This is a travel blog and I mostly write about destinations and personal growth through travelling. That’s my motivation for this blog and why I started in the first place. But today I want to share some personal opinions about the number one topic that’s on everyone’s lips: the Coronavirus crisis! And to question everything that’s wrong with our society!
Sometimes, I wish I was just like my dog, relaxed and oblivious towards all this madness. But I am not. I am not panicked but the Coronavirus crisis is all I see on social media and without intending to, I have formed my own opinion, which might be ignorant of many aspects, but I will put it here anyway, as a diary, if you will.
I will not use any SEO techniques for this blog post (that’s what people who write on the internet do when they want to beg Google to pay attention to them), and I will be as bluntly as I can.
The latest addition to the coronaviruses is called COVID-19 and it is the latest threat for governments from all over the world. I wrote a recent post trying to help other fellow travellers to answer the questions “Should I travel to Europe this summer?” and I still stand by those opinions and here are some other arguments for the related travel questions, but also regarding social media, the obvious economical crisis, and social behaviour and what are our alternatives.
How is the travel industry doing
Travelling is one of the first industry to be affected by the spreading of the Coronavirus. No doubt about it. Travel blogs are almost without traffic (no one is looking for information bc nobody is planning any holidays now) and most people have cancelled their holidays’ plans for this year.
Needless to say that there are countries which rely a lot on this industry to survive. Italy is probably one of the world’s top 5 favourite destinations. Currently, Italy is under lockdown. Nobody goes in, and nobody gets out. Not even locals. They are obliged to stay indoors and are only allowed to get out to buy food or go to a pharmacy. Everything else is closed, anyway.
Which country is next? Nobody knows. I live in Romania. In the first week of March 2020, the government announced less than 30 cases. One week later, there were over 100 confirmed cases in the entire country. People are working from home and trying to not go out as much.
Once the crisis gets over its peak moment, things will try to resume. But the truth is that many won’t be too willing to risk their health. Not so soon, anyway. I’m expecting for a few months to a year of travelling slow down, considering the current situation. But nobody knows what will happen tomorrow. Perhaps those food stocks aren’t so absurd after all.
I am expecting to see people stay closer to home, perhaps more holidays in their home country, but an overall reduced number of holidays (and a much lower number in the travel economy).
Social media’s non-stop ranting about the deadly coronavirus
I will start with: Don’t believe everything you read or hear on social media. People want a tiny bit of your attention and will go to any extent to get it.
Do you know that many online specialists of any sort, go to Google Trends (a free tool for anyone to use, which tell you what are people searching on Google, categorised by countries, cities, topics etc) and then they instantly become expert on that very hot topic? Why not? There are countless new accounts on Twitter claiming to deliver to latest news about Coronavirus and all have tens of thousands of followers. They are called marketers or people who see a business opportunity. The attention these accounts get, which is not limited to Twitter, will later be exploited. It’s all about money. People go through a lot for money. In the end, it’s a free way to get a large audience in a very short time frame, and to which you can later show whatever product it is that you’re selling. We are all a bunch of consumers, drawn in endless marketing traps. You either pay for something or you are the product.
And social media does another amazing thing, which was never present before in such a time of crisis. Social media informs and helps to instant information. Used by individuals of dubious intention, it can be a very powerful tool to spread fake news and manipulate the masses.
As I watch what’s happening on my social media channels, I can see both of the above, happening. It’s like an experiment and I’m the rat.
The economical crisis following the coronavirus crisis
As travelling practically disappears as an option from our modern-day life, an economic crisis is imminent. At the moment, everyone is too focused on the number of those infected to take a step back and realize that the economy is drowning. And of course, human lives are much more important, but let’s not completely ignore what’s happening here. And let’s not overreact.
I don’t mean to not care about the news and not adopt a preventive behaviour, but we all need to find a balance and not get too drawn into this panic madness. Panic doesn’t help. Even if the end of the world if coming, panic won’t help anyone.
I am not an economist, not do I want to seem like one. I am an individual, living in this world and my understanding of the economy resumes to my day to day activities.
When we interrupt the normal cycle of social life, or what we do every day, then a disruption takes place. By limiting, and advising against many activities which are above the basic needs, then many businesses (which are taxpayers) are interrupted and the money doesn’t flow. Hence, the economical crisis.
The effect of the coronavirus on businesses all over the world
The economical crisis happens because businesses are forces to temporarily close. It is one of the measures imposed by governments in their attempt to stop spreading the virus.
Restaurants, cafes, bars, pubs, shops… everything can be closed if the government decides to do so. China did it in the region where the virus first appeared. And Italy is doing it all over the country. Today I saw some news from Barcelona, and they also closed most of the touristic places.
The problem is that the economy is highly dependent on those businesses, and a lot of people are too. What will happen with their employees, if they are not open and can’t afford to pay them or pay their taxes?
And to make this problem even more challenging, imagine that most of those businesses, especially the touristic ones, don’t own the place, but they pay rent. What will happen when they will not afford to pay rent this month or the next?! Because the truth is that most businesses survive on a month to month basis.
Another recommendation that governments are insisting upon is to let employees work from home if their work allows them to do so. The decision in itself is beneficial for everyone in the long run. But most businesses aren’t ready to do so, lack the policies and have no idea how to implement that, all while having to pay their employees.
Except for the jobs that require contact with the customer, I do expect a lot of companies to change their policies and allow more work-from-home days, or even a complete transition to remote work. What is now a downside, will soon be referred to as a precedent and I do expect to see more big companies understanding that having an employee for 9h in a chair, under their physical supervision is just not the way people perform the best.
What’s wrong with our society? Social behaviour during the Coronavirus crisis
People re social human beings. We crave connection. We want to interact. We seek the company of others.
