- Countries Visited: ~30
- Travel Wishlist: Australia, Eastern Europe
- Locked down in: New York City, USA
“How do I fight for social justice, show solidarity with those I care deeply about, and demand serious reform in my country when I can’t even be outside? I was stuck in a Catch-22.“
As ironic as it sounds, “My Life In Lockdown” has been pretty… normal. At the same time, it has been anything BUT normal. While I’m still working full-time, catching up with friends, pursuing a business degree and spending time with my girlfriend, the way in which I do these things and the world around me in general has changed immensely.
Let’s take a step back to early March of this year. I had just finished up a day of skiing in Courchevel, France with my long time college friend. We were out for drinks, COVID-19 far from our minds as we reminisced about the day’s incredible trails. Suddenly, I received a call from home telling me I needed to book a flight home ASAP. Confused and alarmed, I called my parents to see if they could shed light on the situation at home. Word was breaking that Donald Trump planned to close the US borders effective almost immediately. While we later learned that this was not the case, at the time the threat alone was enough for my friend and I to book the next flight back to New York. Just like that, my once in a lifetime ski vacation, my subsequent plans to spend the following week in Greece and Santorini with my family, cancelled.
Fast forward a few days, I’m back in New York slowly realizing the extent of this pandemic. It has taken over the news, social media, sports, you name it. No one was leaving the country any time soon, let alone their homes! For two weeks, I didn’t take a step outside. Food and groceries were delivered and promptly disinfected, work was continuing remotely for the inevitable future, and Zoom calls were becoming a part of daily life. All things considered, I was lucky to be safe, healthy, and spending time with my girlfriend, our roommate and our two dogs.
Things continued like this for a while. We braved the outdoors here and there but only with a mask and plenty of separation from everyone else. Still no dining out, no drinks with friends, no travelling ANYWHERE. Lockdown was in full effect. Then, as if things couldn’t get any worse, George Floyd was murdered by police officer Derek Chauvin, sending the country into chaos. This was arguably the most difficult time for me during the pandemic. How do I fight for social justice, show solidarity with those I care deeply about, and demand serious reform in my country when I can’t even be outside? I was stuck in a Catch-22.
This awful event along with too many others caused a build up of anxiety, depression, and a sense of helplessness. I wanted nothing more than to support this much needed movement happening all around the United States and elsewhere, yet I was deeply afraid of putting myself and others at risk of the coronavirus by doing so. Was I being selfish? Were others drawing the wrong conclusions about me? Was there more I could be doing to help? Luckily, through friends and family, I learned of many ways I could. I donated to charities that were taking massive strides to put these necessary changes into effect. I wrote local members of Congress demanding steps be taken to address the severe inequalities in our nation. I reached out to friends to check in and see how they were doing and how I could help. I urge others to do the same, and not to wait around hoping things will change on their own.
From a lockdown perspective, things are slowly getting better. Restaurants and bars have opened up outdoor dining, and “social-distance” drinks are starting to become a regular evening activity. We’ve made a few short trips out of the city to explore new areas and get outside some more. I was able to see my family when they drove to New York a few weeks ago. I finally have a sense of routine that I desperately desired for so long during this crazy year. In terms of the future, I hope we can continue to fight both this pandemic, and the issues currently plaguing our country.
I want to thank James for giving me this platform to share “My Life In Lockdown”, and look forward to reading everyone’s stories as they continue to be published here! Be safe, and keep fighting!