In times like this, when crisis and panic are your neighbours, it’s even more important now to stay calm, sane and positive. A few weeks ago, I did not think that the coronavirus outbreak could affect us during our stay here on Koh Phangan. In fact, I didn’t even pay much attention to it, as I don’t read/watch the news. Only when people started talking about it in Facebook groups and when they cancelled one of the events we were supposed to attend in Europe, I knew, the upcoming months would be changing drastically…
And that’s ok. We are stuck in paradise, it could be worse.
No, seriously, I mean, at first, it sucked, sure. Especially because we lost around 1000 Euro due to non-refundable accommodation bookings and flight changes, not considering the potential business ops that such events mean for us. But hey, in the end, it is only money. We are not hurt or don’t suffer anything other than being forced to change our travel plans.
So, I know this is complaining on a high level. Therefore, I decided to not think about it any longer. Why waste this kind of energy if you simply can not change it?
Here is our Coronavirus Diary, to give you a daily update on how things go here in Thailand:
Why every crisis is also an opportunity
A few weeks ago, I talked about this on my Instagram feed and wondered how many people are actually thinking about the Covid-19 outbreak as a positive thing. I, by no means, want to belittle things and I truly feel sorry for those who are affected and suffer from the virus’ effects. But at the same time, I think we all need a little upbeat music in this orchestra of serenades.
And that’s why I think, we should start to put this into perspective, so here are some stats for you:
- Seasonal flu deaths this year: 102,429
- Road traffic accident fatalities this year: 284,514
- Deaths caused by smoking this year: 1,053,641
- Deaths caused by Coronavirus this year: 154,388 (18th of April 2020)
- Recovered Coronavirus Cases: 575,837 (18th of April 2020)
Again, I am not trying to diminish any concerns about this virus, but before you start buying supplies or survival kits, please look at the stats without the panic glasses on – according to worldometer.com ‘an estimated 290,000 to 650,000 people die in the world due to complications from seasonal influenza (flu) viruses’ – every year. This is a fun website to check out, by the way, but that’s a different topic, let’s go back and focus on the stats again.
What do you think are the causes for the worldwide panic and hysteria then?
Exactly. The media and our governments are freaking us out. Right!? Even if the virus spreads in an extremely rapid manner, and ok, yes, it is highly contagious but AGAIN, look at the numbers, PLEASE. It is still not some sort of killer virus that goes around to erase human mankind. I simply don’t get why in Europe now panzers and the military pop up like pimples! Do you?
Why the f… are we not globally staying at home for two weeks or more and the whole drama would come to an end?! Seriously, if the lockdowns are there to minimise the spread or even eliminate the virus, then it should be done on a global level. Otherwise, all the individual efforts of those countries who are putting their people under quarantine or into lockdowns will be in vain.
What I truly appreciate, in times like this, is the fact that our travel insurance is covering us all the way, even when my home country’s companies long have turned their backs on us! In general, I am a big fan of SafetyWings, they are such a great solution for nomads like us. Plus, I met the Co-funder of SafetyWings in Chiang Mai and learned that the company is not only delivering great products and solutions for location-independent people but also are truly idealistic and visionaries too.
Back to our story.
How Coronavirus messed up our travel plans:
For us, travelling is not some sort of vacation – it has turned into our lifestyle. This means, when I say that our travel plans have been messed up, I am actually talking about that our life, in general, has come to a halt, as we don’t have a home base. So, every flight that we have to cancel means that we don’t know where else to go, or at least, we have to rethink again. Yes, we are homeless but happy, so to say.
But especially during a crisis like this one, it makes it a bit more complex: if your government tells you to return to your home country, they are talking about ‘normal’ people with a home and a life there. We don’t have either.
So, when we came to Chiang Mai in January where I gave a talk on social media marketing at Nomad Summit, our plan was to continue in March from there to Italy to attend another travel conference. As you can imagine, this conference was cancelled.
This was the first blow because without the conference our flights to Europe became obsolete: why head to Europe if there is nothing but cold weather (well, and lovely grandparents, uncles and aunts, and some friends, of course)?
So, we decided to spend some money to change our flights (=445 Euro) and extend our visa (=100 Euro) for another 30 days.
It seemed to be a smart decision back in February because we thought that with the upcoming speaking gigs in Georgia in May (Nomad Summit) and Rumania in July (Bansko Nomad Fest), we will have to fly to Europe anyways… we still don’t know if those will happen – who knows for how long the worldwide air travel ban will last.
As of the moment of writing (18th of April 2020), the situation in Europe seems to become under control though, so there’s hope.
Currently, our visa is valid through to the 30th of April, and then we will have to see what the Thai government decides for those foreigners in their country who have already overstayed their normal visas, like us.
A month ago, we were looking at these three options:
Leave Thailand and go to X destination Leave Thailand and come back in (aka do a visa run) Take our scheduled flight to GermanyAll three options stopped being options by the end of March when Thailand closed its borders and international air traffic was put to a halt. (see updated text in red below for the current situation here in Thailand)!
UPDATE (18th of April 2020): Thailand’s borders are still closed The country is still under a state of emergency. At the beginning of April, the Thai premier minister officially announced that most foreigners’ visas will be renewed automatically until the 30th of April.
As of the moment of writing, this is the situation with Coronavirus in Thailand:
- Total Cases: 2733
- Active Cases: 899
- Recovered: 1787
- Deaths: 47
The German embassy helped stranded tourists to get an extension to be able to overstay their visa without being fined. On April 5th, our flight got cancelled, so we were part of the group of foreigners affected who got stuck in Thailand.
Looking back now, we have had so little restrictions for our daily life here and have been able to participate in pleasant activities such as going to the beach, driving around the island on our scooter or using the resort’s pool, that we are very grateful and happy that we decided and were forced to stay put.
Still, I can only say, thank you, COVID-19 for making all our lives a bit more complex.
I will update this post on a frequent basis, so make sure to bookmark this page and check back on a frequent basis if you are interested in how our journey will continue…
In the meantime, stay safe and healthy. <3
Oh and, here are two websites that I think everyone should know of…