As governments around the globe impose lockdowns and people self-isolate, coronavirus (COVID-19) has hit the travel industry hard. The World Nomads Travel Podcast has suspended its regular destination episodes and, in their place, offering a daily round-up of the major coronavirus-related travel headlines.
00:31 Stephen is out of isolation
01:00 Adele parody
02:09 The cruise company admission
03:45 Where do I go?
05:07 Home to mom and dad
07:34 What travelers want to hear at the moment
09:25 Next episode
"India was the first country to put on such a strict travel restriction. They revoked all travel visas and even though I have a 10-year visa for the country, all my belongings are in the country. All of a sudden was no longer able to go back to where I had been living and where I had months of meditation courses planned and checks planned and writing projects planned. And so my challenge was, well now where do I go, how do I shift what my next few months were going to look like until I can get back into India? And then it was like by the hour, every country was closing down their borders, imposing restrictions. I'd finally made a plan to go to South Africa and I woke up to the news that they had banned American citizens from coming in." - Alicia
Alicia Erikson is a digital nomad based between, East and Southern Africa, and India. Her insatiable thirst for travel inspires her writing and drives her to seek out off-the-beaten-path destinations, sustainable travel, food culture, and stories of places that have yet to be told.
Follow Alicia on Instagram @alicia_erickson
What is the COVID virus and how you can protect yourself?
In self-isolation? You can put your time to good use practicing your travel writing skills
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Kim: In this episode, a digital nomad forced home to her parents, what people are doing to spread laughter during the pandemic, and the latest US travel restriction.
Speaker 2: Welcome to the new daily World Nomads podcast. We'll be keeping you up to date with travel alerts, information about coronavirus and sharing some uplifting news and views to inspire you and keep you smiling.
Kim: Hi, it's Kim and Phil with you and another episode focusing on travel news surrounding the coronavirus, but first Phil, an uptight on yesterday's guest, Steven. He was recently married. Now yesterday he said he had four or five days left in self-isolation, but that was at the time I recorded him. So he's now out of the master bedroom and out of isolation and has shared a long overdue glass of champagne with his bride.
Phil: Oh, that's fantastic. Congratulations to them too. Look, despite social distancing and self-quarantine, people are using their time and skills to spread some laughter like the Adele parody written and recorded by Chris Mann on GarageBand.
Chris Mann: (singing)
Kim: That's so cool.
Phil: And it's as fun to watch as it is to listen to, so we'll share that in the show notes. As I record this from my pillow fort and are you still in your wardrobe?
Kim: Yeah, I'm still in the wardrobe.
Phil: Look in other headlines, while government officials are asking people to stay home, people are still traveling in the US but Rhode Island has issued an order demanding all travelers into the States self-quarantine for 14 days, and travelers entering Florida should expect to be stopped and screened heavily. The Mormon church meanwhile has chartered jets to take 1600 missionaries around the world back home and the world's largest cruise operator, Carnival Cruises. Weren't they the owners of the Diamond Princess, the ship reportedly became a coronavirus breeding ground?
Kim: Yes, yes.
Phil: That's them. Anyway, they've admitted the sector may never recover from the pandemic and they're asking for $6 billion in funding.
Kim: We have spoken to Alicia Erickson, Phil, on our destination episodes before. She's a digital nomad based between East and Southern Africa and India, but she'd been holidaying with her dad in Indonesia when she had to make a mad scramble back to her mom and dad in Seattle.
Alicia Erickson: Yeah, so I had a bit of a tumultuous couple of weeks followed by a very last minute trip back to Seattle that I think was one of the last flights leaving here, leaving to here from Indonesia. So I had been living in India, which was where I was the last time we chatted for about the last six months. I'm a nomad, I work remotely, I have no home. That's just my lifestyle and I always take it for granted that I can move wherever I want, that I can easily get visas for if I want to go and just live out of a backpack. And I left Indonesia for a, India for a couple of weeks to meet my dad in the Philippines and Indonesia, was just hanging out. Coronavirus was starting up, but it wasn't a big concern in India or anywhere really where I was.
