A World Without Travel

I’ve always believed in how traveling can remind us of who we are and how we fit into the grand scheme of things. So we must be really living in strange times when I’m telling myself and others that it’s not a good thing to be out and about.

It’s true. Stay home. Not that we have a choice here in the Philippines, given the 4-week enhanced community quarantine imposed by the national government. It’s been more than two weeks we’ve been inside our unit (almost three since our self-imposed quarantine), and there’s a good chance that might stretch out to at least a few more weeks.

Virtually everything is bizarre right now, with streets and establishments deserted, and without really having an idea of what happens in the world at large except those information filling our digital screens. Fortunately, we can open our laptops and do our jobs without even leaving the bed. But so many others who are integral to what kept our world going on — people who do a lot for so little — can’t. They have to go to work, or rely on the goodwill of those with resources to share, and will be hardest hit by this widespread lockdown. There are some things we can do to help.

Foremost, of course, are our doctors and health workers, who are risking a lot in this uphill battle. Multiple private parties have launched donation drives to provide the health industry with PPE’s and other things necessary to care for patients, but much more is needed. One organization that can use help is the UP Medical Foundation.

Another major issue is food. Many restaurants and food delivery services are keeping staff employed but also putting riders on the frontlines of the pandemic. So if you do order food, tip well and try to buy cancelled orders from the riders. For vegans, one food delivery serive to consider is Good Food Vegetarian, which also distributes food to impoverished areas that are most vulnerable not only to COVID-19 but to the economic standstill.

Many business — particularly SME’s — won’t survive the economic shutdown, and this will have a lasting impact on a lot of places. And millions of people will be without jobs.

Travel is a privilege, and I try not to take that for granted. But this year, our worlds quickly shrank, and it’s all overwhelming. All we can do is ride this out, be more compassionate, be smart in the next election (yes, we will reach that point), and dream about hitting the open road again one day.

But for now, stay safe, and stay home.

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