March 17th, 2020 will be forever etched in my head. COVID-19 was making itself popular around the world not just in name but statistics. China had singlehandedly brought the world to its knees and the pause button was pressed. I found myself confined to a safe bubble at home for what would be the next 3 months. Over the course of those months being “safe inside” I was able to put myself into the active phase of planning and strategizing the rest of would could be a productive year as well as I was able to deactivate and recharge in some moments. Working remotely became normal, FaceTime, Whatsapp calls and texting with friends and family became a daily coping mechanism , social media hangouts are regular aspects of the day and working out via zoom became safe haven for me.
Fast forward to July 1st, 2020 the Prime Minister of The Bahamas opened our borders. I was nervous and excited. Why? I missed being outside, I missed the intimacy of face to face interaction. Seeing smiling faces, even if behind an uninviting mask was such an exhilarating feeling to me. Even though I was embracing the new freedom of basking in the sunshine of Nassau with stops to the food store, in person church attendance and driving to pick up Sunday conch salad, I remembered quickly that I had business to take care of that had been sitting dormant for 3 months and so a long overdue trip was in the making finally. My thoughts were “how do I make this happen safely, do I actually neeeeed to go, will I care to explain to everyone who asks why I’m going or do I just make it happen and explain later. I was on the fence but knew that it was my only opportunity to go before the inevitable happens (country shut down again) so the true libra in me started planning, making to do lists and scheduling my days as efficiently as possible.
If you’re thinking of traveling….
…Think twice. The actual planning was more cumbersome than the traveling but I was methodical with this process so it worked in my favor. First I did my research on safe places to stay while abroad. I stayed away from hotels! Once I found where I wanted to stay, I contacted the airlines to find out the protocol for traveling internationally. That wasn’t the easiest process but I found tons of info online and it helped. Not many airlines had direct flights in and out to where I was traveling.
Upon booking my plane ticket, rental car and accommodations (all refundable or cancellation fee waived) I then consulted the Ministry of Tourism on the travel procedures and protocols created for Bahamians to follow and booked my COVID 19 PCR test. This is where it gets funnnn, well no not really lol…. You know the videos circulating where people are acting insane over taking the PCR test? Well let’s just say only he who feels it knows it lol. I’ll get into that later…. so anyway I took the test, and headed on the plane the next day and figured it would be ok since there was no mandate stating the location of testing be here nor there or otherwise prior but rather just be valid for 7-10 days (well now that’s changed)… For 7 days and 6 nights I was able to successfully and quietly handle business, enjoy much anticipated QT with a few close friends and my new pooch! It made me realize how much I missed being able to move freely and how much I took it for granted. Not that I’m complaining, home is my cozy and safe place but escaping the pressure of not having to explain “why or where you’re going” during these crazy times felt so freeing! …. yeah yeah I know- NOW you know 🙂 but that’s the point!!
Of course while I was there I had to step my fashion game up especially after being inside for so long in pjs, workout clothes, and loungewear , I felt the need to jazz it up and feel pretty even though I visited the same places over and over during my stay. Here are a few of my looks while I was abroad:
While there, I sanitized my car inside and out, my home away from home upon arrival and the few people that came to visit were required to sanitize from head to toe also upon entry also. I retreated to some much needed me time away from social media and enjoyed it! I Stayed away from malls and stores, opted to ship my items to the house, ordered food to be delivered or curbside pick up and cooked once, wore my mask every time I went outside and in public and only engaged with a hand full of people. Was I ever paranoid? Yes!!! I remember going to a restaurant for wings one day because I was suuuuppper hungry and wanted to test the temperature of how people were acting there, we were the only 2 black people in the restaurant (and wearing masks) and when I tell you I was paranoid?!!! Chal please….I swallowed my food and we hurried out of there like bats out of hell. Good thing for me, I had just popped “a gummy” 🙂 it calmed me wayyyy down, I’ll explain in another post lol. Throughout the trip I stayed put, out of sight and did the business I traveled for. It helped that I didn’t travel to the epicenter but rather to a place where folks were starting to take COVID a bit more seriously.
The Process of Testing
I took the test twice well three times in the space of a month if you count the rapid swab test, YES there is a difference. The first PCR test I took was the day before travel. The process was smooth. It went like this:
- Take PCR test (swab to the back of the nose) at hospital – $224 was the cost, 24 hr turn around
- Got test results back by email the next day
- While abroad I was able to upload my negative test results to travel.gov.bs
- I received my health visa to travel back home in a 4 hour turn around period
- Upon my return, even though I was gone for the 7-10 day time valid for testing, I took the test again and social distanced to avoid any doubt of exposure. Thankfully that test was negative also.
A lot of folks asked, “why did you take the risk to travel? Or was it really necessary to travel?” The way I see it is this: this virus is very dangerous once spread especially community spread, and yes I do take it very seriously as everyone should however as we walk and work in our local environments daily since the opening of our borders by the government on July 1st, we were compromised here as soon as the first international flight came in and every where we go locally as a result of it, a resurgence was expected. No fault of theirs or ours but the fact is, it’s hard to contain this without a fail proof system and we can’t escape a wave by staying closed forever, not now, not soon!!! We can’t stay inside for the rest of our lives but rather: All we can do is follow the law, listen to the parliamentary mandates and think twice before walking out the door without a mask, gloves and sanitizer because the fact is THE VIRUS DOESN’T CARE if you’re on a plane, or in church, or at the food store or even at work. We are all at risk once we step outside our homes and can catch it by not doing the right things which is in part limiting your human interactivity and sanitizing heavily and following the law. I refuse to live in fear but rather by precaution, sensibility and safety.
As I move daily in my life with caution it was not out of my usual movements to be careful with my surroundings, being OCD helped. Also truth is, there are many reasons why people “must” travel e.g kids traveling off to school, medical concerns, international business affairs, long distance relationships, responsibilities to older parents abroad and other personal reasons and with the idea of the borders shutting down again it may have not been possible again to handle whatever affairs we all may have. So I took advantage of MY reasons to travel…. if you can stay put and handle your affairs locally I suggest doing so, however if you must travel for reasons that need no explanation to others, BE SAFE and sound and think of how you can protect your loved ones when you go out whether locally or internationally.
Again, My advice to anyone who needs to travel domestically, internationally or even just to go to work daily? Please consider the reason for your movements, travel, do your research on the testing facilities, test type and validity of results, know that stats of the places you’re traveling to in advance, it helps. Plan properly, wear your mask, gloves, sanitize and wash your hands and do not physically engage with anyone unnecessarily. If you can work remotely petition for it, because being home IS the safest place to be…STAY safe and in style with Moxey! ❤