9 POSITIVE LESSONS LEARNED FROM SOCIAL DISTANCING
These 9 positive lessons from social distancing shared by people all over the world of things we can see only when we slow down, will inspire you to find channels of hope, kindness and creativity. The gift to appreciate the positive, even during dark times, continues to spread around the world. We are in this together!
2020 - A year we will never forget.
All the plans for a new year suddenly changed as an invisible threat arrived, shook us and started to be part of EVERYONE'S LIVES.
Plans had to be put on hold. Trips were postponed or canceled. The work meeting had to be handled virtually. The graduation party would no longer happen. The hug you were planning to give your mom would have to wait.
We came to realize that there is a great opportunity to reset our minds.
When this whole world crisis started because of Covid-19, I got lost in the thought of "what comes next" like most of us did. Then I thought instead of focusing on the negative and the fear of what is happening and the unknown, why not control the anxiety we all feel, with a positive message?
I invited some friends from around the world to share one positive message from social distancing, and how we can all encourage each other and to feel hopeful to overcome this time of uncertainty together, as one Planet.
Suddenly we recognized that it is not about me, it is about all of us. We are in this together, and together we are stronger!
This is an opportunity to reset, be mindful, and to realize so many things:
- Be grateful for the things we take for granted: the abundance of choices, freedom, and health
- Stop and look around you, take the time to appreciate the small things that before we were too busy to see and appreciate
- Make time for the basic things and deal with the problems that we used to consider so important, and see what is really important to us now
- We now have time to pay attention to the amount of stress we dumped on ourselves but were too busy to face it
- It is time to reevaluate our lives
- We finally understand, perhaps for the first time in our generation that WE ARE CONNECTED.
- Be grateful, stay aware, things will never be the same again...
BE GRATEFUL FOR WHAT YOU HAVE
Megan Jerrard - Australia
Travel Blogger: Mapping Megan
We're learning a lot during this current crisis, and as many of us are confined to our homes, it's providing a natural opportunity to reflect; to reflect on our priorities in life, on what we hold dear, and perhaps have previously taken for granted (like health, and freedom of movement).
A positive lesson I've taken out of this experience is never to take anything for granted.
I've learned that I'm incredibly fortunate to have been born into a country which has a strong passport and has allowed me to, until this point, to travel the world freely, without restriction.
I realize that I'm hugely fortunate to have had the opportunity to see the world, and that being confined to your local area is actually a normal reality for many, many people regardless of this crisis, whether it's because of poverty, economics, or simply for the luck of being born into a country which already had closed borders - regions like North Korea, and Palestine.
With this realization, I've been spending my time in lockdown sorting through old photos and reminiscing over past memories - being grateful every day that I've had the opportunity to create those memories.
Mindset is everything for getting through a period of lockdown as many people are facing right now, so if you allow yourself to be grateful for what you have, and what you've had, as opposed to feeling down about what you've (temporarily) lost, you'll find the coming months a lot easier.
THE POWER OF COMMUNITIES COME TOGETHER
Claudia Tavani - Italy
Travel Blogger: My Adventures Across The World
Italy was the first country to go into lockdown after China, and we had to quickly adapt and embrace this new lifestyle - to do more things at home than we normally would.
I admit that being forced to stay at home for someone who is as active as I normally am came as a bit of a shock. Initially, I had trouble sleeping, severe anxiety, and burst into tears on a regular basis. Then, a new phase followed in which I decided that I would make the most of this time, and stay as productive as possible.
Friends have been amazing in helping out with this. The blogging community has proved to be a great resource: I regularly talk to friends in various parts of the world and we try to keep each other motivated, challenging each other to write more, to work, to stay focused.
I have been positively touched by some people who are proving to be better friends than I ever thought. We check on each other every day or so. We have vowed to meet as soon as our doors can open again. I wasn't expecting solidarity from so many - and when it came, it was relieving.
Once the travel bans are lifted, I plan to travel locally way more than I have done in the past, to show support to small local businesses which will need all the help they can get to get back on their feet. I intend to visit much more of Italy, and to create more content about it.
I will also strive to give a voice to the disadvantaged communities around the world - the very same ones that came to the help of Italy in this time of hardship.
CHERISH THE HUMAN CONNECTIONS AND FRIENDSHIP
Ryan Biddhulph - USA
Travel Blogger: Blogging From Paradise
The current state of the world has proven how social distancing can goad us to form deeper, more meaningful bonds through social media.
Like all bloggers, I sometimes work a little too mindlessly during moments, forgetting that I'm connecting with actual human beings all over the world via my internet connection.
In my home state of New Jersey right now - where infection numbers increase rapidly - we have been ordered to stay home save for outdoor exercise and buying the basics.
This means I spend most of my time online so I'm cherishing doing live broadcasts while savoring genuine human connections I establish daily, being deprived of offline human connections for a bit.
Social distancing can inspire you to appreciate the depth and number of genuine friendships you can develop with human beings through your blog and social media.
