Journal Overview: Small Steps Recovery - Have Vaccine, Will Travel -- The Pre-Recovery - CycleBlaze

December 29, 2020

Journal Overview: Small Steps Recovery

2020 has been so bizarre I don't even know where to start.   Constant uncertainty, loss of job, business closures, being marooned somewhere, closed borders, aborted tours, can't reach loved ones, mental health disorders, social distancing, loss of travel, stay at home orders, scrambling for supplies, total and utter boredom, quarantine, lockdowns, protests against lockdowns, and then the virus itself and those who deny it's even serious. This pandemic is totally nuts.

I was one of the luckier ones in that I escaped the worst of it and could still pull off an epic cycle tour in the beginning of the year.  Then, just in the nick of time, I was able to return to China before they closed the border. What followed were months of earning an income from both full and part time work, stockpiling cash, partying, and making gains in fitness. All this could happen due to a level of protection away from the worst of the pandemic. China did a fantastic job in virus containment, as did other neighboring Asian countries. Even luckier still, our group of expat teachers got selected among many others to get the first dose of the vaccine before the end of the year. I don't deserve any of us, along with a great relationship with the girl I'll soon marry and that was saved during this pandemic time and has also blossomed.

Yet even with the best of situations, I found any and all hopes of international cycle tours completely dashed since March. Living in China throughout 2020 is the reverse of the hotel California. You can leave any time you want but you won't be coming back. Going overseas would require a 14-day quarantine on arrival, even back to my home country. And then once there facing zero economic prospects, trying to return to China would be impossible. I had already done a 14-day quarantine in March (it's in the journal) and while that was an experience, I have no desire to repeat it.

The vaccine is not some magic solution to instantly restore international travel. I have the first dose and will soon get the second in 2021, but the borders are still closed and I can't simply operate pre-pandemic. That might be the case for months, even well into 2021. But at some point, I am confident that the restrictions *will* ease and things will slowly get back to normal as the world recovers from COVID. We just don't have the timeline.

What I am excited about is seeing things slowly recover globally. The idea is that I want to time these post-pandemic cycle tours to match this overall theme. Before any international tours resume, the focus will be first on local and domestic rides within China. I will start in Shanghai and gradually go further and further out since the vaccine will definitely allow for this. While China has done great work in containing COVID, it's still not free travel here. You don't just hop a plane or train anywhere, due to all the city and provincial-level green codes required, as well as as some hotels and facilities requiring negative covid tests. There is also the possibility of a sudden sporadic outbreak somewhere (as in Beijing and Dalian right now) and/or a lockdown event, re-closing of venues, or mass testing. Anything like that can happen but the vaccine should offer protection against all that and ease domestic travel. It could very well even be required.

Once the rest of the world recovers, I think it is going to be travel and tour euporia which could last for years if not all throughout the 20s. Whatever the case may be and how it happens, I want to be a part of it. I feel we are just on the cusp of it.

As such, I want to frame this like a journal series with the title 'Have Vaccine Will Travel' and attach various parts to it. Kind of like a Star Wars concept. This particular journal (The Pre-Recovery) will only focus on areas near Shanghai and Guangzhou and in between.

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Rachael AndersonGlad to see you journaling again. I really like your attitude and enjoy your writing! Here’s to being able to bicycle tour again!
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