Hey there, long time no blogging. So the last two weeks on the road were a bit of a doozie and I didn’t get to finish a lot of posts I was working on but I’ll update you quickly on what’s been going on with us!
We had been monitoring the whole corona virus situation fairly closely because we were in Southeast Asia when the announcement was made by WHO in early January. We followed along with mandated measures in Vietnam (like mandatory masks while riding the train to and from Hanoi) and went through lots of fever/health screenings at airports. Everything seemed under control and we were never worried about getting sick.
By late February we were in our island hopping paradise in the Andaman sea and gearing up for our trip to India, not thinking too much about countries closing down. However, our first indication that things were escalating was our flight to Delhi — it was nearly empty. At that point, India had only a dozen cases and they were isolating everyone that they came into contact with, so it all seemed fine. Our first few days were great and then while visiting the Taj Mahal, we hit our first big roadblock — Bhutan closed its borders to tourists three days before we were supposed to fly there. We worked with our travel agency to come up with a plan and we ultimately decided to reroute that week to southern India.
Everything was booked for a week of exploring the state of Kerala and we hopped on the plane from Dehli super early in the morning. When we arrived, the state of Kerala had just discovered 12 new cases of COVID-19 and they shut all tourist attractions down (as well as schools and a lot of businesses). So basically we had no where to go since most of our bookings were based on exploring those types of places. At this point, the cases in the US were doubling every day and Europe was in a state of emergency.
The second day in Cochin was spent monitoring the news in our hotel room and discussing/researching our options for the next few weeks. We were booked to go to Indonesia for the rest of March and we thought maybe we could swing it, but it was such a remote location that we opted to cancel. We couldn’t afford to be away from the news for as long as we had planned given how quickly the governments around the world were making decisions. Then that evening, Trump announced he was closing down travel from Europe and the state department issued their first warning to citizens abroad about returning home. All of that sealed our fate and we booked a flight back to the US for the next day.
On March 13th, we started our 30 hour journey back to Portland, OR from Cochin, India. It was a very bittersweet moment getting on the long haul flight from Singapore to San Francisco. I knew that coming back to the US was the best decision but I was so upset that we had to end the trip the way we did. It was also mildly disturbing that there were no health screenings to get into the USA upon arrival at SFO. Also all of the airports we were traveling through were very empty. We had flown through Singapore four times during our trip and seeing the Jewel closed was pretty eery.
We had grand plans for our arrival to the US, including staying in Portland for our two week voluntary self-isolation, but while we were in the air everything changed. Portland had shut down everything and groceries were hard to come by. So after a few days of sleeping off our jet lag and watching states all over the US shut down and issue stay-at-home orders, we decided to head east to where our families are and try to figure out a long term (less expensive) living arrangement. We grabbed the Subaru out of storage, along with some more cold weather clothing options and my vitamix (haha), and embarked on a road trip to Florida. Matt’s sister and her family were amazingly kind enough to offer us their weekend home near Tallahassee to stay in while we figure things out. A month later, we are still here but no closer to figuring out what to do next. I’ll keep you all updated on what we decide, but ideally we go back out later this year. It’s an unpredictable time and I am going through a lot of emotions as of late about the whole thing.
So long story short, we are in the US, safe and sound and thankful for family. I plan to restart my efforts of working on the posts because we went to so many amazing places and only maybe 30% are documented here at the moment. I hope you all are well and staying safe in your respective isolations!