Categories: Travel Stories

A day in the life of quarantine: Volume 2

by Jessie Beyer - Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Updates From Staff Around The World

With much of the world on lockdown we have been checking in with our staff and tour leaders to see how they are spending their days. Here’s a little trip around the world to check in with them and get a glimpse of their days.


Janice Leonard, Tour Leader

Where do you live/ are you currently located?
I’m living and working on a dog sledding kennel near Tromsø, far far North of Norway, beyond the polar circle.

What are the current regulations for where you live about going outside?
Restrictions are not so strict, we can still go out and walk around. Most shops are closed, but not all of them, so you can go shopping freely.

What did you do today?
I went to work! Even if the kennel stopped organizing dog sledding tours for tourists, we still have over 120 dogs that need to be fed, trained and cuddled on a daily basis no matter what is happening in the rest of the world. So today, I went out sledding to run some dogs and I changed straw in their houses (spring hasn’t reached the polar circle yet, we get snow pretty much everyday and we want the dogs to have a dry place to sleep in). I also cuddled with our newly born puppies who need to be socialized from a very young age. Definitely not the worst part of this job. 😉

Are you able to get exercise, if so what are you doing?
Working physically hard in the snow and cold all day long is definitely enough exercise for me.

How are you staying in touch with friends and family?
Thank God there is Internet! I chat a lot with my family and friends and I call them regularly to know how things are going in other countries.

What foods/drinks have you really been enjoying lately?
Well, since food and drinks are so expensive in Norway, me and my colleagues started baking our own bread and… brewing our own beer! Our first home-made beer has been described by some as a “light, refreshing summer juice,”so there might be room for improvement there. We are working on the next version.

Where is the first place you hope to visit once travel restrictions are lifted?
I’ll go hug my family in Belgium first and then probably travel around in the Alps.

What have you found to be most grateful for during quarantine?
I feel lucky that I got quarantined in a beautiful place with amazing landscapes and nature, and so remote from the world that I am somewhat protected from the turmoil of the pandemic.

If you had one piece of advice for people right now what would it be?
No advice, only good vibes from the Great North for everyone.


Betta Sazzini, Tour Leader Manager

Where do you live?
I live in Bologna with my partner Paolo in an apartment so I don’t really have much open space  to run around.

What are the current regulations for where you live about going outside?
We cannot go out for any reason, not even exercising on our own or for a walk in the park, if it’s further than 200 meters and people are tempted to break the rules when they see the beautiful sun out, but we need to be patient. We all look forward to May 4th when restrictions are supposed to lifta bit as we enter phase 2.

What did you do today?
After the first days of setting up a new routine of work, exercise and homemade cooking we started to look at doing something useful so we managed to buy paint and we have painted home, nice and slowly as we had never done before for lack of time (or ever will). Oh, how much that was needed! And the house now is as clean as it can be!

How are you staying in touch with friends and family?
WhatsApp and social media in general but with closer friends and family by phone. It has been nice to catch up with people who I never could find the time to call during ‘normal’ times.

What foods/drinks have you really been enjoying lately?
I have tried baking cakes and bread and used my oven more in the last few weeks than in years before. I look for interesting recipes online and give them a try here and there. I enjoy doing that but I’ll stop as soon as I will be able to go out to eat at a restaurant again!

Where is the first place you hope to visit once travel restrictions are lifted?
I will take my bike, leave from home and pedal as far as I can. Whatever direction I will take there will be surprises for me. A great opportunity to start that bikepacking dream that I have been wanting to do in a long time: ride your bike alone and camp along the way will be one the first forms of travel that we will be allowed to do, I hope.

What have you found to be most grateful for during this time?
That I have a partner I can share all this with. It would be much harder for me to face all this alone. Also the amount of time to experiment new things and do everything at a slower pace. Normally we would paint our house in a rush in two days while it took two weeks to do it thoroughly. I am following online courses of mindfulness and Qi Gong that I had always wanted to experiment with and did not find the time before.

If you had one piece of advice for people right now what would it be?
Enjoy the positive moments of this special status. There will be a time when we will all look back to parts of it and say: at least when I was quarantined I could….

Also, I am among those who would like to see a better world come out  of this pandemic especially in the way we are treating our planet: seeing no cars around, animals that are coming back to town, clear waters in the rivers and pollution decrease makes me want to hope for the best.