When confronted with a recommendation of isolation, the masses seem to have divided into 3 distinctive groups.
On the one hand, we have the paranoid people. You can spot them at the local supermarket, waiting in line to buy everything they can put their hands one. I hope you’re not one of them.
Secondly, we have the ones raising questions and preaching to everyone whose willing to listen to them about the new conspiracy theory they heard of. I wind this group a bit irritating because they can’t accept any other possibilities except for the ones they already own. No real conversation can be conducted with them and arguments are often not real.
The third group is sometimes the smallest, and to be “part” of it, one needs to pick up information from various sources and form a personal opinion of the whole thing.
Unfortunately, I feel we have become much too lazy to be bothered to seek official information. We want it delivered to us, and I get it way. It truly requires some energy and time to make up your mind about any kind of situation, the tendency of a society is to follow the mass like a herd follow a master. Some go through life without ever having to decide on anything and let others decide for them. That’s why we have mass marketing and that’s why it works!
In the context of day to day decisions, of course, we are on autopilot, because if we needed to stop and analyze every option and piece of information each time we go shopping or drive the car, then the whole world would stand still and it would take forever to get anything done. But in the context of deciding for your life and future, taking the time to be informed about the Coronavirus, might turn out to be better than doing what all the others are doing. Remember that most people are mediocre. Do you want to be like that?
Having briefly stated my view over the social state of those around me, I have to also add that it’s ok to disconnect or to stop caring what others think of you. The whole online social media is desperately seeking the best Netflix recommendations and some want to show off by talking about that one book they started reading last year and have now the change to finally finish it. The social validation remains and is driving everyone crazy. I am pretty nobody is really interested in that.
Buying mountains of toilet paper and cans is just not rational behaviour when all major supermarkets have publicly announce that they have food stocks for the next six months!!! I am still very much confused about the toilet paper huge demand. It seems like a prank that has started in some other countries, has been somehow become a joke on the internet, and by the time our own government announce the crisis, people from here started doing the same. As of March 14, Romania had around 100 cases of people infected (and some were already cured) and there are stores which have no more toilet paper, hand sanitizers and home disinfectant.
So it seems to me that the panic created by Coronavirus has brought a crisis of hand disinfectants. Which led some to believe that this is a business opportunity and are selling overprice disinfectants over the internet. What is wrong with these people?!
To sum it up, it is obvious that people’s craziness gets activated in moments of crisis, and as new social rules are imposed, the crazy ones arise and can be easily spotted. Stay away from them.
Also, I truly hope that social media will be used to spread more positive news and information. Otherwise, not too far in the future, we will witness a world looking not so different from the one depicted in the “Walking Dead” series.
Rethinking the human condition – What are our basic needs?
Another big topic is rediscovering the basic human needs. That excludes clothes shopping sessions in overcrowded shopping malls and cramming into overpacked cosy restaurants to get a drink because you read about it on TripAdvisor.
Unexpectedly, people seem to believe that toilet paper is one of the top items they need in case of an emergency.
But leaving the crazy people aside, I bet that most have realized that we don’t need a lot to survive and we are pretty resourceful when it comes to limited situations. We need food, water, a shelter, and the rest are usually optional. We are truly blessed to have running water, heated homes, clean clothes, and let’s not forget the amazing technology which makes lots of us want to self-isolate without having a major crisis going on. We are living the times when the internet is here. We have it all: entertainment, news, education, and the answers to all our question. We don’t need a phone to communicate with each other, all we need is electricity.
Most of us dealing with these times, have a lot more needs meet than our basic ones. But I believe it’s important to recognize the basic need and see how a lot of the things we spend money on are just not necessary. We live a life of abundance and sometimes, wasteful. This is one topic that drives me insane and I hope that after the Coronavirus crisis passes, we will feel a bit more respectful towards our nature, restricting our unnecessary purchases and be less wasteful. Our planet doesn’t need more junk to pile somewhere in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It needs more responsible humans, with a mentality set towards sustainability.
Take these times as a reset and take the time to think about what are your basic need and don’t lie to yourself. By recognizing the extra stuff from our lives, we can decide what is worth it and what’s just a waste of money, energy and time. Because buying unnecessary crap is also a waste of time, not just garbage for the planet. “Do you really need it??” has to be the question to ask yourself when you go shopping next time. This extend to grocery shopping as well. To save you the trouble, let me just tell you that sugar, alcohol and most packed food is bad for you and has no real energetic value.
Finding valid alternatives fast, for a new functional society
The life will have to eventually go on, and resume any cancelled or postponed events. We are social creatures, and we do need to stay connected and be active.
I do believe that most companies will understand how keeping a large number of employees in a glass-windowed building is not necessary and will implement a work-from-home policy. Also, most gatherings will be more restrictive and closely monitored to not let something like this ever happen again.
Crowds will never be the same and hopefully, an outbreak as this one will never take place, ever again.
Mankind is not perfect. But it learns from its past mistakes. We are the species responsible for a lot of hazards that happened to our planet. But we learnt from it. We mostly cared when events directly threaten our existence, because the environment doesn’t seem to a priority until human lives are at risk. And then, it also depends whose life is at risk.
That’s who we are. I say we a lot because if something is ever going to change, is up to each one of us.
One swallow does not make a summer but it does get us closer to it. And that’s what we need, to get closer to a better life.
To sum up this already too long blog, I will recap some of the ideas written above.
The world is not going to change if we don’t.
It’s obvious that the current social and work policies have to change to prevent crisis situations in the future.
Social media manipulates us.
Don’t build a business that supports itself on debt.
Fear is our worst enemy.
Be kind to each other. You never know when this thing that “can’t happen to me” happens.