Coronavirus initially felt like a far-off problem, however as the rapidly changing situation over the last few days and weeks has shown, it is having a very real impact here in Europe and for the Bristol2Beijing expedition. As borders close and the situation remains uncertain, I am aiming to continue in the spirit of the expedition, even if my movements are curtailed. The expedition is all about trying to create opportunities when challenges arise and I hope to make the most of this dynamic, disruptive situation – whether that be through getting to know a particular place more intimately, finding time for reflection or immersing myself in the mountains and lakes that surround me. Yesterday, rather than cycling to Lucerne as I had planned and expected, I ended up circling Interlaken from above in a paraglider. I’m not sure it’s what Ray hoped for at the beginning of his day either, but a lack of tourists in Interlaken gave us the opportunity to swap stories and for Ray to make my stomach lurch in the sky.
It is critically important that Coronavirus is managed effectively and brought under control and therefore I will be travelling sensibly and with caution, in order to ensure I do not put others, or myself at risk of infection or spreading of the disease. I have a precious bottle of hand sanitiser, and I will be practising self-isolation – by camping solo in nature! As Ray said, “why be in a 5 star hotel when you can be in a 5 billion star one?”. I’ve also been perfecting my “elbow bump” over the last few days and it almost feels like second nature. There’ll always be more that I can be doing and I’m going to do my best to remain happy and sane through the coming weeks and also safe, so I’m sure there’s a balance to be struck somewhere!
It is too early to know how the current situation will affect Bristol2Beijing, but the expedition is an expression of an attitude, CanLive: seeing and creating opportunities through the challenges of life, and this doesn’t change. This is something each of us can do; use the challenge of coronavirus to live a little bit differently and seek out opportunities that we might otherwise never have explored.