Yes I’m doing it I’m going to talk about coronavirus aka covid 19 aka that bloody disease! When I left Melbourne 3 weeks ago coronavirus was something we were joking about in a bar over beers, then all of a sudden it went from zero to sixty in a matter of days and forget about being in a bar, forget about hanging out with friends and definitely forget about it being a joke.
It’s almost unbelievable what is happening, the kind of thing you read in about in a book or see in a movie, definitely not what happens in real life. As a travel addict I’ve always taken the freedom of open borders and welcoming countries for granted, and watching country after country shut down its borders and major airlines grounded is terrifying, the kind of stuff my nightmares are made of. I’ll be honest seeing the constant news updates got me a little stressed out and I felt very, very stranded a heck of a long way from home. But despite the overwhelming feeling of being trapped, and the fear I have for my family and friends health, I have to keep telling myself I’m actually one of the lucky ones. I am probably in the best possible place I could be right now. I’m working in the outback, away from society with just a small handful of people. I have a job and income, and I’m due to be here for the next 11 weeks. So although I have no idea what I’ll be facing three months down the line when it’s time to leave, and my future travel and work plans are going to have to change a little, I at least have security and a safe place to stay for a while, unlike so many others around the world who are struggling with the consequences of this prolonged lockdown.
Shitty and surreal as the isolation situation is, it is a little comforting to know that whilst I’m going slowly mad in the outback, the rest of the world is also going slowly mad in their own homes. And we are, as they iconically say (or sing as it is) in High School Musical “all in this together!”
So yes everything sucks right now and we are all losing our minds. But one day it is going to get better. And in the meantime we’ve just got to do our best to not dwell on the shittiness of it all, and try to find ways to get some joy out of life still. So in doing what I do best, a list, here are my recommendations for how to entertain yourselves whilst in isolation.
‘How to fall in Love’ by Cecelia Ahern. Her writing is quite simply magical and the characters raw and flawed and oh so relatable. At a time in my life when everything was a bit shit I honestly believe this book saved me. It is a beautiful reminder to take joy from all of life’s little moments.
‘One Summer America 1927’ by Bill Bryson. The best travel writer hands down, he writes in such a way that he can make anything interesting, and this one is a particular favourite. Covering one summer in America it’s a delightful portrait of 1920’s America (my favourite decade because umm Gatsby) and shows how America became the country that it is today.
‘Wild’ by Cheryl Strayed. Hands down one of my favourite books, it is about a woman taking on an impossible challenge. It will definitely make you cry, but it will also make you feel like you can achieve anything.
‘Birdsong’ by Sebastian Faulks. I read this book years ago for my A-levels and it was only the second book that I full on sobbed over, the first being the Harry Potter series when Rowling kept cruelly killing characters off. An epic story of war and love. It paints a visceral image of the First World War and it will draw you in then break your heart.
Derry Girls. The perfect comic relief featuring amazing nineties fashion and some epic tunes from my childhood.
Lovesick. A brilliant British show about Dylan who finds out he has chlamydia and consequently has to contact all of the previous women he has slept with. Funny and sweet and so very British in all of the best ways.
The Crown. With three series already out that’s a good thirty hours of time filled right there and what a way to fill time. It is beautifully shot, well-paced and not only offers an insight into the history of the world’s most famous family but it also gives a fascinating glimpse into British life over the past sixty odd years.
The Assassination of Gianni Versace. Oof it is good TV. It is visually stunning and completely gripping and Darren Criss as Andrew Cunanan is So Damn Good! He is so unnerving as Versace’s killer as you watch the story rewind backwards from the shooting through his life. Trust me you won’t be able to stop watching. Also a good watch American Crime Story’s other series The People v. O.J. Simpson.
Potterless. My current favourite podcast that I am powering my way through. Basically, as the blurb goes it’s a 25 year old man reading Harry Potter for the first time. With each episode he covers a few chapters giving a detailed run down of what happens and giving a running commentary of his opinions, best guesses and sometimes terrible jokes along the way. It is fantastic, like re-reading the books with friends and yes whilst sometimes his hating on it and his lack of knowledge of England drives me mad , it’s so good seeing (or rather hearing) someone getting the thrill out of reading these books for the very first time.
All Killa No Filla. I am obsessed with this podcast about serial killers, from two very funny women. The research and detail they give you of these killer’s lives and crimes is horrifically gripping. And despite the title there is a whole lot of filler which is what really makes it so great.
Skype, skype, skype! We are so lucky that this has happened now rather than when I was in school, because thanks to technology we have so many ways we can stay connected, and absolutely the best thing about this situation is having the time to catch up with so many friends I haven’t spoken to for a while because we’re all normally living such busy lives.
Dance, turn the music up, get up off the couch and dance your little heart out, a great way to stay active (one of my limited forms of exercise really) and it gets those positive endorphins flowing!
Play the coronavirus news drinking game. If I have to hear the phrases “social distancing” “self-isolation” and “flatten the curve” one more time I feel like I’ll scream. I know, I know it is necessary we need to hammer it in to people that this is what has to be done. But if I have to hear these words every time I turn on the tv then I can damn well turn it into an excuse to drink.
And most importantly… Don’t lose your head, don’t hoard art other people’s expense, stay at home. Be kind and be safe. And I’ll see you on the other side when one day we’ll laugh at this and tell our kids about the 2020 apocalypse, when toilet paper became the most valuable of all items and we went weeks without hearing the word Brexit! xxx
P.S. please please please let me know any and all suggestions you may have I could use a few more distractions, mostly just so I don’t spend my time getting irrationally angry over jigsaw puzzles!