Sitting here in Minca when the government has all but shut down the country makes you understand how much things have changed and also how life still has to go on if differently than it did before. Any place where you could have congregated has now been shutdown. In the region, all national parks have been closed, many of the bus lines people use to get from Santa Marta to Minca have closed while more expensive transit options like taxies are still up and running. It all becomes about money, who has it and who is willing to spend it.
For someone like me who is just trying to be as cost efficient as possible that means what options I do have, have constricted even further. It isn’t bad but it isn’t good. There is a curfew for everything, with the majority of things being closed from 2000 hours to 0400. That means there are no restaurants, clubs or anything else open right now? How long can this continue is unknown. We are now living on virus time, as the cases increases and where the procedures and limits of freedom of movement follow. It is the world we are living in right now.
The markets are dominated by the impact that this is having on the economy. Much of what you hear is about flattening the curve, about where and what is happening. As a traveler, you have to consider the warning about heading home, the Canadian Government has said to “Avoid non-essential travel outside Canada until further notice.” (as of this writing and this will change and eventually become irrelevant, hopefully) This is the world we are living in now.
While the government says to go home, since I was going to be out of country for months it makes more sense to stay in one place rather than try to go back to Canada and risk getting infected in an airport. When I started traveling South America, I didn’t plan to return for at least 6 months, and even with all the limits imposed by COVID-19 aka the coronavirus I don’t want to risk going into an airport and risk exposure or quarantine back in Canada. How long can entire countries be closed off before people begin to test the limits of their restrictions is unknown but the longer this goes on the more people will begin to test those limits and get beyond them.
That is just the reality of where we are right now. I don’t want to be a risk to my family with the potential to catch COVID-19 on my way home, even if its not likely, its still a possibility. I don’t want to stop living my life just because of what is going on. I feel safer being away from Canada than I would going back and you have to understand that can always change and be ready to adapt to whatever life throws your way. This is a list of some of the best resources that track the progression of COVID-19. It is scary how fast this novel coronavirus has spread across the world and its exponential growth has led to a change in our very routine behaviours out of s need to protect those who are most at risk.
Although I agree that the travel advisory had to go out even if I am not going to follow their direction. I will not go back to Canada because that door has closed on me and because of the cost and risks traveling by plane has at the moment. It means being holed up in Minca, until the authorities deem it safe to travel by the normal means. It means keeping up-to-date on the information on borders but also it means taking the time to get to know Minca a little more and get a feel for her and her people, maybe make some friends and diminish the chaos for the quiet of the hills and early nights.
That’s the best I can do at the moment, I can’t avoid people entirely, that’s just not realistic when you are staying in shared accommodation but I can wash my hands religiously, write and try to use this time to cut down on my distractions so I can find a story to tell. Be safe, travel carefully, if you have to, if you are already out there, stay current, make informed decisions and see you after the chaos of this moment passes into history.