Travel as we know it has become a temporary impossibility as the world stays home and practices social distancing. But here's the thing: For Journy, travel has always been just as much about the people as the places. After all, it's those we meet along the way that shape our adventures the most, shifting the way we view and move through the world. So no, we're not going anywhere anytime soon. But that doesn't mean we can't continue sharing stories of people around the world, stories that will hopefully generate understanding and empathy for other cultures—showing us that we're perhaps more alike in our shared human experiences than we are different.
That's why we're launching a new series, "Postcard From Home." Each week, we'll showcase what "home" looks like in the age of COVID-19. How people around the world are social distancing, what they're eating/reading/watching/listening.
First up? Gabriela, a member of Journy's reservation team who, in addition to handling bookings, also manages our chat system to respond to YOU, our travelers, as quickly as possible.
For the past five years, Gabriela—who's originally from Guatemala— has been living on and off in Punta del Diablo, a small fishing and surfing town on the coast of Uruguay (six months there in the summer, followed by six months traveling).
We caught up with her to see how things are going...
1. What’s the current situation in the city/town where you’re living? Are you allowed to leave your home? Are you in an official quarantine? Or just practicing social distancing?
Punta del Diablo is a small town on the eastern coast of Uruguay, and most people are being very conscious of the whole situation. This is also a seasonal town, which means that most of the income comes from tourism during summer (mostly from renting accommodations)—and then there is no income during winter. Because of the coronavirus, the season ended one month before it was supposed to. It’s a tough situation—some people are still renting, others have stopped even if they know it will deeply affect them.
I am allowed to leave home since we are not in an official quarantine; however, I have imposed a voluntary quarantine on myself and leave home only for groceries and once or twice a day to walk the dogs: Loba and Mia.
2. How has your daily routine changed because of coronavirus? Describe to me what a typical day looks like for you now.
I don’t receive any visits, and I don’t visit friends anymore. I used to attend yoga classes in town early in the morning and I don’t hang out on the beach anymore except for the walks with the dogs.
My typical day: I wake up at 7AM to walk the dogs on the beach and avoid any other people. At 8AM our yoga teacher gives online classes through Zoom. At 9AM, I prepare breakfast and sit on the patio to eat while I read a book, listen to music, or chat on my phone. After breakfast, I do different things. I clean the house or wash clothes, write in my journal, draw/paint, watch a movie, listen to podcasts, study German, etc. I would love to take naps but I usually can’t sleep during the day. Then I cook, eat lunch, and work with Journy from 2PM to 7PM. Once I'm done working, there's another walk with the dogs and back to have some dinner—usually something quick and light. At night, it's time for a movie or documentary! (Recommendations below!)
3. What foods have you stocked up on?
In my pantry, I have oatmeal, eggs, chia seeds, honey, pasta, rice, beans, chickpeas, green tea, flour, and olive oil. In my fridge are the standard vegetables, fruits, cheese, pickles, and a chutney jar.
4. How has the way you’ve eaten changed?
Well, the coronavirus crisis occurred while my partner and I broke up, and my partner used to do all the cooking. So my way of eating has changed indeed. I am learning how to cook—and what better time than now when I have lots of free time! I have friends coaching me through Whatsapp every day.
My breakfast is usually a cup of green tea, along with a bowl of oatmeal in one of two ways:
- Fruits with honey or cocoa
- Brown sugar with chia seeds
So far for dinner, I've learned how to make black bean burgers, hummus, and a Bolognese pasta made with textured soy protein.
5. How are you keeping yourself entertained? Are you watching any TV shows or movies? Reading any books or magazines? Listening to podcasts?
I've really enjoyed watching The Great Hack and Wanderlust (which has an amazing soundtrack) on Netflix. And then on another streaming service called Curiosity Stream, I'm watching Predict My Future: The Science Of Us.
I'm also reading a book called Are We Smart Enough To Know How Smart Animals Are? The author is a primatologist called Frans de Waal, and I absolutely love his work! I'm also reading Cuentos by Dostoievski.
Regarding podcasts, lately I am listening to Stuff You Should Know.