A Solo Journey Through COVID-19

Wow….what a journey it has been through this COVID-19.  So far, I am half way through my journey and I can already say that I sure don’t want to be returning to this destination!

Within a couple of weeks of arriving, the schools were shut down, followed by retail stores, restaurants, parks and then finally beaches.  This sure didn’t leave me with much to do!

Then the worst happened.  A thing called social distancing was invented.  I, like many others, had never heard of social distancing before.  It requires us to remain 6 feet away from all other people, except those who you share a home with.   Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, a “stay at home” order was brought into effect.  This meant that I couldn’t leave my home except for an “essential” reason.

I may be a solo traveller, but I am considered by many to be an extrovert.  I knew that without being able to spend time with my friends or family that I was in for one hell of a journey, so I settled in for the trip of a lifetime.  Let me tell you, COVID-19 has brought a whole new meaning to the concept of solo travel.

This post is written solely for the purpose of bringing awareness to those individuals living through COVID-19 on their own, and of the struggles experienced by others.  It is my hope that this will provide inspiration to others and to let them know that they aren’t alone. It is okay not to be okay.

Life in Another World

I do want to keep this post as up-beat as possible, but to fully understand the impact this pandemic has had on myself, I want to share my journey with you.  It is my intention to bring awareness to those individuals taking the journey alone through COVID-19 in isolation, especially the elderly and homeless.  It is my belief that the emotional well-being of many people will suffer much more, and will have a much larger and longer lasting impact than the financial tole created by this pandemic.  We must always remember that everybody was fighting a battle before taking this trip and the impact of isolation will affect everybody differently.  Always remember that we are all taking this journey together and just a small gesture towards another individual can make a huge difference.

Pre-Journey 

In November last year, I was given the ultimate blow that any mother could ever have in her lifetime.  I received the dreaded telephone call to say that my son had collapsed playing ball hockey and had been taken to the hospital.  When I arrived less than 1 hour later he had already been pronounced dead.  He died instantly as a result of a heart attack at the age of 35.  You can only imagine how devastating this was and how any mother would struggle with this news.  However, life goes on and together with my girls and grandchildren, I was able to survive the devastation through the Christmas holidays.

natures-beauty
Seeing beauty through grief travel

All who know me, know that whenever I am grieving, stressed, or just need to unwind, I book a trip to an island for some much needed beach (my happy place) time.  There is nothing that works as well to bring things back into perspective as grief travel.  It helps you to realize that the world is full of beauty and it is that beauty that gets you through the tough times.  And so I spent the first week of February laying on a beach in Dominican Republic at the best all-inclusive resort that I have ever stayed at, having the best, most fun-filled vacation I could have asked for.

At the end of the week, I was ready to return to my normal day to day life and get back to work, only to learn that I had been booked in for surgery (removal of gallbladder) four days after my return.  So much for that vacation high lol.  It was four days after my surgery (1 week after my holiday), that the Canadian government issued the “stay at home” order.  I felt completely lost knowing that while I was still grieving the loss of my son I would now be isolated from my friends and family.  I just couldn’t believe how fast the world had changed literally within hours.

My Solo Journey Into COVID-19

I consider myself blessed to be employed by an essential service and therefore continue to work.  Can you believe that lawyers are considered essential?  I sure couldn’t.  On March 13th, we were told by our employer to work from home if at possible.  Living alone and having already been out of work for the entire month of February, I opted to continue to work from the office.  For my mental health, it was imperative to be out and have some form of contact with other humans.  Don’t get me wrong I love my dog, but he just doesn’t cut it.

get-outdoors-during-COVID-19
Stay Healthy – get outdoors for some fresh air and exercise

And so the solo journey into COVID-19 began…..off to work every day and straight home after work.  No socializing or human interaction whatsoever.  Except for clients that I spoke to on the phone, I never spoke to anyone and never saw a sole.   I have missed my granddaughter’s 13th birthday and my daughter’s birthday, as well as Easter.  Have you ever spent Easter alone?  On the upside, my son-in-law brought a turkey dinner to my porch, so no peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for this girl, AND, I have also now learned how to video chat.

