I normally write about my travel, but just like you, I wasn’t able to travel this month. Due to the governmental restrictions that have been enforced since March 27th here in Ireland, I have not been able to travel further than 2km from my home. For people over the age of 70, living in Ireland it is even more strict as they cannot leave their homes whatsoever. For many, this has been a very traumatic event. Many of my own friends and family are really struggling to get through this. It’s a weird time to be alive. However, personally I’ve actually been dealing with the quarantine reasonably well. I was trying to figure out wondering why? I wanted to get my head around it by writing this article. So I thought I would write down and document my experiences of being in Dublin during the Covid19 pandemic and what I’ve been getting up to while stuck indoors.
For many, even if they haven’t become sick or lost their jobs, their normal working days and routines have been turned upside down. I am fortunate that I run my own business, work from home and I don’t have kids I need to look after. I know for many its a struggle to find the balance of working from home and being a good parent. All my clients are international so I normally meet them online via Zoom, Microsoft teams, WhatsApp or Skype anyway. In fact, I haven’t actually met any of my current clients in person. I run a consultancy so I am not reliant on any shipments or orders of stock to arrive. I just need the internet and a computer to keep operational.
As I don’t own a car and live in central Dublin. I don’t really travel more than 2km that often to be honest. I walk to the shops to get my groceries and any supplies. Again nothing much changed here except the queues and social distancing. Take a look at Alex’s video below of cycling through Dublin during the pandemic and you’ll see how ghostly quiet it actually is at the moment.
I think a major reason why I can deal with this so well is that we have gone through a lot in the past few years. Last year we also did a type of forced self-quarantine when Alex was recovering from his knee injury and he couldn’t walk without crutches or without the aid of a wheelchair. For several months we only saw the length of Francis Street. When I first walked to Grafton street ( 15 mins walk further) a few months later I was amazed to see all the shops, cafés and bars had changed since we had been away in Amsterdam. I am adaptable as most travelers and backpackers are. I have moved house dozens of times in the last 3 years as well as moving country, so readjusting to new routines is somewhat normal for me.
So what did I get up to this month?
Well as I did quite a bit of travel already this year. To Amsterdam for New Years, Greenwich, to meet up with my crazy cousins, Las Palmas for my 40th Birthday and a weekend in Wexford, Ireland to celebrate my dad’s Birthday. Then right before the lockdown, I went to Riga, Latvia for my friends 40th. So I was actually ok to stay still for a bit and not travel during the month of April even though we had planned to be in Amsterdam.
Friends & Family
My friends and family are scattered around the country and the world. So I normally catch up via WhatsApp anyway. In normal times, once every few weeks, I meet with my mates who live outside the city and catch up over dinner & drinks in-person or I meet for a lazy lunch in town with some mates living in town. This seems like such a privilege right now to be able to meet friends and go out for lunch! How bizarre?? I’m also very lucky to live with Alex and I am very grateful to have a partner to go through this with. I know if I lived by myself I would probably struggle a lot more.
As we’ve lived abroad many times in Amsterdam, Melbourne and we’ve even traveled for over 2 years around Asia. I have experienced what it’s like to be away from friends and family for extended periods of time. It’s still not a great feeling but I know how to manage it.
Now to stay connected we have weekly family Zoom on Friday nights and a friend catch up on Saturday nights. In between, I use Whatsapp mainly to stay connected with folks around the globe. I’ve been hearing first hand how they are tackling things right now in Madrid, Singapore, Dubai, Auckland, Amsterdam and London. All surprisingly different which is both interesting and alarming in some cases.
Art & creativity
I am a member of the Dublin Sketchers group and we continue to meet up every Sunday. Although virtually instead of in-person safe from the comfort of our own homes. So far we’ve sketched the Dublin Zoo via live webcams, Aras an Uachtaráin (the presidents gaff in Phoenix park) though imagery, The GPO through Google Streetview and Dublin Airport via videos. Great fun for any Urban Sketcher.
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I’ve also attended several online life drawing classes. It’s been a few decades since I last attended a life drawing class via Zoom. I find it’s so relaxing and fully absorbing that you don’t notice the time flying by. It’s not the same as attending in person but I have a big screen which helps to see the model clearly.
It’s been a month of birthdays so I’ve enjoyed creating lots of cards and bookmarks for people. Sometimes it’s easier to find the time to create with someone else in mind that for yourself! I’ve also experimented with different illustration techniques and mixing digitally collage and ink line drawing techniques.
Messed around with acrylic inks and had some fun just explored techniques without any end result in mind. Intuitive painting is so freeing and it’s very interesting to see what comes out onto the paper.