Alicia Erickson: And then overnight, India was the first country to put on such a strict travel restriction. They revoked all travel visas and even though I have a 10-year visa for the country, all my belongings are in the country. All of a sudden was no longer able to go back to where I had been living and where I had months of meditation courses planned and checks planned and writing projects planned. And so my challenge was, well now where do I go, how do I shift what my next few months were going to look like until I can get back into India? And then it was like by the hour, every country was closing down their borders, imposing restrictions. I'd finally made a plan to go to South Africa and I woke up to the news that they had banned American citizens from coming in.
Alicia Erickson: And then I came to the realization that every country around the world was shutting down. So would I want to be stranded in a country that I don't know with restaurants closed with no one I know with no travel writing work available or should I try to come back to the US where I haven't lived permanently since I graduated from university about eight years ago, but I have two houses with my parents I can live in? Do I try to find myself a little island to get stranded on until I can leave and not know what's going to happen?
Kim: So you're back home and either mom or dads?
Alicia Erickson: Yeah, exactly. And I was so fortunate, I couldn't get a flight out as soon as I wanted and so once I booked my flight, I was just keeping my fingers crossed that no flights were canceled. And when I was in the Bali airport, about every flight except for mine to Taipei was canceled. And then the same thing from Taipei to Seattle, the only flights operating anymore were to the West coast of the US and to Australia. Everywhere else was canceled. So I was very fortunate.
Kim: You a traveler, but you're also a creative person. Being a travel writer, your income is going to be massively affected. And I'm not saying that too depress you, but have you had a chance to think about how you can spin this around?
Alicia Erickson: Yeah, it's given me a lot of thought. Well, I mean when I had my week of stress and depression, it's kind of spun around a bit. So I'm fortunate that I work remotely as a political analyst as well. So my income is split between the two industries, so I do have that to fall back on. And the other interesting thing is as a writer, how many corona related writing opportunities are popping up. And so while I can't be traveling at the moment, I get to shift my focus and completely rethink, okay, what experiences and what backgrounds do I have to write about Corona related topics?
Alicia Erickson: And while I can't write about the medical and not qualified for medical-related topics, there's a lot on mindfulness, which can relate to my background in yoga and meditation. Staying mindful and positive during this or I also have a background in policy and okay, what are the political effects on underserved populations? So I'm really trying to find a focus on writing on refugees or like slums and how they're impacted by corona in a way that isn't necessarily covered by more Western media. And so it's been an interesting challenge to see how I can shift my focus as well as my source of income during this time.
Kim: Okay. Act as my brain trust. What sort of things in your community, in the traveling community, what are they wanting to know about COVID-19?
Alicia Erickson: So a lot of what they're wanting to know, whether it's personal stories of travelers getting stranded, whether it's local alerts, travel warnings in your local city. They're also wanting to know stories, kind of feel-good stories about communities coming together, helping each other is really unique and creative ways. Staying connected by being apart. So there's a lot of that helping, keeping yourself healthy and active. What are other ways to do with your time? I'm also interested in looking at the massive hits that we'll take on the tourist industry. They're looking at alternatives to travel, how you can travel within your own home, like through documentaries or through travel books. So yeah, there's a big variety, big call for information.
Kim: Is that mom or dad washing up in the background?
Alicia Erickson: My dad. Yeah.
Kim: In closing, any messages for the traveling community you'd like to share?
Alicia Erickson: I think the hardest thing that I felt when I was leaving Indonesia was just seeing the hit that the tourist industry was taking and how sad it was for knowing the locals who were knowing that they would have no source of income for the coming months. So if you're still traveling to invest to the extent you can in the really, really small scale local family businesses. And for those who aren't, knowing that travel will happen again, but to feel fortunate for the freedom in the first place to move around and not take for granted a passport or a lifestyle that will allow you to travel because there are so many citizens in the world who don't have such freedoms. And I've definitely had that shift in perspective.
Kim: Thanks so much Alicia, and to share your story, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Now, tomorrow Phil, an asthmatic nomad and her concerns for not only her health obviously, but the travel industry as she self isolates in Uruguay.
Phil: Okay. Bye.
Speaker 2: The World Nomads podcast. Explore your boundaries.