I will admit that initially when I departed on this journey, I was feeling down and out and more than a little depressed.  I have lived alone and travelled alone for over 10 years and for the first time ever I felt completely alone.  Isolation is a very lonely place when confined to the four walls of your home day in and day out with nobody to talk to.

I am only sharing this part of my solo journey to bring awareness to the fact that there are MANY people, especially the elderly, who are living through this pandemic on their own with absolutely nobody, and face this reality every single day.  I am somewhat young and healthy, and am used to travelling on my own, but there are many folks that are not so lucky.  If you know a person who is on their own, please reach out to them just to say hay, how are you.

My Solo Journey Half-Way Through COVID-19

Adventures to Relieve Stress and Anxiety

I am now half-way into my journey through COVID-19 and as much as it still sucks, I consider myself extremely blessed.  I am still working fulltime (for now).  I have a home and a roof over my head and food on my table (thanks to my son-in-law the chef).  Most importantly, I am still able to enjoy all of the same travels and adventures throughout this journey that I was able to enjoy in my previous world.  These are unprecedented times and require unprecedented measures, as well as some creativity and imagination.  I have figured out how to continue this journey on my own, and I have come to view it as any other solo journey that I have taken.  This trip has come with much anxiety, but I am excited to share my adventures taken to overcome any anxiety that I may have had, with all of you:

  • Take a hike – The trails are closed and it’s not quite the same, but the outdoors are still open.  I  go for a walk around the block and explore my neighborhood
  • Go to the spa – fill up your tub, add some bubbles, and play soft music.  I know you have all the time in the world right now, so add in a facial while your at it.
  • Go to the movies – grab a glass of wine and put on a movie, preferably one that makes you feel like you are off in a far away land (I loved Crazy Rich Asians)
  • Hit the gym – I forgot, they are closed too.  If you have hand weights, medicine ball, or bands, leave them in a decorative basket beside the couch to grab while watching television.  No excuse not to get a bit of exercise in.  Don’t forget the cardio.  Go for a brisk walk or jog. Grab a skipping rope, or just do some plain old jumping jacks.
  • Travel to your favourite destination – even though there are no flights available, now is the perfect time to grab all of those travel photos and organize them.  What better time for happy memories.
  • Have your girlfriends over for some drinks and gabfest – grab a glass, or bottle, of wine and arrange a video chat with your favourite girls.
  • Take a roadtrip – for me, being out on the road gives me such a feeling of freedom and calm.  Hop in the car and just drive. I still get to do this every day (for 3 minutes) to go to work.

True Story:     As I said, at the beginning of my journey I was feeling a little down and out.  I needed to get away, so I went on a road trip to the beach, which is 1.5 hours away (one way).  My daughter-in-law and grandson also joined me.  As social distancing is in effect, we had to take 2 separate cars.  We each packed up a picnic and headed to the beach for the “day”.  When we arrived, we had our picnic (20 feet apart), threw a couple stones in the water,  walked for 5 minutes and then realized we needed to use the restroom.  Guess what?   You guessed it!  No public bathrooms to be found so we hopped in the car and drove the 1.5 hours home.

PRO TIP:  If going on a road trip, bring a pail and toilet paper, just in case.

social-distancing-during-COVID-19
This is what you call social distancing
  • Do some fine dining – most restaurants are still delivering or at the very least have take-out.  Grab some take-out. Set your table with your finest china. Light the candles. Pour the wine. And voila – dinner is served.
  • Re-decorate that room that you’ve been wanting to do for awhile.
  • Get lost in a good book
  • Plan your next vacation
  • Learn something new or take up a new hobby ( I downloaded an app and started colouring).
  • Plant an herb garden
  • Meditate
  • When all else fails, clean.  I can honestly say that my house has never been so clean AND the ironing is done.  You know the trip is bad when the iron comes out.
things-to-do-during-COVID-19-iron
You know it’s bad when you pull out the iron

Solo Inspiration

My solo journey has not yet come to an end, and in fact it still has a long way to go.  Despite the many, MANY, bumps along the way, this journey hasn’t turned out to be as shitty as I thought it was going to be.  I won’t lie, I do still have my moments, many moments actually, but for the most part I have settled in and I am doing everything in my power to make the best of it.  I know that I will end this journey a much better person  than I am and I will have grown to a whole new level.  I am one of the lucky ones and feel very blessed.