Nadine Dirksen, Bicycle and Travel Support Architect

Where do you live/ are you currently located?
Fort Collins, CO, that magical place teasing us with the most beautiful spring weather and adding in a few deep snow days for good measure. Is April truly the cruelest month?

What are the current regulations for where you live about going outside?
Wash your hands, stay at least 6 feet apart from people who don’t regularly breathe the same air as you do, generally stay at home and be thoughtful, and don that home-made mask when going grocery shopping. Oh, and howl if you step outside your door at 8 PM. Ok, this is not a regulation but an interesting and deeply touching social phenomenon, and I believe it’s being done now in several states across the US. Our neighborhood and the neighborhoods surrounding us have been participating. Even if you don’t want to howl yourself it is quite a connecting and freeing experience at the same time. Fun trivia: I told my favorite Munich radio station about the howl and they were so into it that they did it live on the air.

What are you doing / did you do today? (Depending on what time you’re answering the question)
Today I’ve been working while watching our dog wallow in self-pity about the snow. Sadly, due to the hefty amount of snow we got over night, he refused to give me my usual daily hour-long walk to the nearby park where I’ve been observing spring unfold. My husband and I are both working from home right now and we usually do some workouts together. Most recently, we’ve been joining an online class that we usually attend in real life, doing some strength training with improvised weights. I will probably do some more cardio after I’m done working. Maybe I’ll incorporate the steps in our house, or I’ll just do some burpees. Weirdly enough I like burpees. And since it’s cold out, we all will get cozy on the couch later tonight, maybe watch a house design show from Britain or listen to one of the countless podcasts I love. And I will keep knitting my new blanket. With any luck I might be done with it by summer of 2022.

Are you able to get exercise, if so what are you doing? 
Oooooh yes! See above – my husband and I join an online class whenever we can, and often throw some additional kind of daily workout in. There are so many apps out there and the internet has a ton of suggestions on things to do. I like the quick burners, like the “descending ladder” workouts, e.g. 10 burpees, 10 sit-ups, 10-push-ups, then 9 in the next round, then 8, you get the idea. If winter doesn’t overextend its invitation, I like to go for runs, and of course bike rides! We’ve been out quite a few times in the nice weather but we do miss our friends who usually share the riding fun with us – be it mountain or road.

How are you staying in touch with friends and family?
My own family is in Germany, so I’m quite used to not seeing them regularly. I usually give them a call when I’m on one of my dog walks to check in. Other than that, technology always helps to keep in touch with people. Since so many of my friends are across the pond as well, we’ve taken to exchanging voice messages. With the friends over here, I’ve been texting mostly. I found myself emailing more and reaching out to people I haven’t heard from in a while as our contact is more sporadic in general.

What foods/drinks have you really been enjoying lately?
Well……. In the beginning, our shopping list was like: broccoli, spinach, eggs, avocados, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, tuna, yogurt. After three weeks in isolation, more like: cookies, wine, pie, pizza, cheese, wine, more cookies, potato chips. Which is to say, I usually eat a pretty healthy and balanced diet but am not ashamed to indulge once in a while. Hence the burpees.

Where is the first place you hope to visit once travel restrictions are lifted?
Probably downtown Fort Collins for a post-quarantine happy hour with friends. And the local trails to get some long-awaited mountain bike rides in. And then, who knows?

What have you find you are most grateful for during quarantine?
Living comfortably in a beautiful house with my husband and dog, being able to work from home – and even though we are remote, I feel our amazing team has grown closer together in this. I feel the same wonderful connection with our travelers – I knew our customers were special but this connection is on a whole new level. I think this Great Pause can pose great chances for humanity and, while acknowledging the bad effects, I see a lot of newly found chances in the slow down.

If you had one piece of advice for people right now what would it be?
Science.

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Jessie Beyer - Originally from the suburbs of Washington, D.C., Jessie headed west for college and never looked back. She earned a Journalism and Technical Communications degree from Colorado State University, and has since worked in a variety of industries including radio, sustainability, and wine tourism. Jessie combines her passion for travel, cycling, and storytelling to help people understand the unique power of exploring the world from the seat of a bike. A self-proclaimed travel junkie, Jessie has found herself on many extended adventures. She spent 2015 exploring many corners of the world including tramping through New Zealand's mountains, cycling through Europe, and hitching a boat ride down the Mekong river from Laos into Thailand. At home in Colorado you'll likely find her singing her way up mountain trails, talking to strangers, and seeking restaurants with patios and Spanish wines.

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