An Update on Life with Coronavirus


The COVID-19 coronavirus as a digital image
Posted: 03/26/20 | March 26th, 2020

As many of you know, I have the coronavirus. Well, had. I’ve recovered. Luckily, I had a mild case. It felt like a really bad cold. At first, I developed a small cough that I associated with allergies and my asthma. However, on the second day, I developed aches and a fever and that caused me to worry. I never get a fever.

That’s when I decided to get tested and the results came back positive.

Given how bad this virus can be — even for people my age (I’m almost forty) — I count myself very lucky. My fever lasted only a few days and then it just became a cough, which lasted until about day twelve. (Today is day fourteen.) (If you want to read about my experience, I posted about it here and here.)

I hardly ever get sick so this was a scary experience for me. I was mostly worried by reports saying that between days eight and ten, patients could suddenly crash and end up in the ICU. I knew I was probably fine when the fever broke, but until day ten, I never really felt out of the woods. I was petrified that I would go to bed and wake up needing to go to the ICU. There’s a lot of conflicting information and doctors don’t know a lot so no one could really tell me anything. The health department’s advice was “Call 911 if you can’t breathe. Otherwise, stay inside.” As someone with anxiety, that was not comforting.

Additionally, as someone who loves to wake up early, I found the lethargy that came with being sick demoralizing, which made the experience even worse. It weighed heavily on my mental state, which in turn made me feel physically worse.

Here I was, trapped inside, where I could theoretically at least work, read, and watch movies — and I spent the majority of the day sleeping! I just ended up scrolling social media, which is never a good thing even in the best of times, and that just made my anxiety and emotional state even worse.

However, I’m on the mend but will be quarantined for the foreseeable future. No one is watching my door, but I plan to be a good human and stay inside. I hope to get retested but, with tests so limited, I doubt I will be able to. Reports say you can shed the virus for up to three weeks (no one really knows for sure) so I’ll just avoid people for the next three weeks to be on the safe side. I do not want to spread this.

While the days in quarantine have been slow, now that I’m feeling better, I’ve been able to resume work (writing and fixing up the website). When not working, I’ve started to finally catch up on my binge-worthy shows (Altered Carbon and The Man in High Castle are great!) and reading (so far just finishing some books I started already, but I’m looking into diving into a wide range of sci-fi, history, and travel books in the coming weeks).

I look forward to the day I can leave my house and go for a walk. I’d always taken for granted the ability to just go outside. Not anymore. Luckily, there are plenty of things to do at home, but I do yearn for the outdoors. I fully plan to take more advantage of the outside when this is all over. (I suspect we all will.)

I guess it is true what they say: you don’t really appreciate things until they are gone.

***

On another note, watching the travel industry grind to a halt while having employees has been really mentally tough. It keeps me up a lot at night. I’ve already started seeing friends of mine lose their jobs and I know a few companies about to head under. It’s been sad to see. Even in a recession, people still travel.

But now? No one is going anywhere. March has felt like the longest decade of my life and it’s only going to get worse. I have a whole post coming out on what I think will happen to the travel industry because of this but it’s going to be bad.

This site (usually) gets a lot of traffic and we do very well, most of that goes back into other business endeavors (our conference TravelCon, our charity FLYTE, new projects, and all the events we do) so we don’t have a huge cushion.

If this website were just me, it wouldn’t be a problem but, with four full-time employees, a lot of my day is spent worrying about how I can make payroll.

Hopefully, we’ll make it through and people will start traveling again in late May/early June. All our fallback plans assumed people would still travel. We never imagined there would be no travel in the world. As Monty Python said, no one ever expects the Spanish Inquisition.

But the team and I are on the same page and we’ll figure out a way through.

This year, we were turning toward events and community initiatives through our Nomadic Network program.

But, since we should all be inside now (let’s flatten the curve so we can end this as quickly as possible), we can’t do events. But there’s a lot we can do virtually:

First, I’m all over Instagram these days, posting lots of updates from home and doing some live Q&As. Follow me there for updates, posts, and streams!

Second, I started a service where you can text me about travel, life, and anything else and I’ll respond. For real! My number is +1 (617) 284-0863. See, here’s a pic of me with the number so you know it’s real:

Nomadic Matt holding a sign with his phone number on it

Finally, as I’m passing time by writing new blog posts, I’d love to know if there are any topics you’d like me to write about. If so, leave them in the comments!

Let’s chat and pass the time. Now is when we need community the most. Let’s be here for each other during these trying times.

I hope you are FaceTiming the people that are important to you more often!

– Matt

P.S. – Some of you have asked if there’s anything you can do to help and we have some easy ways to do so:

Additionally, we started a Patreon. While you can continue to use this site for free, if you want to get more out of your experience here, we’ve created a program where each month you can get exclusive content, live chats, Q&A sessions, free books, and a lot more!

Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips and Tricks

Book Your Flight
Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner or Momondo. They are my two favorite search engines, because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is being left unturned.

Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld as they have the largest inventory. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com, as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and hotels. I use them all the time.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it, as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. I’ve been using World Nomads for ten years. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:

Looking for the best companies to save money with?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel! I list all those I use — and they’ll save you time and money too!

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