A Slow Nomads update – 15 March 2020
We had been home from Portugal for less than one month (we returned 01 November 2019) and our plans for 2020 were already made. This time the destination was the French city of Tours in the Loire Valley, 250 km (155 mi) southwest of Paris, and we would be there for three months. By 25 November 2019, after quite a bit of research, we had finished booking our flights and apartments.
Though we had purchased travel insurance, it was for medical needs and potential evacuation only. The cost for “cancelation for any reason” coverage was far too expensive and would likely only reimburse 50% of our trip costs. However, as we have done in the past we could self-insure and absorb our losses.
As the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic increased, the wisdom of travel to Europe, or anywhere, came into question. We waited to cancel our flights and accommodations. As the situation turned more serious we anticipated that our flight would be canceled and allow us to recover the payments that had been made.
We were initially less concerned about contracting the virus than the possibilities of being subject to closures and restrictions, or worse, being unable to return back to the USA if the need were to arise. Equally importantly, we didn’t want to burden the community where we would be living – whether we got ill or not – if the situation deteriorated. Our presence would not be helpful.
The definitive decision to not go to France was made about two weeks before our scheduled departure date of 21 March 2020. We did not cancel our reservations at that time, but waited until our flight was canceled by the airline with a full refund about a week later, thus allowing us to get a refund on our accommodations as well.
As France ordered the closing of about everything the rest of the world loves about it, we knew our decision was correct. Our Florida home will provide a safe place to hunker down to wait out this disease.
Hopefully, we will be able to avoid becoming infected ourselves. We will be following the advice of the medical and scientific communities. At the same time we will do what we can to support and assist our friends, family, and neighbors wherever in the world they may be.
Wherever you are, take care of yourselves, your loved ones, and your neighbors. Use recommended hygiene techniques, don’t yield to panic, avoid blindly trusting in social-media (or propagating false narratives) by fact-checking your information, trust medical and scientific experts, be patient, and take care of each other.
Chris and Jeannie
PS – There are many photographs of Portugal and many stories still to be written. We hope that you will still join us on this blog in the future and, for the time being, even if we all are staying home we can travel virtually.