THE POSITIVE SIDE OF THE SOCIAL MEDIA AND SOLIDARITY AROUND THE WORLD
Stephanie Langlet - France
Travel Blogger: Ethno Travels
As an INFJ personality type, I always need to have a cause to defend. But as an introvert, it’s not always easy for me to be under the spotlights.
I often hide myself behind people, talking about them and them only. When I am in Tribal Bastar, I accept to be in the newspapers or TV only to defend the cause of Adivasis, the Indian tribes.
When this awful virus arrived in Europe and in my country, my French friend Luc, living in Yangshuo China, was there, posting hope messages for us. I started to re-share and I was amazed by the results: Luc had given hope again to my community.
Even without knowing each other, Luc had created a bond between my people and him. When they had some questions or fears, I was asking Luc and our awesome friend was always there, sharing his experience and knowledge of SRAS and SARS-Cov2.
At the beginning of the epidemic, I was convinced I should help my people by sharing positive messages. Thanks to Luc, I quickly realized they needed more.
My French Facebook group became a group both to inform people about the situation in our area, in China and other places of the world and to bring little joys throughout the day.
When the virus struck India, a lot of my friends asked me questions and wanted to know what was happening in France. Very quickly, we started regular conversations, sharing information about the situation in Europe, the mistakes we had made, trying to reassure the most anxious ones. I was translating the French recommendations and Luc’s precious knowledge for my Indian friends.
I knew that a positive attitude and communication can do a lot but I didn’t think we could create such an amazing international solidarity so easily!
It’s an inspiring experience to see how people can get united around positive personalities.
People hardly believe their local media. It’s even worse in India. This is a good lesson for everyone to see how simple humans can help others only by sharing true information, experience, knowledge through social media!
Who said Facebook was just a waste of time?
A NECESSITY FOR A SUSTAINABLE TOURISM
Enzo Mistretta - Venice, Italy
Travel Photographer: Dream Packers
Venice at the time of the coronavirus is a completely new city.
If on the one hand, we risk economic failure, on the other the city has re-appropriated its spaces.
Every year between February and October we had around 30 million tourists, too many for such a small and fragile city. Now is deserted, only the elderly who still live in the city, walk through the empty streets (calli).
Animals such as swans and geese that previously lived only on the innermost islands of the lagoon have reappeared. The water has become cleaner and we can see the fish and after many years you can see the bottom.
We all hope that after this period we will start to aim for sustainable and non-mass tourism and look for solutions to avoid the over-tourism.
There is no reason to increase tourism with millions of tourists who stay 1 or 2 days, without seeing the museums and without understanding what they are visiting.
We hope that all this can give a new impulse to better ideas for tourism, with more cultural initiatives and that teach respect for the lagoon and its ecosystem and not only for economic gain.
NATURE IS THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE, NOT PEOPLE
Michelle Campbell - South Africa
Founder of WWW - Africa Animals and Ecosystems Conservation: Wild Wonderful World
Conservationists have been working for years without success to end the trade of endangered species and yet, almost overnight, the COVID-19 epidemic has taken enormous steps forward in achieving exactly that.
China and Vietnam, the biggest consumers of bushmeat in the world have banned wet markets and here in Africa, the pressure to control the bushmeat trade is ramping up. In March, Malawi banned the sale and consumption of bushmeat and similar campaigns are underway in Ghana, Sierra Leone, Cameroon, and Nigeria, as countries globally call for people to civilize their diets.
Government bans and restrictions are one thing, but the major positive of the virus, in my opinion, is the shift in perceptions pertaining to the value of consuming wildlife.
Where pangolin scales, rhino horn and consumption of animal parts were previously linked to perceived health benefits (un-scientifically, based on beliefs), COVID-19 has linked them now to danger rather than good. This means that demand of bushmeat, even on the black market, has fallen (evidence of this has already been seen in Gabon), and the knock-on effect of this would be a marked decrease in the illegal poaching of endangered species.
This is a major win for Africa, a pioneering change for the poaching industry and an incredibly important step forward in our fight to save species from extinction.
I think the biggest lesson we have learned from COVID-19 is that there are global repercussions to the destruction of wild spaces and species.
Whilst there have been some major positives for wildlife through all of this, unfortunately, we have not emerged unscathed. Many conservation and wildlife projects have become increasingly reliant on tourism for funding.
With global travel having ground to a halt, the funding impact has been severe, with many projects having to halt their operations.
It is for this reason that now, more than ever before, traveling with purpose to Africa is vital for the survival and protection of our wild spaces.
As individuals, we should be thoughtful in where we visit and why - every dollar spent is funding for a reserve - to help pay their anti-poaching units, support their communities (gives them income and reduces the propensity to poach) and supports local research and rehabilitation efforts.
As a society, it is vital that we not only re-connect with wildlife, but become custodians of it, and advocates for its protection. I think this epidemic has highlighted the need to shift our mindsets to one where nature, not people are the center of our universe.
