Remember the time when hugs were allowed?

Anyone wondering how is life and travel in Portugal right now? COVID-19 has taken it’s toll here too. Luckily, we had time to prepare.

Life and travel in Portugal have taken some time-off in the COVID-19 era. The last 8 weeks have been like the plot of a science fiction Hollywood blockbuster. Just like one of those low engaging forgettable Sunday movies we watch as a hungover cure for our Saturday excesses. The thing is… this “science fiction movie” is all too real. We’ve been driven into isolation, halting on lifestyles we took for granted, losing income or jobs. And worse for some, losing loved ones.

Saying that this is undoubtedly dramatic and troublesome is an understatement. It feels that we are risking the fall of the economy, the plunge of our societies as we know them. The easy access to information is not helping with our emotional coping too. It’s hard to have all of our connected devices constantly bombing us with all the latest data.

There’s an irony too. In this reality of constant connection, we are able to protect our loved ones (and society in general) by choosing to separate. Therefore, unity comes from physical detachment. Globalization became a double edged sword. On one side, the free movement of people facilitated the spreading of the virus. But on another hand, that same globalization allowed us to remain (digitally) connected.

Luckily, Portugal benefited from it’s geographical location and the extended access to information from how other nations were tackling the pandemic.

With life & travel in Portugal on hold due to COVID-19, Volta do Mar’s team has been through the same emotional turmoil as everyone else out there.

As we provide outdoor and cultural experiences that depend totally on human engagement, and on tourism, this has placed us on very shaky ground. The Portuguese Government declared 3 consecutive “States of Emergency” that started on the 18th of March and ended this 3rd of May. A new, more relaxed “Calamity State” has started and will be active at least until the 18th of May.

That meant halting all of our operations and struggle through the relatively intricate bureaucratic process of acquiring financial aids and securing lay-off solutions. We also dived into intense brainstorming sessions in the search for a magical antidote for our current conundrum. So far, we have realized that it is going to be a challenge to keep doing what we do while respecting the necessary hygiene and safety procedures.

But as this whole process has shown us time and time again, these are uncharted waters for our governmental and social structure. Things are being drafted and decided on the fly, ever-changing and ever-adapting. Luckily, our government has been quite conservative and adopted early measures, showing a good balance between flexibility and restrictions. Normal life and travelling was halted and social distancing rules established. The numbers speak for themselves, and Portugal is so far one of the countries in the EU with the lowest percentage of cases and deaths.

There’s also a new “Clean & Safe” certification we are looking into.

These consist of governmental guidelines, rules, and equipment to be implemented and utilized to operate safely. We are checking all of the information as it becomes more available. We’ll let you know when we feel that life and travel in Portugal starts exiting the COVID-19 era.

But the best news of all is that we gave up on being worried. If this phenomenon has shown us something, it is that we are very much disconnected from nature and our instincts. Sure, we’ve had moments of fear and anxiety (and will have some more), but the truth is… we were all as a kind, needing a break. A break to think about things, to the lifestyles we have, to our priorities in life.

During this time, the team has focused on a mix of things.

These range from focusing on personal projects, to exercising, reading, participating in all sorts of webinars, and plenty of personal development. I have even adopted a dog and Pedro started printing visors and protective gear for his community.

Pedro delivering a batch of freshly made visors to the firemen.

This new blog entry is the first step of more great things to come. We feel energized and ready to find solutions, starting with sharing a bit more often what’s going on with us, our thoughts, videos, and photos too.

Ricardo Learning how to make Dim Sum

Please feel free to participate, comment, post, laugh or even shout with us. We wish for this to be a nice hub to share thoughts with the humans we met along the path of our personal and professional lives. And since we need to build a new world let’s build it on dialogue, shall we?

André teaching Solo to climb.

And finally… we also feel this is a great moment for mankind to reflect and improve its ways. So… keep striding positively into the unknown! We are looking forward to see what we will learn as a kind from all of this! 🙂

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