The Anxiety to Return to Normal

The restriction measures around the world are now being lifted and along with the relief that we will be getting back to normal, the anxiety that the virus might become strong again or that one could get sick started to be on many people’s minds. Should we embrace or fear freedom?

Like in many other European countries, Romania will start relaxing the security measures for Covid-19 starting this week. The population was divided between those who were looking forward to going out and those who want to stay indoors to protect themselves. As a disclaimer, the measures in Romania were strict, people were only allowed to go out for urgent matters, work if that cannot be performed from home or shop.

Just as the animals from the circus, when facing freedom, many get scared and want to return to the cages, so how dangerous will it be to go out? Are we slaves to a false sense of security? Should we stay indoors forever? Should we go out and meet our friends and families? And how will we calm our anxiety about what is coming next?

Getting out of the house always meant risking, you could always get run over by a reckless driver, fell down and hurt yourself, get mugged, contact a contagious disease, and many other fatalist scenarios. Yet living means taking risks, we cannot place ourselves in a bubble and always be safe. Each time you get in a plane there is a risk of it crashing, each time to get behind the wheel there is a chance you might die. Unfortunately, the only certainty in life is that it will end, but before we die we first need to live, and as a result, take risks.

Like in every aspect of our life, we need to make sure there is a balance, we should not be meeting with many people, we should keep a safe distance and we should avoid elderly family members.

Another thing that is nowadays happening is the parties with Covid-19 positive people for the healthy ones to get the immunization. That is not how vaccine or medicine created from the plasma of the healed patience work, that is just plain stupidity. I am not surprised thou by the idiotic behavior since we are living in the era when the cinnamon challenge was a thing.

Learning to live with this virus, dealing with the risk of contracting the disease sometime in our lives, and also dealing with the anxiety that we are going to die someday is what we should be focusing on. None should be blamed for being afraid, yet we need to identify where this fear is coming from and work on solving the root cause.

In the last years, we lived in a society that made us afraid of everything, media and social media has always told us to look out for all the bad things that are happening in the world and that we need to get more and more layers of safety nets around us. Kids these days are raised with their parents doing everything for them and end up having zero exposure to real life. For many people out there, social distancing was not even an issue, since they were already living that lifestyle. Working from home, along with having a few or even none real-life friends, made them feel no difference. Even more, they were now told that their lifestyle is the correct one since it’s the safest.

Humans are social beings, we need the company and the presence of our families and friends to live a healthy and happy life. We need a partner to have a family of our own and the kids that we raise need to be independent enough to explore the world knowing that we are in proximity to help, “IF” needed. Also, after a certain time, we need to let the kids fly from our “nests” and create their own.

The coronavirus showed us not only how vulnerable we are when facing a pandemic, but also how affected we are by the smallest change in our routine. We are so used to living a safe and secure life that we are completely losing it when something disturbs our balance. Humanity has been through a lot and it has proven how adaptable we really are, this is not the first nor will it be the last pandemic that we will see.

Freedom is a basic need and right for every living being, or at least it should be, so gaining it back should bring us relief and should make us want to live a better life starting now, not scare us of what might happen “if”. There will always be “ifs” in our lives, we just have to do our best to live and work around those.

Note: This is not in any means an invite to be reckless in the time to come, we should maintain the social distance and follow the rules that are imposed by each country. I am positive that in the months to come, the virus will have fewer victims and by keeping the numbers low we can help the health system and the scientists that are working on creating a vaccine for the virus.

Life in the Time of Covid-19

It has been a few weeks since the quarantine life took over our normal lives and I feel like we are now starting to feel more and more anxious about it being over. Getting back to a now lost normality is on everyone’s mind and we cannot wait for the lockdown measures to be lifted so that we can once again go outside and enjoy what is left of spring. When this is all going to be over, what lessons should we remember?

It’s all a matter of perspective 

Whether we like it or not, the crisis that was started by the virus was one that we might’ve needed to set our priorities right. We are a guest on Earth and we need to respect nature. The virus could have been a lot worst, and even more, people could have died in case the measures of the lockdown wouldn’t have been taken.

Understanding what are the things that matter most in life was a lesson that we were all faced ti take at once. Freedom, the ability to see our friends and family, socialization, traveling, and in some cases work, were all striped in a second.

Many people lost their jobs, businesses are struggling and many life events were put on hold. Some got sick, and others lost loved ones in the battle with the virus. The world’s economy is now in danger and the tourism industry is on its knees. There will be an aftermath of this, even long after the restrictions are lifted, but we should be keeping in mind today’s feelings.

