Isolation in the Time of Coronavirus

This too shall pass.

Persian adage
A message from 9 to 5 Voyager about keeping your spirits up in the face of border closings due to coronavirus.
Image courtesy of

Surprising no one, my planned voyage to Panama and Colombia was canceled at the last minute; both countries closed their borders due to the threat of coronavirus.

This hit me especially hard because I had been looking forward to traveling again. It had been 11 months since I’ve explored Guatemala, and I was already feeling some strong wanderlust.

I told Kristen that we should go to Charleston, South Carolina before they started shutting things down stateside. We planned to go this weekend. The day after making this plan, South Carolina declared a state of emergency.

I figured at least I could do my weekly security gig at the event center, just to get out of the house and make some extra money. And then Kristen reminded me that while coronavirus may not pose a threat to me, it certainly would to her grandparents, whom she went to see regularly.

I can’t speak for all travelers when I say that I felt a very real yearning for adventure, an urge to pit my vitality against an unseen enemy and wander the earth in the face of an unknown pandemic. I feel that I can speak for all travelers when I say that not being to travel to the ends of your city, let along the ends of the earth, sucks.

This is made worse by the fact that many bus companies and airlines are not refunding their canceled tickets, but merely offering vouchers. While this is better than just plain losing all that money, it’s not great because who knows when this is all going to blow over?

Even the world’s response to coronavirus can be frustrating. I’m just old enough to remember both H1N1 Swine Flu and SARS, both fearsome diseases. In neither case could I remember health organizations and governments issuing such drastic isolation protocols.

Unfortunately, it is what it is. This will be our new normal for the time being. We’re all experiencing a little bit of trepidation over trip deprivation. But the Center for Disease Control and Prevention is offering their best advice, and it’s in all our best interests to follow it as best we can.

In the meantime, keep doing other things that you enjoy. Read a travel book. Watch a travel movie. Plan out your next trip. If it’s in your means, maybe even keep your spirits up by ordering a new travel backpack or some new travel gear. Try making some of that delicious Dalgona coffee making the rounds on social media (I have, and it’s great)!

Above all, keep your hopes up and remember that this too shall pass. Check-in with the people in your life. Practice self-care.

Here’s hoping all this blows over quickly and we can return to getting out there as soon as possible. The world will still be there.

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