CONCENTRATE ON YOUR FEELINGS AND BE POSITIVE
Rafaelle Pilla, Pharma.D., Ph.D - Benevento, Italy
Pharmacist and Humanitarian, served extensively in various international medical missions - Benevento during the Pandemic
Recently my lucky star knocked on my door.
I didn’t know I could have learned such a massive lesson at the age of 38, but life surprised me again! For the past 30 years I hadn’t realized how spending time at home could have been so charming, loving and enriching.
I am positive we all have received a wonderful opportunity to deeply reset our lives under all perspectives. And this is why I am grateful because one day I will be able to say: “When the wind of change came, I was there”.
During this time of global crisis, many have been speaking out loud about their ideas and thoughts.
As a pharmacist, I am on the front line and see myself and my colleagues “engaged” on a daily basis talking to people, trying to provide some comfort, listening to their ideas and welcoming their concerns.
Some people are afraid for themselves or their dear ones’ lives and, of course, who wouldn’t be during this particular time?
My opinion is that we need to do whatever we can with what we have in store. But…what does it mean exactly?
History teaches us life is like a soccer game: there exist offensive and defensive phases, periods we need to be active and push our limits, and periods we have to defend what we have built. Indeed we know, as a matter of fact, that since the beginning of mankind, this existence has been giving and taking from us tons of emotions.
Well, this is a resilience moment, an era we need to wait and let our feelings rest. However, this is also necessary for our brains to understand what our next direction will be. Without this steady moment, we would be lost once the “machinery” would start his engines again, because it will start working soon…
And think about it, as humankind we’ve been going through so much pain, efforts, joy, desperation, happiness, hunger. It seems like people are among the strongest resources the earth has ever had.
We have brains helping us, and brains are where these emotions reside and where they come out from, when necessary. This is why I suggest everyone to concentrate on our own feelings, so we can find an easy way to be positive against this new, unwanted host.
We’ll get through this together, united and proud!
SOLIDARITY AND COLLABORATION ON ALL LEVELS
Lizandra Telles - Brazil
Travel Blogger: Roteiro para Viajantes
These are complicated and uncertain times for all segments, especially for people who are involved in tourism, including travel bloggers.
However, despite the pandemic spreading a lot of fear and sadness all over the world, it is also has aroused a great feeling of solidarity.
Unfortunately, there are some business people in Brazil encouraging us to “go back to normal life”, so that the economy does not collapse. Meanwhile, others are giving up their companies' profits in the name of public health.
But we also see some large companies, such as the beverage maker Ambev and beauty products Boticário, are taking advantage of the business synergy to produce and distribute alcohol gel for donation to public hospitals.
Some other businesses are donating large amounts of money to the government to be used to buy respirators, masks, and gloves to be donated to hospitals in São Paulo.
Supermarkets in Brazil have created a “special hour for the elderly” so that customers over 60 and disabled people have the chance to do their shopping and practice social distancing.
Even small business owners have also joined this collaborative wave against the coronavirus, and helping with initiatives that make all the difference, like some restaurants that are making food to be delivered for free to the health professionals.
We see positive actions from big to small businesses and the solidarity of the whole population.
These are times of empathy and collaboration with others. Hope for a better world after this World Health Crisis.
STAND UP FOR EACH OTHER, WE ARE ALL TOGETHER!
Paula Martinelli - Florida, USA
Travel Blogger: Paula Pins the Planet
I was not prepared for this. None of us were prepared for this.
Everything happened so fast, and suddenly we needed to change gears in our lives and learn how to adapt and live with the new reality.
For the first time in my life, I feel that the whole planet is connected. It is an amazing power of unity never seen before.
Instead of focusing on the uncertainties of this moment, I have decided to focus on the positive aspects, and look for unity among peers, friends, and even strangers.
Reaching out to friends I made all over the world during my travels, and make sure they are in good health and if they need anything. I know they make their only income from tourism, and finding ways to provide for anyone in need because with small things, we can make the world a place. We are all together!
I can see so much opportunity to reconnect with loved ones. Also, opportunities to see and do things we claimed not to have enough time in our lives to do and we let opportunities just pass by us.
Creativity is back and talents that were hidden or asleep suddenly come back to life.
All of the sudden neighbors started to show their faces, families are reunited to enjoy playtime in the backyard, people have time to take their dogs for long walks or dust off the old bicycle left in the garage and getting back into the habit to exercise and to connect with your body and mind.
We see ourselves sharing humanity and gratitude with each other. Doctors, nurses and all the health professionals are finally getting the recognition they deserve. We even discovered new heroes around us such as truck drivers, grocery store workers, and teachers.
I haven't been motivated to write about traveling at this moment, but after a few days struggling I decided to cope with my anxiety and let go of things I cannot control, and welcomed things that I can control. I decided to start a YouTube Channel to help and motivate people to workout from home and be healthy.
This is a comma in our lives, and not a full stop. Slow down, be mindful and appreciate the present moment. We are in this together!
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