Even in times like this not all is lost, we should start looking at this from a different perspective. A retrospection of our lifestyle will be needed to realize what we can change to reduce our footprint on Earth. How we can do better and perhaps better prepare for next time.

The lucky ones

Being able to continue my work from home, having a stable environment and enough savings to make sure the effect of the virus will not be felt made me realize that I am among the lucky ones. I was in isolation along with my partner and he was still allowed to go to work, even if the business has suffered a major hit.

My family is still safe and I was able to go out for exercising and for walking my dog, even if for a short period of time and close to my home. The supply from the supermarkets was never low and the people quickly understood that there is no need for hoarding food, there is plenty left for everyone.

If you are one as well, together we need to help those who weren’t so lucky. Buying local should be on everyone’s mind today,  helping out people how are in need, volunteering, and trying to make a difference for those how took the fall.

Savings and investing during the pandemic

I am not in the trading domain and I do not have any experience with investments, therefore I went with the safest (for me) way and I decided that during this time I will not make any big purchases or invest in any companies. Perhaps many will say the exact opposite and perhaps they are right, but given my circumstances and the information that I have, I decided to play safe.

I was on the market on buying a house or land to build one, but I have put that plan on hold until the market will be a little more stable. Also, I have put on pause any big investment items that I thought about purchasing (car or designer pieces) since I am not sure if there will be an economic crisis and how bad it will be.

Even if I have always focused on paying my debts and on saving, during this time I think we should all understand that having a safety buffer for things like these is extremely important. Adjusting the budget and maybe evaluating the spending habits are definitely worth investigating.

A traveler in your own city/country 

This year will definitely not be the best time for travelers, but fear not, there is always a solution. The list of local places that I have always thought of going but never actually did, will now be used to schedule short trips. The restaurants that I want to check from my home town are on my plans as well.

Yes, it will be hard not to look for plane tickets and delay all the plans that I had for this year, yet I know that right now it’s the best and safest option. All of those places will still be there next year, so there is no need to rush things.

Apartment vs house 

All of my life I have lived in the city and in an apartment, therefore when I decided to buy one that was the most logical decision. Now, after experiencing life indoors I realized that having a house might actually be worth the commute.

I do believe that many will feel the same and in the upcoming period, we will all be hunting for a house. I do not know if the real estate market will be affected in the long term, but right now what I have seen is that houses are staying less than ever on the market. So if you are like me, then brace yourself there will be a battle to get a house these following months.

The virus has changed our lifestyle but this will not last forever. We will eventually recover and move on with our lives. We will be allowed to get out of our houses and many countries are lifting restrictions right now. The economy will bounce back in time and we will all heal from what happened. What we should still keep in mind though is how we felt during this time and the promises that we have made to ourselves.

In the end, it will be ok, if it’s not ok yet, then it means it’s not the end. #staysafe

 

Most Heroes are 3 feet Underground

Leaving aside the Hollywood interpretation of a hero with underwear showing and the ability to fly or move mountains, the “human” perspective of it can be found all around us. People who put themselves second and do good for the sake of others, they can be doctors, police officers, or just a random person jumping in a river to save someone else. But are they glorified or are they just waiting to be killed by their lifestyle?

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In the context of the pandemic, where many doctors got sick and even lost their lives, can we really blame the ones that decided to quit or retire when they were most needed? Is this a sign of betrayal, self conservation, or just a cry for help? Many will qualify this as a soldier deserting and running from the battlefield, others will say that in countries where they didn’t have protection or they were asked to come to work even if they were positive with COVID-19, they are to be understood. I do think it’s wrong to run, I do think that we all chose our careers knowingly and we all take into consideration the risks, but I also know that in times like these, being the hero means absolutely nothing. Going to war without a weapon is suicide and let’s face it, none will even remember their names once this is all gone.

During his 20s, my dad used to be part of the rescue team from the mountains. He would go save anyone who got lost, trapped in the snow or injured. A team of a couple of people would always risk their lives to save others, but as impressive as that sounds the truth was a bit different. People would be so stupid or stubborn to go behind their backs, not dressed appropriately, sometimes wearing sandals when on the top of the mountain snow could be found, with kids or alone, going off the trail, or on closed trails just because they could. When they would get in trouble those idiots would call and demand that the same people who told them not to climb, now come and rescue them.

