead, so I am no expert but here are …

… My ideas for coping with coronavirus anxiety

  1. Although I have a strong need for information, too much news consumption is more than I can handle. Limiting my access to the news and Facebook does help to keep me on an even keel. I try hard to be aware of what is factual and what is conjecture and keep a reasonable perspective.
  2. In contrast, the social media that is supportive is Twitter. My Twitter friends for the most part keep me positive and are kind – thanks guys!
  3. I have always been an obsessive hand washer after too many years in the NHS and the annual infection control talk, so we are washing our hands thoroughly.  We are maintaining social distance and keeping a check on our own health.
  4. While we will miss our tai chi classes, closed during this social distancing period, we keep practising most days.  Tai chi is fantastic for focusing the mind and relaxation.
  5. I might not be sure when I will once again be able to travel to mainland Europe but at the moment I continue brushing up my German so that I am ready for when those borders open. This half an hour a day of language learning is time when I am not worrying about any end-of-the-world scenario.
  6. Reading is always my favourite relaxation and I have sought out uplifting and funny novels to get me through. This is not the time to read Lionel Shriver’s The Mandibles: A Family, 2029-2047 – save this roller-coaster novel for happier times, although it has been haunting me this last two weeks.  Instead I have been re-reading Magnus Mills and getting lost in his comedic and fantastical world and I have a Neil Gaiman on my reading pile.
  7. After living in a small village for 25 years I am accustomed to always keeping well-stocked kitchen cupboards and what might be stockpiling for some is my normal. We could live for a couple of weeks at least on the food in our house and yet I have to admit to a real fear about the shortages and I struggle to keep this in any kind of measured perspective. For example, as a bread maker we are down to our last two bags of flour and haven’t been able to buy more as the whole country appears to have taken to baking bread! While I am pleased everyone has discovered the joy of homemade bread, when I think about running out of flour I want to weep and I have to remind myself that at the moment we continue to eat well on healthy home-cooked food.
  8. We are keeping in touch with friends and family, making sure everyone is coping and keeping the love and care flowing between us.
  9. It might be twee but I count my blessings, knowing I am so lucky to live with my wonderful partner in the amazing town of Morecambe with the sea and the bay only down the road. We get out for some fresh air every day which helps my mental health and my sleeping.
  10. I am not naive, I know that everything will not be okay in the short-term but I try and make myself step back and give myself space to reflect on what the numbers of cases and deaths and the shortages of essential items actually means and why they are making me feel so anxious. With effort I can think it through, sort out the speculation from the facts, calm my brain and remember that this too will pass.

What are your own tips for avoiding overwhelming anxiety?

All in all, this seems like the right time for me to take a short break from travel blogging, although I might try and conjure up some light-hearted content in the near future.

Take care everyone, stay kind and we’ll catch up soon.

Author: Back on the Road Again Blog

I write two blogs, one about my travels in our campervan and living well and frugally and the second about the stories behind the people commemorated in memorial benches.

24 thoughts on “In an Uncertain World & a Pandemic who needs a Travel Writer!”

  1. I share your misery!! However, many of us who follow you and who are also about to go into isolation (ie over 70) would love to continue to receive your missives even if they reflect on previous tours and perhaps comment on how you/we are getting through this episode. You would be providing a really useful social service if nothing else!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I am aware that being under 70 I have more choices than those a few years older than me. Do take care. Writing about previous trips might just make me cry too much … I’ll see but I will need to keep my writing muscles supple so who knows what will appear!


  2. Thank you for sharing, it certainly is an uncertain and worrying time for us all, but I think you are right about not addictively focussing on depressing news and trying to use what could be viewed as a precious gift of time and enforced slow-down constructively. I am currently entering my third week of lock down in Italy and published a survival strategy on my blog – How to Make Covid-19 Isolation SPLENDID. I don’t wish to belittle the seriousness, but I am Lancastrian and by nature, an optimist.

    I have taken a slightly different view on the travel writing. Since people are unable to travel, I thought that a bit of travel writing might help with a bit of vicarious enjoyment for the present and inspiration for when this terrible situation ends. I urge people to plan something wonderful to look forward to, perhaps using the money they save on this year’s cancelled trip. I have made my latest book Pups on Piste – A Ski Season in Italy free on Amazon for a few days (as long as Amazon allows!) from tomorrow so that people can have something to read in isolation, can get a ski fix where they have had their ski holidays cancelled and publicise the beautiful but relatively unknown area of Monte Rosa in Italy, which will really need their tourist dollars once things return to normal.

