It is the strangest time to be travelling. I am witnessing both up close and from a great distance what it’s like to move in a pandemic society. I hear stories from all over the world. The US has put a travel ban on Europe, Italy closed its border, the Netherland went in full panic mode and in Australia and New Zealand they are all out of toilet paper.
Meanwhile, I am in Indonesia. When I look around, about half the people are wearing a mask. Shaking hands doesn’t happen here anyway, so that didn’t change. People are still sitting close together. I hear somebody cough, but nobody is suddenly moving to the other side of the room. Nobody seems to be actually scared. It could all be an illusion of course. I don’t even speak the language, they could be making doomsday jokes for all I know. The people I do speak, mostly travellers, aren’t as relaxed. Everybody is constantly checking the new. Can they still go home? Will they close the airports? What will happen if they are forced to stay somewhere?
I was supposed to go to Korea. I was going to visit an old school friend, do a Taekwon-Do history tour and try to discover some more than the last time I was there. Now the tour is cancelled. I still want to visit that friend, but as soon as I cross the border, I will be banned from at least five other countries that I wanted to visit during this trip. Unless I get a health certificate or go in quarantine for two weeks. So maybe I have to skip it. I already booked a ticket, but I didn’t pay big money for it, so even if I can’t get it refunded it wouldn’t mean the end of the world. Or this trip.
Because I am not done with travelling yet. What am I supposed to do: go back home and stock up on toilet paper with everybody else? I’d rather see in which countries public life is still ongoing and there are still things to do. I’ll just wash my hands more often and hope my immune system is better equipped to handle corona than traveller’s disease. That had me under for a week. What a waste of time, being sick.