In one year the snow was very heavy, a person got lost, although there was a restriction of going up the mountain, that person ignored it and now called to ask for help. The rescue team responded to the call and went to search for him, but not all returned, one of them fell because of the snow and died. He had a small girl at home and a wife. In the upcoming years, the old team would gather for Christmas to give candy to the little girl, but in time they stopped, they had families of their own or they just moved to a different city. Due to the stupidity of one, the life of another was lost. They ended up finding and saving the idiot but with the cost of the life of a hero. Looking back my dad says that he was crazy to do that, even though he loved the mountain it was not worth losing your life for others, yet the young him was convinced he was doing the noble thing. None even remembers his ex-teammate, his kid grew-up without her dad while the other one lived happily and told the story of when he was saved by the rescue squad.

Getting back to 2020 and the pandemic that is now going around the world, we have a new team of heroes that do their best to save as many lives as possible. Facing the enemy without appropriate gear, having to wash the masks that should be single-use, and with a system that is far from perfect to fight as well. Those are the ones that we now blame for wanting to save their lives, to put their families first. How would you feel if a parent, a spouse or a kid would be in the first line without the equipment they need? Would you judge them the same? Or would you find an excuse for them?

And even given these facts, the number of quitters is very small, the number of volunteers that decided to step in is huge. All around the world, there are campaigns to gather appropriate gear for the medical staff, restaurants and bars offer food and coffee for free and even cab companies offer free rides for anyone who works in the hospitals. New heroes emerge every day, people who genuinely want to do good. And right now the world relies on them.

If once this is all over the world would remember them, that is hard to guess, if you would ask me the answer is no, but that should never be the reason to do good in the first place. We act the way we do because that is what makes us feel good, not because of the fame or the gratitude that the world would express. There will be always those who change the course of history because they put themselves second, the ones who impacted lives with their abilities to fight and face the danger. Unfortunately, those will also be among the victims and will be forgotten in time, but that doesn’t mean that their effort would be for nothing, they will go by doing what they loved most.

There is a saying in Romania, that is better to live a single day as an eagle, rather than a full life as a chicken. The heroes that we now see fighting, those are the eagles that sometimes are saving other eagles and that is what counts. It’s up to each and every one of us to decide what we want to be in life, but also we need to understand that we have no right to judge from the comfort of our homes.

 

A Travelers Worst Nightmare

I think I speak in the name of quite a few travelers out there that we never thought that our passion will come to an abrupt end with the new pandemic that has taken over the world. Even though I know this might sound shallow, for many this was the fuel keeping us going and when this was taken away, we felt lost.

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Even though I know I am not at the level where I would travel full time and I could sustain myself from this lifestyle, I still feel like a huge part of my life was stripped and that now I might not be able to get it back just as fast as I initially thought. I monitored the situation ever since it began, especially with a trip to Africa planned at the end of February, but somehow I thought this will never become a world problem, but it will still be a China problem. As much as I would like to be politically correct, it’s the third time this happens for the same bloody reason, eating wildlife. I do not understand why there weren’t taken any actions taken after the last 2 viruses, but I will keep this speech for a different article.

Questions as: would we able to make it stop before we are all sick? Will we have a vaccine fast enough? Will we find a treatment that can save the lives of our loved ones? Those are all on our mind, along with: when will it be safe for me to travel again?

The past few years we experienced a boom in traveling on the plane tickets affordable to everyone, exotic destinations that became a norm on social media and we all took advantage of the wanderlust trend. But will it all be the same after this? Will the economy of the world be strong enough for the tourism industry, one of the worst affected areas, to bounce back? Or will we be thrown in a new game where traveling will be a luxury that only a few will afford?

I still see some nomads that refused to be chased by the virus and keep their current plans in place. A part of me thinks that it’s good that they kept going, but the other one knows that in times like these where countries could start a war in 5 seconds and when the medical system is down, it’s not a good idea to be far from home. Also, even the wild ones should listen to the authorities’ advice to stay indoors and isolated.

Following your passion should come second to responsibility, as much as you would want something, it’s important to understand that some reckless actions could cost lives, innocent lives. As much as it hurts me to make this call, we should all stop traveling, pause our pleasure, and think big, the action of the individual will change the history for generations.

Perhaps this was the awaking that we all needed to understand how lucky we are but also how fragile. Our fate can change in a blink of an eye and there is nothing that we can do about it. I have a feeling that once this is over the planes will be full, everyone will try to follow as many as their dreams as possible. The need to return to a once normality will be on everyone’s list, but the aftermath will still to be seen. If there will be another economic crisis, if we will be able to bounce back to our routine or if our days as world travelers will come to an end.

These days are the worst nightmare for everyone, we are trapped inside with spring-blooming outside and an invisible enemy lurking in the shadow. I look at an empty sky that was once filled with airplanes. I look at the deserted airports that are now closing because of the restriction and feel the loss. I turn to my travel photography to keep me dreaming of the moment I can resume my passion.