Confined in New Zealand because of the COVID-19: What is it like?

Written by Anouk Lauzon Groleau

It’s not very cool to learn there is a pandemic when you are literally… on the other side of Earth!

I will say sincerely it wasn’t easy to make a decision… To go back home after a one-month-and-half trip, during when we were working half of the time (so we didn’t visit) or to stay not knowing when or how we could leave.

WORST THING EVER

I will be honest, losing the possibility of going back home quickly when you are far away, it’s scary. REALLY scary.

We talked about it. A lot! We spoke to our family. Our colleagues. Our friends.

After checking with our travel insurance, analyzing the situation here and at home, after a lot of pros and cons lists whether we should stay or leave…

We decided it was better for us to stay where we were. We are still there, and till now, we are very happy with our decision!

So here is a list of realities during quarantine, in a foreign country (feeling stressed) starting with the less fun sides.

YOU’RE NOT HOME

Ok, I know what you’re thinking. I’m lucky to be in another country, a beautiful one, safe and sound.

You’re right.

BUT! You, after 3 weeks cleaning your house, cooking everything you have, renovating, gaming… you were already bored and sick of the confinement… Imagine if you were stuck in a hotel room. You can’t clean the room (there is no need!)

You can’t really cook (or the minimum, there’s no oven).

You can’t renovate (unless you get along with the owner and the owner has everything you need).

You can’t spend your day gaming (besides your cell phone unless you have a video game console in your backpack (we decided to travel minimalist… so we don’t have any of that)).

You don’t have access to many channels (they are not very interesting, and after a few days it’s boring).

Besides playing cards, you don’t have any board games (and after 5 weeks of confinement, you have played all the card games, you know).

Basically, you don’t have any of your stuff to keep you busy. And you don’t have access to anything. Great.

SO even if I am very lucky to be in one of the most beautiful countries in the world (that I can’t visit, by the way…) I can tell you that being stuck in a room without your stuff, it’s really boring. And long.

JET LAG

I can spend time talking to my family and friends who are also confined wherever I am in the world. Yes, this is cool what the technology permits to do nowadays! And I know it’s not very different from your quarantine! Except for the 16 hours of jet lag… It just makes things harder!

When I wake up, it’s the end of the afternoon (in Quebec). So, unless you go to bed very late or I wake up at 3 AM, there isn’t enough time for a long talk, mainly if you still work (you usually go to bed early)! I can literally tell you good night and good morning without sleeping (true story, it happens regularly).

“WINTER IS COMING”

Just like the Stark family’s motto (fan of Game of Thrones here), winter is coming around here. We can literally see it’s colder (there is nothing else to do), and we are noticing that these are the last weeks of great temperatures to visit this country.

That being said, I celebrate my birthday during summer every year. But this year it will be during winter (when it’s summer in Canada, it’s winter in New Zealand). *Tears* I’d rather not think about it.

Enough with negativity! There is too much of it around us in these troubled times. And let’s face it, there are still good sides.

SLOWING DOWN

We have time. To slow down.

When was the last time you had to take a break and simply enjoy life?

I can tell you that it’s even better when you travel.

No plans to visit everything.

No schedule to arrive at a good place before bedtime.

You can’t go anywhere.

What can you do? Visit where you are, all of it!

We can only walk because the car is only for essential trips.

Impossible to appreciate and visit a place more deeply than on foot!

It’s also a good reason to settle and feel the pulse of the local population. Here, everybody keeps their distance, of course, but the community is still welcoming and hearty as always!

Also, we are lucky because we are in a coastal city. Sure, you can’t swim, but you can take a walk on the coast, sit and take the time to look at the waves, listen to the sound of water flowing over the rocks, watch the sunset…

BONUS: BEING IN A COUNTRY THAT TOOK CHARGE OF THE SITUATION

Everything was off for 5 weeks. Groceries, pharmacies, gas stations were the only places opened. Impossible to order food, unlike in Canada.

The country was literally on pause.

Don’t worry, you still are in the good points.

Thanks to these drastic measures, at the end of April, New Zealand started its lockdown. At this moment, there were less than 5 new cases per day, and 2/3 of the sick persons had recovered in the country.

So, we would be able to continue our trip where we left it, more quickly than anywhere else in the world. Life will get back to normal more quickly if everything is fine. And THAT’S some good news.

MORE. TOURISTS

When you travel, there are so many places you can visit, but that had lost their charm because there is always a lot of people trying to take the best picture to post on social media or pushing you to move faster.

One word: AAAAARGHHH!

I HATE TOURISTS.

Yes, I know I’m a tourist too.

Usually, I avoid these places because I think the beauty of a landscape can be ruined by a pushy tourist who wants to hurry or just go back and forth around me.

I like to take my time, to feel the pulse of a place, and to embrace its beauty until I feel dizzy.

It is not easy when surrounded by a lot of people who only want to say they were here once in their life.

GOOD NEWS

A lot of tourists went back home, leaving us alone to visit these unique areas and what they have to offer!

And as the borders won’t open soon… 😊

I know it’s a shame for those who had to go back home… I’m sorry! But it’s better to look on the bright side, and laugh about it!

Anyway, this break isn’t always easy, but it allows me to appreciate even more being here and then to enjoy for those who can’t.

Wherever you are on this beautiful Blue Planet, I send you love and courage to go through these tough times! Take care!

This post was translated from French to English by:

Charlène Bessenay
I am Charlene. I was born in France but I live in Quebec City since 2007. I am a 32-year-old married mom of 2 (a boy and a girl), a part-time student (translation) and also a hockey mom 😉 I decided to go to university at 31 because I love foreign languages and I needed a new challenge. I love food and wine (I’m French you remember 😉 ), I have a very long travel bucket list and I practice Zumba and Yoga.

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