I bought a three year old Lusitano stallion from Morgado Lusitano in Portugal on December 3rd 2019. The plan was and is for the stallion, Mágico, to stay at Morgado Lusitano in the professional training of Francisco Cancela De Abreu and for me to visit for a long weekend once a month. I was able to make my January and February visits but then . . . Covid-19 . . .
I read everything I could get my hands on in English, Finnish, Swedish and French and The Portugal News in English to understand what is being found out, how it impacts our lives and what health authorities and governments are recommending and demanding.
Taking all I had read into consideration, I booked my visits to Morgado Lusitano, which are marked in green on the calendar pictures below. In addition to that my daughter came to visit from Bahrain in the beginning of August, marked with a heart, and her husband joined in the beginning of September, also marked with a heart. Each arrival in Finland initiated a 14-day quarantine.
The past four months have been a success. Neither me nor my partner, daughter or her husband have gotten Covid-19. The travels and the quarantines have brought new behaviours and routines to our lives but we have been able to continue life within the “new normal”.
Everything is planned around the travels and the quarantines. Meeting up with family and friends, shopping, servicing the car, getting my mare shoed, visiting the dentist, etc. etc. The new normal. It works.
Every now and then I come across friends or acquaintances in social media who post that they are going to take e.g. a month’s break. Until now I’ve thought that what a shame, that if you’re active in social media you’re bound to get jealous or otherwise just unbalanced people who send you nasty messages. Just duck, let them fly over your head and move on.
Since I knew I was not doing anything wrong or illegal, I posted into facebook about my visit to Morgado Lusitano in the beginning of July. I was surprised at the amount of hate messages that I received. The first couple of days, I was just amazed and disappointed at people’s reactions but when the hate messages just kept coming day after day, I was surprised to feel how they started affecting my mood. I started to understand the people who take social media breaks.
When I was travelling in the beginning of August, my friends advised me not to post anything in social media. I said I will, because I am not doing anything wrong or illegal and I stand behind my choices and actions . . . and the crap kept flying my way.
I was surprised by the fact that the hate messages came from among my facebook “friends”, who are highly educated people, professionals who seek for information and, hopefully, read it critically.
I was surprised by the fact that no-one asked me how the travel went, what precautions I took, what precautions were taken at the airports, airplanes, taxis. How was Covid-19 taken into consideration at Morgado Lusitano. I was just condemned to have no values, no ethics, no regard for the life of others, and so on.
I was surprised by the fact that the seasoned international travellers now claimed that anything that travels across the boarders is by definition contaminated: “close the boarders!” I was appalled at the lack of understanding of different cultures, wanting to understand more than just the color code the entire country was stamped with without looking into where the cases were, the lack of empathy.
By the time I went to see Mágico in the beginning of October, the second wave had started in Finland. I think we can all agree that the spreading of the virus is dependent on how we people behave be it here at home, at a travel destination or in public transportation (airplanes included). The vast majority of the cases in Finland now come from gatherings with family and friends. And I didn’t get one single hate message.
There is something good in everything. Two good things came to my life with Covid-19:
- Distance working has proven to be efficient. As long as I’m within the EU, my laptop is as safely managed as in Finland, and it doesn’t make any difference to my client where I am physically when I do my work.
- Distance working reduces ageism. I am sixty years old and I’ve faced ageism the past five years. For example, I had been interviewed for a project by a thirty plus director. I got hired. As we were walking down the stairs to the company lobby, the director in front of me, he turns around and says “Oh fuck! Do I need to hire a junior consultant to assist you or can you use Word, Excel and PowerPoint?” Now that we work via Teams and Zoom meetings, I’m just a voice without an age. They just listen to the expertise the experience of my long career brings them.