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I love live music. Although I’ve been able to see some great performances live on social media. It can never really capture the same atmosphere and vibes as dancing together to the rythym of the same beat. I will never take that for granted, ever again. Hollie Cook is doing Sunday sessions live on Instagram and it is definitely worth checking out. She has such a sweet soulful voice with tropical tunes. If anyone else has heard or knows of other great performances coming up let me know in the comments section below.
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I am also using this time to explore different opportunities and to learn about eCommerce by setting up a Shopify store and reopening my Etsy store with some of my own work. If I can manage to get some sales I am hoping to donate any proceeds to charity! NB. If anyone has any experience with selling on Etsy, Shopify or dropshipping let me know!!
Learning, reading & watching
It’s good to keep the juices flowing. So I signed up for Creative Live an online learning platform and completed a course by Illustrator Lisa Congdon on productivity as a creative and another by Standford professors Dave Evans and Bill Burnett on how to apply design thinking to your life.
I also completed illustrator Cat Coquillette’s new class on growing your creative business through Instagram which gave me some good inspiration and motivation to share more of my work.
What I’ve been reading
I love any travel or adventure related books. So I thoroughly enjoyed The Spice Islands Voyage by Tim Severin. I picked up a copy before the lockdown in a gem of a local second-hand book store called Marrowbone books. Not sure when they will open their doors again but if they do, please support them. I’m also currently halfway through a gifted book called ‘Say Nothing’. It’s about the troubles in Northern Ireland and it is intense and a real eye-opener for me. Ashamedly, I didn’t appreciate the context of a lot of the events that happened in the North before reading this book. It’s written like a gripping thriller but it’s non-fiction.
- The Spice Islands Voyage: The Quest for the Man who shared Darwin’s Discovery of Evolution by Tim Severin
- Currently reading – Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland
What I’ve been watching
The people we meet youtube channel is AMAZING. I have been binge-watching episodes. It’s done in a really immersive documentary style with a great human story angle.
I am very grateful that my income hasn’t really changed much. In fact, I took on new clients in the last month. If anything our business has grown ever so slightly. It’s been a good month and we even managed to hit our quarterly goal so I’m very happy with that. I really enjoy working with clients all over the world. Most of them are based in North America right now. However, I am also helping Masters students from the Digital Marketing Institute who are living in diverse places such as Namibia and Jamaica. It’s wonderful to hear their stories and gain insights into their lives and how business operates in those regions. However, things are very unstable right now with the economy and things can change fast.
So as you can see in the above collage we didn’t starve. We mostly cooked from scratch. However, we did cave once and ordered a takeaway from Cafe Oasis, YUM! We also found a few places still open that I thoroughly enjoyed supporting.
- Stone oven baked pizza slice from Dollard & Co
- A Turkish Borek & Pide from Ayla.ie
- Fumbally café has opened as an amazing shop on Friday’s & Saturdays selling loads of fresh Irish ingredients
As I am basically eating my way through the quarantine I decided it might be a good idea to do a bit of exercise. Attempting “Yoga with Adrienne’s” free 30 days challenge for April. To be honest I didn’t do it every day. However, I did stick to it most days and completed about 25 days in total over the month. Which I am very happy with. It is very good for my standards anyway.
I also did some Qi Gong with Lee Holden which I find amazing and if you’ve never done it before it’s like a moving meditation. Helping you basically keep sane during these crazy times.
We went on a few walks in our 2km radius and really enjoyed strolling through St. Patrick’s Park and Merrion Square park when it opened again. It’s the only bit of green patch we have access to right now. But thankful we at least have the opportunity of leaving the house as many do not right now.
Goals & Plans for May
So what are my goals and plans for the month of May in Quarantine?
My aim to walk more in the coming month, especially as the weather is getting a bit better and there is a stretch in the evenings. We heard today that restrictions will be lifted slightly from Tuesday. So we can go up to 5km from our house for exercise. This means we can take a walk in Phoenix park and also visit Sandymount strand to see the sea again and smell the salty air! From May 18th we can meet up with people outside again in small groups. So I might go for a walk or picnic if the weather is good with some of my mates that live within 5km.
I also bought a resin jewelry starter kit online and it should arrive sometime in the next 2 weeks. So looking forward to playing with that and seeing what I can do with it. A friend inspired me with some of the wonderful creations that she made with dried flowers. If I can get good enough I met even but a few up on my Etsy shop for you to purchase.
The plan is also to finish up the Etsy and Shopify online stores and maybe link to it from here? I should have a good idea of what works by the end of the month so I can report back then.
I’m definitely going to try and keep the yoga up as much as possible. I figured out that if I do it first thing in the morning before I have coffee and not awake yet I have a far greater chance of getting it done!
Finishing the Say Nothing book is on the list of things I want to do. There are a couple of books I have yet to read in the house so I will get stuck into the next one in the stack.
Let’s see what May brings. You never know what this crazy world will bring us next.