Travelling in times of Corona is difficult. On the one hand bad for your own vacation planning, on the other hand good for the environment. The exotic wanderlust dreams seem even more distant than before. But the danger of a corona infection is very close, not to mention the restrictions in public life and the sometimes dramatic health situation in some regions of the world.
One region where Covid-19 seems to have less impact on everyday life is New Zealand. Here, at the other end of the world, we have been traveling with our campervan since February 2020 and are getting to know the country in an almost spooky calm. We quit our jobs in Germany, sold the apartment and the car and set off. With a 3-month visa in our pocket and mouth-nose protection in our face we traveled via Taipei (Taiwan), Brisbane (Australia) to Auckland (New Zealand). We enjoyed our first weeks in the campervan, which also heralds the late summer. After a short time the situation in Germany, Europe and the world is getting worse. Shortly before the lockdown in New Zealand we are already being asked by “worried” citizens how we would like to go into isolation. It’s still feeling very unreal.
Our flight to Australia, where we wanted to continue our world trip, got cancelled. Then, the news of a lockdown in 48 hours. We have to get off the street, like all other campers. We sent out about 30 applications for workaways/wwoofings, where we would work a few hours a day for room and food. We don’t want to look for hotels/ motels/ airbnbs yet, because the travel budget is tight and the duration of the lockdown is absolutely unpredictable. We only get one positive feedback from a middle-aged lady with calf husbandry, where we spend the whole duration of the 2-month lockdown. The Kiwis (New Zealanders) stay at home in a good manner and should avoid any contact outside their household. The geographical advantage of New Zealand is undoubtedly its insularity. Therefore, the transport of people and goods can be controlled quite easily. The pandemic will therefore be brought under control relatively quickly. At the same time, the situation in Europe looks better. Many Europeans are returning home during this time with the return actions of their countries, including about 12,000 Germans.
We continue to travel, but now it is almost winter. On the South Island of New Zealand it is even a bit colder than in the North. We decide to do less in the campervan and more workaways. In a Workaway or Wwoofing you work vouluntary for a agreed number of hours and get food and accomodation in exchange. The people literally fight for the weekly decreasing number of workers and tourists. No tourists come to the country anymore. Therefore we have a good choice of work opportunities. The public life is normalizing again and we can stroll through cities and meet people while couchsurfing. From now on, the Corona-related restrictions are kept within limits: Keep your distance in the stores, no big events and mouth-and-nose protection in public transport. The visas for the remaining tourists and workers are extended twice for 5 months automatically and free of charge. We are told again and again that it is probably the best country on earth to be stuck in during the pandemic. We definitely cannot contradict this.
Currently we are travelling in the north of New Zealand in our campervan and do more house sitting. About this and what else we experience, like Jessica’s Vipassana stay (silent monastery), we want to tell you in the future. This also includes how life here looks like and how (further) travelling in Corona times works, or not ;-)