I haven’t done a life update on my blog yet but, due to the recent events, I thought it might be a good idea. A lot of things happened since the beginning of the year and every time I feel that things are falling into place, something else that I have no control over comes along. Such as the so discussed coronavirus. But I won’t talk too much about it and not yet anyway.
I started 2020 in Tanzania, with beautiful people and wonderful experiences that left deep marks on my soul. Besides the touristy things, I chose to immerse myself into the culture and get to know the country and its people better. I spent time with volunteers at Hostel Hoff in Moshi, going around different projects and meeting beautiful children in orphanages. It was a lesson on how privileged we actually are, seeing how hard it is for others to get access to education and to live a decent life in a loving home, with a proper bathroom and maybe hot water.
Spending a few days with a local family in an off the beaten path village was another experience that taught me a lot about the culture of Tanzania. People live simple lives, have simple homes, and have time to spend with their families, as phone signal and internet access are rare in the countryside. Most of the tourists only go to Tanzania for safaris, to climb Kilimanjaro and to splurge on expensive resorts in Zanzibar, without making an effort to connect with the locals and understand what makes the country so rich and beautiful: its inhabitants and their traditions.
Letting off the steam:
As I returned from Tanzania, in January, after months of searching, I found my perfect home in the South of London. I decided to move away from Spain for many reasons. Whilst Spain is a great country to travel through, I can’t say the same about living here. Sure, I have a wonderful spacious apartment in a complex with underground parking and three pools for which I pay less as I will in London for a much, much smaller place, but what’s the point when there is nobody around to enjoy it with? Most of the people I know here are retired expats or families with young children, who don’t share the same interests as me. As a freelancer with a passion for traveling, I found it very hard to integrate in these groups. It’s not nice to be told that traveling is a waste of time and not be able to reply, just to avoid conflicts in the group! I did try making other friends with the same mindset as myself, but the language barrier prevented me from succeeding. Ironically enough, I met a wonderful blogger who lives in a town 10 minutes away from mine, just as I’m preparing to leave the country.
Maybe if the circumstances were different, I would have loved living in Spain. But I have been miserable for at least one out of the two years spent here. I feel that I lost myself and that I’ve made too many compromises just to be able to integrate in an environment not compatible with my lifestyle. I have ignored my feelings and my believes just to please, without realising how much it affected my own well-being. I took the decision to move to London in September, after a series of events made me acknowledge that if something ever happens to me, I’ll be on my own. And my fears came true, in December, when I’ve fallen very sick and had to drive myself 30 kilometres during rush hour, to the nearest hospital with pains in my chest, coughing blood, unable to breath. Twice in one week.
After countless hours spent on Zoopla and emails sent to different agents, I finally found my perfect home. Even if I was looking for a flat, I managed to rent a little house, with a beautiful garden, in what seems to be a quiet, beautiful area, close to fast public transport. In January I flew to London, paid the deposit and signed the contract, without telling anyone. So this is pretty much the official announcement: I’m moving back to my beloved London! Officially, I am moving in on the 1st of April! And I couldn’t be happier to get back to my city and to my people.
But meanwhile, something else started to disrupt my life: coronavirus!
Can’t skip the coronavirus… can I?
This blog is my business, my full-time job. I have worked so hard for the past 4 years, creating content and useful information that will make your holiday planning easier, and that will give you ideas on where to travel off the beaten path, to have amazing local experiences. Unfortunately, since the end of February, because of the damn coronavirus and people stopping booking holidays, my traffic has started to go down. Not only that, but my affiliate sales have taken a big hit as well. This has direct impact on my income!
The entire tourism sector has been hardly hit and from worrying, at the end of February, we are all now panicking. If coronavirus managed to bankrupt Flybe, which by the way was an awesome airline and will be deeply missed, what will it do to us, the small entrepreneurs and freelancers who rely on people traveling? It’s astonishing how the entire world is now on pause!
Because my beloved business seems to be going downhill, my personal life is affected as well. I can’t seem to find a moment of peace, where I am not worrying and not thinking about what’s going to happen next. Very often I wake up in the middle of the night at the edge of a panic attack, unable to go back to sleep. Being unsure of what the next day is going to bring is very unsettling.
The living situation is not better either. With only two weeks left until my moving date, it becomes more and more uncertain if I will be able to go ahead with it. This morning Spain has quarantined its first 4 cities, after the number of cases raised with almost 900 yesterday. With the entire country closing all schools, universities and ban any public gatherings, it’s not long until the lock down will be set in place, same as in Italy. I don’t want to get stuck here but I am unable to leave earlier either Yesterday morning, as I couldn’t sleep, I went early to the supermarket, just as they opened, for my weekly food shopping. In the afternoon, the newspapers were reporting that the shelves of the supermarkets in my area were empty, which is so hard to imagine, being there just hours before. Meat, pasta, toilet paper – all gone. Considering that most of the houses in Spain have bidets, the shortage of toilet paper from the stores is very unusual.
I am trying to stay as calm as possible, indoors, hoping that this madness will come to and end soon. I blame the media for creating panic among the population around the world and the Governments for not taking the necessary steps to contain the virus before climbing fast towards its peak. Schools, universities, public gatherings, should have been closed and banned a long time ago, not now, when it’s a bit too late. I try to stay away from social media as much as I can, as there is so much fake news going on around it. Curing coronavirus with vitamin C, drinking water to push the virus into your stomach so that the acid will kill it, conspiration theories about the virus being created in a lab, and the list can go on to the infinite. Honestly, stay away from it, nothing is true and the only source of information you should follow is the World Health Organisation.
The good things:
There has been some good news during these past two months as well. My blog has been recognised as one of the best 25 travel blogs in the UK by Feedspot, on the 12th position, which was a very nice surprise. Last month I have also sold one of my photos from Malaga to the Geo Saison Magazine in Germany, who decided to use it on a full page in their May edition. I am looking forward to seeing it in print!
One of my Instagram videos won me a trip to Jordan, from Exodus travels, which I hope to take in late September, if the situation around the globe stabilises until then.
That’s it for now. Hopefully the next life update will be much more positive!
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