6 min read

My Observations of Covid in Different Countries

We all know that the only thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history - so what did we learn from this pandemic?

I stopped reading any news since June 2020, which I believe is one of the best decisions I have made during the covid period.

But here is my personal experience of what I saw and experienced in the real world:

2020

I was nomading around but went back to see parents for CNY, but around early January, I noticed some disturbing videos of people falling in the street in a telegram group.

I didn't know what was happening, and no one was talking about it. In late January, I started to tell my parents and a few friends about it ( something serious was going on in China ), but they thought I was overreacting.

Left China during CNY

I still remember how hard and expensive it was to stock up masks for my parents - this was before CNY before shops were closed - I learned that people really know how to make money, especially during hard times.

During CNY, we didn't even visit any relatives as people were worrying; I kept checking around and preparing tickets to fly out; I even bought two from different airports to prevent being stuck; It turned out I was right -  some flights were canceled, and some countries started to ban flights from china too.

I took the early one and left, as freedom is priceless.

Malaysia, in February

Covid border control: no one checked anything

Took off the mask the second I left the airport, and it felt like everything was still normal; Obviously, people have no idea what's going on, but I kept checking around - getting the faster and correct information in a time like this helped you make better decisions and could potentially save lives.

Thailand, in March

Covid border control: no one checked anything

But this time, I could feel people were worrying; I was thinking where do I prefer to live when the world is going nuts soon?

I ended up flying to Penang, Malaysia - I love the food and how peaceful there; on top of that, I can speak cantonese, got almost home-cooked feeling cuisine, and amazing weather and beaches!

Malaysia, around Mid-March

Covid border control: no one checked anything

Things still really chilled here at the start, but around the end of March, lockdown mode was on: most shops were closed, no eating out, and you needed to scan a QR code or write down your name& number for any shops you went to, which is def not practical, more like a safety blanket for mental conform.

But I had a pretty quiet six months in Malaysia, ate lots of good food, did lots of work, and learned new skills, but I started to get bored here - hey, I am an adventures nomad.

Turkey, around Mid August

Covid border control: no one checked anything

Things are quite "okay" here; measures were relatively not as annoying as in Malaysia; I went to some beach towns too, and life was pretty chilled, but I noticed businesses were struggling since there were not many tourists. But what a nice time to travel, and barely anyone realizes that?

Serbia, around Mid-September

Covid border control: no one checked anything

Serbians were barely wearing any masks and could finally meet new people and hug them 👀

But at the same time, I slowly figured I might need a home base:

a) winter is approaching soon

b) it seems no way I am possibly flying back to southeast Asia anytime soon

c) I need somewhere to feel safe and under control during this uncertain time

Based on my personal preferences and with some comparisons, I started setting up a home base in Istanbul, Turkey - which later turned out this was one of the best decisions I have made during the covid too.

And the whole experience of settling down in a country where people barely speak English, especially during this uneasy time, taught me A LOT.

2021

Worldwide lockdown from January to March was probably the darkest wintertime in my life and the coldest winter I experienced.

Measures in Turkey: No dining in, Hes code check-in lots of places; More and more countries started to have more restrictions on entry, which made traveling comes with lots of hustles, so I spent most of my time exploring within Turkey.

Ukraine, in August

Covid border control: needed to show PCR test

Feels like back to normal life again, and for the first time, I didn't wear a mask. I even thought to myself, if the covid continues, I am getting the residency here, at least I get to enjoy the peaceful life and good food, nice mixing up with life in Turkey.

Little did I know the war between Ukraine and Russia would be happening in seven months, and I am grateful that I got to see Ukraine before it got ruined.

Albania, around Mid-September

Covid border control: needed to show PCR test

And once again, barely anyone wears marks here! Seems nothing is happening at all.

2022

Greece, in January

Covid border control: needed to show PCR and got checked again after arrival

And here comes the most annoying thing ever, I was asked to show my vaccination card so to dine in restaurants, but I didn't get the vaccine ( my friend called this is a form of bullying )

And the next day, I was sitting outside a cafe, and the waitress asked me to show my vaccination card. Then I said I don't have it; she then later okay with my PCR test. But the fact that no one was sitting around me, it was literally in an empty garden, I then decided I needed to leave this country asap.

Portugal, in February

Covid border control: needed to show PCR / antigen test

But things were way more relaxed here; the only time I was asked to show a vaccine certificate was in a bar, but again I don't have it, but I did show them my PCR test, and it turned out they couldn't care less about my PCR which was four days ago:P

Backed home to Turkey

Honestly, the more I went to other countries, the more I appreciated living in Turkey; Yes, Turkey has many problems, but at least they do not bother me.

Things suddenly started to change in March.

Seems things started to relax suddenly,  and more and more countries began to lift the covid entry requirements - tourists are being welcome again.

But weirdly, China is going the total opposite during this time, while the whole world thought the pandemic had ended in China.

Hungary and Netherlands, in April

Covid border control: nothing; people barely wore masks in the custom

This is the first time in two years I saw an airport where barely any people wear masks - traveling was officially feeling like back in 2019!

But at the same time, people in Shanghai are being starved and on lockdown, seemingly without an end in sight.

These are my personal experiences. I only shared them as references. And truth to be told, we can not possibly know what is really happening in the whole world, and it is pointless to keep worrying or complaining too. Why not make the best of each day while we are alive?

Lessons

I believe this is the start of something more bizarre.

With all the war, nukes, covid, and inflation ( experiencing this in Turkey firsthand), I think the smart ones should start looking for a safe home in a safe country, ideally in a country that does not bother you with their problems, and I think I made a fairly good decision during this time.

Also, we all know that the only thing that we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history, so what did we learn from this pandemic?

My takeaways

  1. Most so-called experts have no clue about what they are doing

2.  Media are not for providing useful information but for eyeballs clicking

3. Independent voices are less and less but do find those honest and truth-seeking people

4. Freedom is more and more expensive

5. Finding a safe home in a country that does not bother you is a wise thing to do

6. As we know it, covid is not about covid anymore

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. ― Benjamin Franklin

7. How to prepare ourselves for the future?

Figure out how to stay healthy

Learn how to think for yourself

Be more sovereign.