Travel Journal #17
We’ve decided that today would be a good day to share some positivity with the world. It’s been a long two and a half months for everyone. As we take part in the most anti-social social experiment of all time, it’s good to remember that we’re all in this together. Our travel adventures haven’t taken us very far, and we’ve spent a lot of time walking around our neighbourhood. We’re lucky to live in a beautiful place, and wanted to share some of our favourite pictures from our time in isolation.
We chose to spend the quarantine on Cozumel and have obeyed all the local rules and regulations. Cozumel has put in place tough restrictions in order to try and contain the spread on the island. With the arrival of June, we may finally see the light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to the lockdown. We’re excited that we might be able to expand our radius a little bit and enjoy some time on the beach.
Welcome back to another edition of our “Travel around the neighbourhood” series.
Shelter in Place
Lockdown is a word that appears to be used sparingly north of the Mexico border. On Cozumel, masks are mandatory and there has been a curfew for almost 2 months. You haven’t been allowed to drive around or go shopping with more than one person at a time. Police drive around town reminding you to stay inside (this wasn’t a suggestion, it was a demand).
Most people on Cozumel rely on the tourists (especially from the cruise ships) and those stopped arriving in March. As of June 1st, there are many restrictions that are being removed across Mexico and it will now be up to each state to regulate their own response as they slowly re-open the economy.
Tourist destinations have been hit particularly hard around the world, and Mexico is on the front lines of that battle. In Quintana Roo, 6 out of every 10 pesos in the economy comes from tourism, so it is an essential industry as so many people rely on the arrival of visitors.
As the world slowly begins to re-open many businesses that were forced to close will now be re-opening to face the new reality. Restaurants and hotels might open with 30-50% capacity and will need to find ways to make up that financial shortfall. How do we help?
Honestly, we don’t know the answer to that question. For travelers (and destinations) this means finding a way to re-open tourism in a way that is safe for both the traveler and the wonderful hosts. Many people will rush back to tourist destinations because they’re open, but in many cases they’re open because they have to be. Lets take it slow.
Yes, the island is still closed (sort of)
One common thing people keep asking on message boards is “when are things going to open up?” Those of us who have stayed on the island don’t know the answer either. We haven’t been allowed to go sit at our favourite taco place or even go to the beach.
Today – June 1st – might be the day things start change, but even we’re not 100% sure. It seems more likely that the originally rumoured June 8th is the day things will be lessened. As i’m typing this it’s currently raining an the sound of thunder echoes in the distance, so maybe we will look into when we can go to the beach tomorrow.
If you’re expecting to come visit Cozumel or any destination on the Riviera Maya, please keep an open mind. On the island there is currently a curfew at 6pm and masks are mandatory in public places. Things are not going to be exactly the way you remembered.
I’ve seen sentiment of people online saying “I’m not going to spend my vacation in Cozumel if masks are going to be mandatory”. Well, we’re sorry but you might just have to wait. This isn’t a permanent thing, but for the next 12 months, this is what will be required to keep the locals safe.
Many people in Mexico have lived with no support from the government aside from a few boxes of dried goods. People have gone without food and families are hungry. So the threat of being locked down again could be devastating. Some people have already been pushed to the edge.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but just because you don’t feel the virus is that bad, other people do. If you can afford to come on vacation you don’t know what some people have gone through.
One positive of having all the free time in the world is that you may have started exercising out of pure boredom. It was kind of by accident. Twice a day we have to take our dog out for a walk, so some mornings we decided to walk to one of the nearby parks and run around in circles.
There was a plan. We needed to build up some stamina, so this was a good place to start. Maya could run around off the leash and we could run circles around the basketball court.
All this pain and suffering was because we wanted to start running to the beach. We have been slowly pushing ourselves further and further. Just over a week ago, there was a cruise ship in port unloading Mexican nationals that had been stranded at sea for many months. It was the motivation we needed. We decided that this would be a good day to give the waterfront run a try.
It was glorious. The water looked so amazing in the morning. It has only stoked our excitement to jump in.
Stay Positive and Stay Safe
We can’t wait to strap on our snorkels and have a look at the world under the sea, and it sounds like we will be allowed to next week. This underwater world has been spared from tourists for over 2 months and they must be wondering where we went!
Much like everyone else, our lives have been severely impacted by the lockdown and we’re trying to make the best of it. Just remember, we’re all alone together. Let’s make sure everyone works together to make the world a better place when we come out of this.
Everything in life can be altered by your perspective. If you choose to allow negativity in, then forever will it dominate your path. We’ve learnt a lot about ourselves during the lockdown. We’ve tried to challenge the way that we think, facing the uncertainty with an open mind. Life is too short.
We hope you enjoy these pictures from our time on lockdown and we’re looking forward to exploring the world again someday soon.