If you are also taking this journey through COVID-19 solo, know that you are not alone.  Know that it is okay not to be okay.  Go on some of my adventures to get you in the mood for this journey and do whatever possible to maintain a positive attitude, as difficult as it may be.  You WILL come out of this on the other side.

How are you coping with isolation and not being able to travel?

SAFE JOURNEY!

Kelly 🙂

43 thoughts on “A Solo Journey Through COVID-19

  1. Christy

    I’m sorry that you’re alone! I’m staying with my parents for the time being, which brings its own challenges, but I’m grateful to have the company. These are good tips and I might try some! Stay safe!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just One Passport

      Thank you! You are lucky to still have your parent, but I can certainly imagine the challenges lol. I’m not so sure I could do it. I am totally use to being along, but I’m also always on the go, so this has been a real challenge for me, but it there will be an end at some point.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Christy

        Yeah I can totally relate. Even though I travel solo, I’m more of an extrovert too. It’s hard not being able to see more people. And I miss basic things like going to the gym. I sure hope this all changes soon.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Michelle Segrest

    I am so sad to hear of the death of your son. You have a lot of courage to write this and share your experience. Thank you for the list of things to do to fight anxiety and stress as we all are feeling this in some way during this challenging time. Also, thank you for a positive attitude during a sad time in your life.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Beverley

    I am so sorry to hear that you are suffering through this on your own. I have to admit this Covid 19 has definitely put all our travel plans on hold. I also work from home and do struggle with very little interaction (although I do kind of enjoy the quiet). There are some great tips to help with stress and anxiety, I definitely agree that getting out of the house for a walk in your local area and fitness at home are great and definitely have benefits to prevent stress and anxiety.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sarah Wilson

    So sorry to hear about the loss of your son and having to suffer this on your own. Having a dog has helped me – it forces me to go out, even if it’s just around the block but exercise and fresh air helps. Stay positive, and follow your tips – you have some great ideas here.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Eric Gamble

    First of all, wow, the last 6+ months have been a wild ride for you in what could be considered tragic events. But I love how you keep moving forward with hope! I too have had a rough time dealing with all of this. On March 10, my mother in a panic asked me to come see her as soon as possible. She had been really sick and in the hospital in Northern Virginia. My brand new wife of 4 months and I live in New Orleans and were just setting back into a normalcy post wedding when I decided last minute to leave my wife and drive up and see my mother. I came up and saw her in the hospital and stayed with her until her sudden passing on March 13th. My wife immediately flew up to join me 2 days before New Orleans went on lockdown due to the Covid Pandemic. It’s been hard.
    I like you, when I find hard events going on, usually travel. I love how it clears my mind and shows me the world from a different light. But with all of the forced quarantine we haven’t had that option. So it has weighed me down a bit.
    But with all of that, like you, I have found joy and hope in all the new and creative ways people are finding to connect. I love how people have had to be forced out of their rut in order to interact with others and experience the world differently. This is what I love about travel.
    I wish you luck on the second have of your solo journey through Covid 19! By the way, I never heard of the term “Grief Travel” before, but I have to say, I love it!

    Like

    1. Just One Passport

      Thanks Eric. Firstly let me congratulate you on your recent marriage! Secondly, my heartfelt condolences on the passing of your mom. It’s always difficult to lose a loved one, but I cant even imagine during the pandemic. Virtual hugs to you. Let’s just keep on treking, this madness to will pass and we will be on the road (or in the air) again. Stay healthy and safe!

      Like

  6. Kendra

    Thank you for sharing your story! I too am alone through this, and it’s much harder than I was anticipating, given that I’m more of an introvert and also a solo traveler like you! Your tips are great; in my day job my team and I focus on youth and family mental health and wellbeing, and these are the same sorts of things we are telling people-you are spot on! Stay strong.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. ouropenpassport

    I have definitely done more than one of those things…not a solo traveller though. Thankfully I have a super rad fiance to be stuck with! Thank you for sharing some neat ideas. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Jackie S.

