We are at the airport looking at the empty departure hall. It’s us and about 5 other passengers on an international airport. We are covering ourselves with masks and our hands are inside our gloves. Covid-19 brings drastic changes to our trip.
About one month ago we wore that same mask in the middle of arctic winds. Zoë thought the masks would be a smart way to protect our nose and mouth against frostbite.
It worked just like we imagined, but we had never imagined using them for the reason of the actual function; protecting ourselves and others against a virus.
Our ski trip brought us two months and 1000 kilometer far past the North shore of Canada. When Covid-19 arrived in Europe, Canada took preventions.
In our location, far away from ’the world', just below the arctic circle, we had not thought that Corona would impact us. And it never actually did, but however, the fear of corona did arrive.
We were in a place called San Augustine, with no roads, no supermarkets, not a hospital, not even a health post.
San Augustine is a place where food arrives by plane, where the average age is 60+ and where they have to take a three hour flight to the first medical help. It makes sense that the villagers are scared of this virus.
Still, we had not imagined that their fear would change anything for us. One mailbox later, we had boarded a rollercoaster. Our mailbox was spammed with messages of people we never met before. Personal attacks towards us, that we are dangerous to the villages, we spread the virus, we will kill people and we are NOT welcome in their towns.
The always welcome traveler did become an unknown intruder. We felt very unwelcome, a feeling we had never felt before, and that hurt. We decided to leave the area, but not to leave the country. We moved back to the town where we started our ski trip two months before, a three hour flight, and three hour car trip back in time.
For ten days we thought we had found the perfect place to stay and ride out this storm. We were invited by a family for an unlimited stay. They understood our situation and we spent some nice days together. We built an igloo, we went snowshoeing and we just had fun. But by the tenth day, we received the message to leave their house the very next day. Also here, the fear of corona had arrived. Suddenly our hosts felt overwhelmed by the situation and couldn’t host us any longer. We were now officially homeless in the middle of a crisis.
We did not give up our wish to stay in Canada. We always have said "After three and a half years of traveling, the world is our home. Problems can be solved where we are."
Whatever we tried, there was nowhere to go. People didn’t rent us living space and we were not allowed to travel to the next village. Our luggage only moved over snow, not over roads. We felt miserable. Unwelcome. Otherworldly.
At the airport, we felt trapped. We fought, teared up, and discussed. ‘Why can’t we stay? And then we realized, there is always one place we knew that won’t turn their backs on us: Our beloved parents. We change our plans and fly to our next destination: back to The Netherlands.