I don’t know what to say. I’m devastated. On February 05, 2020 we set off on our world trip and almost a month later we are sitting at the airport heading for home.
Last night… 7:30 pm — the president, Cyril Ramaphosa, of South Africa speaks to the people and inhabitants. We sit in our AirBnB, which we have rented for another week, in Cape Town and listen to him and hope until the last second. But it happens, he declares a national emergency and speaks of drastic measures. We look at each other and do not know what to do.
Review: Since 2012 I’ve been planning this trip in my head. Since 2012 I have been gathering information via travel blogs, following travel influencers and have been mentally ready for it for years. The obstacles (work, selling everything, etc) that my wife and I have overcome to even start in February 2020, all for nothing?
We are thinking, shall we go on? Go where? The news changes hourly.
Countries are closing their borders. Where do we want to be stuck? We don’t know the country and we don’t know how people will react in a lockdown. Are they getting aggressive? In Vietnam, aggression against foreigners has increased because people are worried they are infected. Everything feels dirty. We feel uncomfortable when a foreigner comes too close. Be it in a shop, in a cafe or just on the promenade by the sea.
Our psyche is playing a game and we don’t know how to fight it.
Now we sit here, at the airport of Cape Town and do what our head recommends us to do, but our heart is breaking. Cancel the journey.
Why did we decide? Actually, it’s logical.
Why did we first want to travel. People!
We are both very communicative people and love to get to know the inhabitants of a new country and to settle into its culture. We wanted to meet digital nomads like us, exchange ideas, go to workshops and concerts. Sitting in a full coffee or chatting with other travellers or locals on the beach. Go to the mosque and just pray — but the mosques are closed. What a strange thought..
Yes, we just wanted to experience the world as it is. Or rather, the way it was…
Now that every country is announcing drastic measures like a domino stone, taking away from us and from hundreds of thousands of travellers what travel was all about, then it is no longer travel for us.
How can we ignore this situation? At home, the measures are getting worse and worse, the number of infected is increasing and we sit here and travel the world? We cannot go any further.
We must now fight together as human beings against an invisible enemy.
But without weapons. These are useless.
No, with patience and prayer. With family and friends.
Why should we in a foreign country go in isolation, when our family and friends need us so badly. So we have decided… Back to the roots to face this difficult and stressful situation together.
As I am sitting by the sea and it is a beautiful blue sky. The weather is warm and my heart is getting heavier and heavier as I turn around, back to the apartment. Packing my things.
But we will manage. Together.
Our thoughts are with family and friends and we are looking forward to seeing them all again.
I know we are very privileged to be able to do something like a world trip and we can’t complain, which we don’t do either.
But every traveller in the world who has dreamed months or even years towards this moment knows what I am trying to say with my words here. It was one of the most difficult decisions in my life, but the right one. Yes, the trip is cancelled — for the moment.
We, as humanity, will make it and then people will come out of this phase much stronger.
The little things will be appreciated a thousand times over.
The hugs, the social contacts, the workshops, the events and the carefree travelling. The offline networking with people.
I wish everyone lots of strength and health and clarity.
We can only connect the dots if we look backwards. And I am really looking forward to the good times after this chaos when we can meet each other again in café’s all over the world and shake hands or hug each other, smile, talk and just do what humans must do in order to make progress, socialise!
That’s why, Maktub. It all has a meaning.
May peace be with you, Lark