    Sending smiles and puppy cuddles to everyone.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I am sure your local businesses will love you for it and you are right, Morecambe has many merits! I have many happy memories of visiting as a child. I am more than happy to share posts on my FB accounts. I think one of the overwhelmingly positive outcomes of this terrible situation might be a pulling together to help each other. Once people can get over the panic buying!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Take care of yourselves – we all should take a leaf out of your book – we have so much to be blessed about- we are currently in a campsite in southern Spain – Spain has just ordered all campsites hotels etc to close apart from some specific areas and where they have long term residents – luckily we have been here since November and are deemed long term so can stay (we had planned to leave today and travel to Portugal ) although we are not permitted to leave the campsite unless to get food or chemist – we are lucky we have our health and the sunshine – keep positive and healthy 😄

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Carol – I saw this last night here on my phone & left a message, but wanted to touch base with you now I’m on the laptop checking email in between packing to leave Houston tomorrow – with heavy heart & a fair number of suppressed tears. We don’t know when we’ll be able to be with our family here & grandchildren next & that’s a tough one to live with. So I’m bottling up all the good moments and planning on more very essential Skypes when we’re back. Can we take off in the van once we’re back & settled a bit into the new lifestyle? We’re considering this – both clubs are staying open, independents are open – wild camping in Scotland kind of appeals – we’re pretty antisocial on site (but not unfriendly) & tend to choose a pitch away from main groupings….maybe we’ll venture off somewhere once we’ve settled. After all, the van is the home in wheels & we can isolate in that. Right now I’m focussing on getting home safely ( must be a blog post in that!) as our route back involves 3 fights since our return flight has been suspended. And I’ll get back to blogging/writing too – I can dig deep, share stories from previous trips etc. and you can too.

    I suspect people will appreciate vicarious travel articles – the yen to travel isn’t going to go away Thanks for your suggestions for coping with the anxiety & situation too. All helps in keeping the butterflies flying in formation in these challenging times. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you and do let us know when you’re home safely. It must be hard having family so far away, we are lucky that our son and daughter-in-law are only in Manchester! There are very divided views about going away camping, with divided and entrenched views on either side. I’d say you might want to be socially distanced for 14 days after your flights to check you aren’t infected and then who knows if we will still have our freedom! If we have I personally think some careful trips are fine and I don’t want to see campsites close due to lack of business. Some independent sites have closed but many are open. I’ll look forward to your posts, as ever. Take care.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It is certainly a challenging time Carol and your strategies for dealing with the anxiety that a situation like this can bring are all helpful for other people to consider. Limiting time on news channels and social media certainly helps with not going down the rabbit hole of ‘information overload’. For me, I’m trying to creat a routine where I compartmentalize my day into ‘chunks of time’ to do specific things and mentally tick them off when their done. For example, exercise (just outside the van), reading, language learning, podcasts, cooking etc. I have fallen foul in the last couple of days with looking at news sites but I try to keep myself in check and as soon as I realise I’m doing it I ask myself ‘is this helpful to me?’ That question soon helps me divert my attention elsewhere! Anyway, take care and I hope to see some future posts about whatever you feel inclined to write about!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. We will all get through this together! HUGS! It’s so disappointing canceling travel plans. I had to cancel my spring break plans. I’m an elementary school teacher so I can only travel certain times of the year. Traveling makes me the happiest and it’s just not an option for now. I’ve been trying to set up a virtual classroom where my students can still interact. They have loved the virtual field trip to National Parks, Zoos, Art Museums, and space.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. My three young adult children (the other is a 13-yr-old) were toddlers when Sept 11th happened. While we’ve had many conversations about that day (after all, our family suffered a personal loss at the Pentagon), the past few days we’ve been talking about what it was like several days AFTER Sept 11th. One of the common pieces of advice from mental health professionals back then was to turn off the non-stop news coverage, give your mind a break, and do something that brings you joy. While this pandemic is so different on so many levels, I think that’s still sound advice. We try to catch up on the news in the morning and then not read it again until the following day. We’re trying to take long walks while practicing social distancing. And we’re trying to focus on the things we’re grateful for during all of this uncertainty.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This sums up really well how so many of us are feeling. I’m not by any means in a high-risk demog, but I’m fearful of harm coming to anyone I know who is (I have a sister who’s asthmatic, aging parents and grandparents). It’s also times like these that it’s difficult to live so far away from my family in the UK. We’re lucky to have Facetime/Skype. I’m finding that watching the news first thing only is working for me. I’m also lucky enough to live a stone’s throw from a beautiful beach (not Bondi if you’ve seen the news), so breathing in fresh air is always a calming option.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. For the 1st time in 43 years, effective april 2and I will be out of a job with 0 income. I’m terrified but I know the entire world is in the same situation. Like you, I’ve started to avoid the news and social media. It’s way too depressing. I colour now to make my mind go blank lol. It helps.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. You are definitely not the only one out there. Many of us are confused, without a job and totally clueless about what to do next. Yes, we are bombarded by too much information, most of them are turning out to be false. Nevertheless, this too shall pass. Thanks for sharing your ideas on tackling coronavirus anxiety. I will use a few of them! Stay safe.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. It’s shocking how things have taken such a grim turn all over the world. Suddenly I feel guilty of sharing travel articles, but I keep saying with each of my shares #travellater. Coming from India, I know that privileged people like us need to be a lot more responsible. Daily-wagers already battling with extreme poverty, trying to give better lives to their next generation suddenly find themselves homeless and helpless all bcoz of an unknown disease imported by the rich.

    Liked by 1 person

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