- Countries Visited: Around 15
- Travel Wishlist: Australia & Fiji
- Locked down in: Panama
“We had about 6 months of full lock down where you were only allowed to go out on the day that corresponds to the first digit of your ID, three times a week for 2 hours.“
My name is Melissa Ramirez, panamanian artist, mother to a toddler girl. My husband, our daughter and I live in the Pacific coast of Panama about 5 hours from the City. We live off grid in a small coastal town.
I am an artist, painting is my favourite, mostly watercolor, and have worked for many years in the art department of TV productions around the world, therefore all the travel.
I am very grateful to have traveled the world, learned of so many different cultures and places, and met amazing people along the way. I left the production work when I got pregnant with our daughter and about a year ago, we started Almeda, an eco friendly swimwear brand with prints based on my watercolor art, in regenerated nylon fabrics.
– How did the pandemic affect you and the rest of Panama?
I think mostly has been the lock down, all industries stopped working, therefore no work no money for everyone, which can bring a lot of worries and uncertainty for the future.
– What kind of restrictions have been put in place?
We had about 6 months of full lock down where you were only allowed to go out on the day that corresponds to the first digit of your ID, three times a week for 2 hours. The country is currently open, even for international travelers, but lots of people are out of jobs and business struggling.
– What was it like living with those restrictions?
It was frustrating at times, but we were lucky to have space outdoors for our daughter to play which made life much easier.
– How have you been keeping busy during 2020?
Yes I think it helps me to keep the spirit up, trying to keep the momentum going with Almeda (our brand) and doing a lot of gardening and planting in our garden and veggie patch. As well as starting some homeschooling with our daughter and painting when I could and felt like.
– How safe do you feel where you are?
I think we will just have to get used to living with the virus, so nowhere is really safe, but I do feel safe in our home and community. Once people start to travel to the local beaches then things might change (or maybe not) for our community.
– How do you feel about the future of travel?
I am very hesitant at the moment about it, and probably lots of people are too, will all have to get used to the new protocols in place when traveling, but I am sure that eventually it will be good.
I think one of the most important things is to keep busy, productive and doing things that inspire you. Keep in contact with your close ones and every now and then check in with old friends that you might not be in contact often. We all appreciate someone asking how are we doing. And last but not least, count your blessings every day. We sometimes take things for granted and I think this virus has put that into perspective.