Aulnay-sous-bois, France

Coping with COVID

July 16th, 2020.

Hello everyone, it’s been a while! 
Many of you have sent messages to check in and ask what’s going on with our project, and for a long time we had no real answers for you. Our original departure date was March 25. We said goodbye to a lot of our closest friends at a going away party in Paris on March 7. 
Covid-19 was already a concern then, but we were reassured by multiple government agencies that we could maintain our event. A week later France was on one of the strictest lockdowns in the world. Our final training sessions were cancelled and we hunkered down in Morade’s parents’ house in the Paris suburbs.
Emotionally and mentally it was like getting punched in the gut. You spend years planning a trip around the world — saving money, researching itineraries, building a website, creating a business model — and then all of a sudden you hit a brick wall. We laughed about it, because how can you not? The sheer absurdity of a literal pandemic forcing all international borders closed and derailing your life.
All things considered, we are lucky. We had a place to stay. We had a rainy day fund. We had our health. Seeing how the coronavirus wreaked havoc around the world — knowing people who had lost family members, jobs — was a sobering experience. 
I won’t bore you with our lockdown activities because I’m sure you have your own. But one good thing that came out of this whole thing was we were forced to slow down. We learned new things, like how to grow vegetables, or sew a face mask. We spent more time taking care of ourselves, by cooking food or exercising more. 
And when June 15 rolled around and France was fully in the “zone verte” we were ready to reunite with Suzie and head off on some new adventures. We rescheduled our trainings. We met up with our friend William from OTC 4×4 outside Paris and learned how to change Suzie’s massive tires, air filters, and oil.  

We drove down to central France for our offroading training with Vincent from 3, 2, 1… 4×4 and spent the day driving in the mud and learning just how far we could push ol’ Suze off-road (answer: WAY farther than we ever felt comfortable).

So what’s next?
We’ve talked a lot about the most responsible way to continue our trip. Even though we’re not particularly at risk, we don’t want to go around unknowingly spreading Covid-19 to everyone we meet. We also don’t want to get stuck in a foreign country if a second wave rolls around and another lockdown is imposed. 
So at least for this summer, we’re staying in France, decompressing with friends and working on our first story. We’ll start posting regularly on here about places we’ve been and people we’ve met. And we’ll keep you posted on our next steps. With some luck, we hope to leave France in the fall, and spend the year traveling around Europe first, while we see how things develop on the Covid front.
So stay tuned!

Anca, Morade and Suzie


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