    I appreciate your honesty of what you’re experiencing with the tragedy of your son’s death and through the social distancing. I lost my father in law a few years ago and believe that he’s enjoying his life somewhere eating lots of Vietnamese food and watching over the family. I’m sure your son is looking out for everyone too. As with the social distancing efforts, I ‘m loving the excuse to stay at home and be my introverted self. Haha. I’m living in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and our social distancing was lifted a few days ago. Many things are still closed but at least we can eat at restaurants again. Stay safe!

    Like

  9. 13weekstravel

    Oh Kelly,
    I felt every word you wrote like a sharp needle. I’m sorry for your loss and I pray for the strength for you to pull through. Thank you for sharing such honest perspective about living through this difficult time. Like you said, we all had things we were dealing with before this crisis. I can only imagine how you’re coping.
    Stay strong please.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Derek

    Kelly, I’m so sorry for your loss and I’ve never thought of grief travel, but I’ve had some of those experiences without realizing it or labeling it. I’m sorry that COVID added to the experience, but I’m glad you are feeling blessed through it.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Vanessa

    It’s been a tough journey for many people. I found isolation hard in a period of grieving for my dad, being in another country to my family, losing clients and worried about money! I dug deep to find strength to get on a productive vibe as there are people in much worse situation than me. Now I’m getting things done and the restrictions are eased a little so we can at least have a walk which lifted my spirits.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Aditi Sharma

    I am so sorry to read about your loss – please accept my condolences. You have so much courage to be able to pen down your feelings during these trying times into this post. I can understand what you mean by grief travel and how it must have helped at the time you heal somewhat. Appreciate the suggestions you’ve included regarding how to relieve stress and anxiety.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Freya

    Thanks for sharing your story Kelly, I’m so sorry for your loss this must be such a tough time. Your positivity and determination to stay active is inspiring. There are so many things I’m grateful for at the moment, such as having a home and a job and my partner. However, I just found out that a member of my immediate family back in the UK is gravely ill, and not being able to visit them right now (or who knows when!) has me on an emotional roller coaster from day to day. We can only hope for an end to this SOON.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Amrita

    I am so sorry to hear about the last few months. I know that’s the only thing I can do from a distance. But you have shown remarkable strength and stayed positive throughout. Thank you, Kelly, for sharing your story with us. This is a difficult time for many and instead of complaining, we should thank the supreme power for whatever we have. We can only hope that things get well soon. Keep up the spirit and stay strong.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. bye:myself

    This is so terrible! I think that hardly anyone feels very happy and relaxed at this time, however, your story is so much worse! I wish I could give you a hug – but my arms are far shorter than 6 feet 😦 Anyway, I hope it did you good to share this darkness so that there is at least a ray of light. All the best!

    Like

  16. neha

    Very insightful! Covid 19 has definitely taken a toll on all of us. Really liked your tips to redecorate, fine dine and all to give yourself a break from the stressful situation! Hope its over soon

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Yukti

    I can understand, how you are going through, as we live overseas and our parents are alone at home in our home town. I feel for them as they are very lonely and feeling depressed. We can’t go to see them. I too tell, watching movies, reading movies or going for a walk is a nice idea to fight with this isolation feeling.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Stephanie

    Thank you for posting this and bringing so much humanity to travel writing. As a mother with a son, I am so unbelievably sorry for your loss in November. I can only imagine that you son was an exceptional man. He had to be, because you have shown how strong and exceptional you are through your writing. I really felt it when you said we were all battling something before COVID19 even started. This experience has made me have to grapple with so many internal thoughts and emotions that were easy to blow off because I was always able to keep myself busy. I found the courage to come to terms with things that have been gnawing at me for YEARS during this experience, and for that I am grateful. For your post, I am even more grateful. We are all in this together.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just One Passport

      My most heartfelt thank you for your comment Stephanie. God bless you and also help you through these crazy times. You are right. We are all in this together. Stay healthy, safe and strong xo

      Like

  19. Kat Anderson

    It is definitely okay to not be okay. Even for those of us living with others, we have good days and bad days. We are living in the strangest of times and taking solace in whatever makes us happy right now, be in a glass of wine and a movie or a bubble bath, certainly helps. That and planning our next vacations of course 😉

    Like

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