“Cabin crew, please take your seats for landing.”
I hear knocking on the door. I check my watch, Sunday October 18, it is 7.12 am. It feel like to me it is like the middle of the night. I focus on the moment and try to think what is wrong. Could that be the breakfast? But it is so early! I open the door, and yes, it’s the breakfast. My last breakfast, yes, really, my last Daily Breakfast. I already removed any barrier for the quality of expectation for this meal. And I am happy about that, because it was again the tasteless, crust less, soggy sandwich with fake cheese, cucumber and ham. Without thinking, I ditched this sandwich, and open the other two close small cups. One was filled with scrambled egg, the other one with some pieces of tangerine. Honestly, both products were not bad at all, and enjoyed them with the cold black tea that was provided and a banana that I took from my fruit area.
Slowly, I really begin to realize that today is really the last day! Less than 18 hours left. I switch on my computer, and instead of starting my daily sports exercise, I realize that I want to finish and submit the Podcast from yesterday, and want to submit the last Podcast before the end of my Quarantine! So that means, that I need to be even more productive today then all the other days. With that mind set, I start writing, and writing. Then at 8.40 am my hotel phone rings. Owhnoo, so stupid! I forgot to submit my body temperature to the System. I pick-up the phone, and immediately start talking: “I am sorry, I will provide the temperature as soon as possible.” But the person on the other side on the phone says: “Thank you sir. The police is here to check if you are still there. Please stay in your room.” Suddenly I feel that my heart skipping a beat. Oh Oh. Why o why are they here? I stayed here all the time, I didn’t move an inch, although maybe some inches, but really didn’t leave the room. Or did I? Did I leave the room while I was asleep? Yes, that could be! I try to focus, really? Could that be? And what what be the penalty? Do I need to extend my stay for another day? Of maybe two? Or need to start all over again? Start over again the 14 days? No, that is not possible, they cannot do that. Can they? That would be a catastrophe, and bloody nightmare for me. I think about all the big fat headlines in the newspapers. “Dutch visitor brings our country in great danger“. Or “Visitor from The Netherlands, escorted and kicked out by the national force” . I feel the beating of my heart, faster and faster. Then I check my phone, and switch off the flight mode, and suddenly I realize what happened. Immediately I think back on the phone call I had with the police on day zero. He emphasized that I should never ever switch off my phone, because it is needed to check my whereabouts. Of course, so stupid! Because the phone was on airplane mode, it was disconnected from the network, meaning that they couldn’t track me! I submit my body temperature to the System, and call back the reception desk, to apologize. Then she friendly told me that it was indeed because of my phone. It can happen, but there is no problem at all. The police didn’t really need to see me in person, and they were already gone. Relieved I hang up the phone. I start to make a cup of coffee, and realize that I really thought for a split second, that I have been doing all this quarantine for nothing.
Today is the last day, so I want to look back to my stay and try to dissect and analyze this rollercoaster. What are the three highlights and lowlights? What are the take home messages for me? What could be better? And what should I recommend someone who needs to start a 14 day stay in a quarantine hotel. And some trivia stuff.
First and foremost important highlight for me, was the energy that I got from writing, recording and sharing my Q10 Podcast. Okay, yes, everyday there was pressure, but that felt good, to create something, and to finish it, every single day!
The second highlight were the lunch and dinner that were provided to my room. I can’t emphasize enough that for me, food really can make or break a moment. The hotel had absolutely a great selection of meals from good quality restaurants!
Third highlight, is in a way related to the first highlight was the vast amount of messages and support that I have received by so many people. Yes, I was alone in my hotel room, but in general I didn’t feel so much alone. I am all those people so thankful!
Okay, now let go to my three lowlights.
The most important lowlight for me is that I really could not leave my room. It is the feeling and the knowledge that an important part of your freedom has been taken away. I love, really love to be outside, as mentioned yesterday, it give me that instant satisfaction.
Second lowlight, is the quality of the breakfast. Yes, I even tried to make jokes about it in the morning, but that could not change my final verdict, the breakfast was really subpar. Yes that again is a euphemism.
Third lowlight is a collection of all the moments that I really felt emotionally empty, like no energy to do anything. I really had to put myself together, and force to do something from which I know would give me positive energy. That was not funny, and sometimes really felt hopeless.
Let’s move to the next topic.
What are the three most important take home messages for me?
Firstly, I feel more confident now, that I can be happy and content to just stay in one room for a day, without being outside with all external stimuli that comes with the outside world. I can better than ever focus on myself, my mind, my body. Okay, I had to create my own new nano space, with my personal daily schedule, my own routine, my own Groundhog day, but at the end it worked for me! Stick to the schedule.
Secondly, I know I get more energy from creating, learning and building things than just consuming stuff. And this stay really emphasized that intrinsic property of me very clearly! The daily blog I wrote, the daily podcast I recorded, the live streaming, the sports exercises and last but definitely not least, to sing and endless amount of songs with my karaoke set.
Thirdly and lastly, I am really a social animal. I love to interact with people, to help them and to see and experience that there are enjoying their life. Although I couldn’t physically meet people, the virtual meetings and messaging were very welcome! Again, it can never ever replace the real thing, but taking my situation into account, this was a good alternative. Without all these connecting moments, my stay would be much more challenging.
Okay, what could be better?
I can’t look back to anything without thinking about ways to improve it. The three most important things, if I could go back in time, I would improve are:
Firstly, I would tell the front desk at day number zero, to cancel all my breakfasts, as I will order my own breakfast with Foodpanda.
Secondly, I would bring big sheets of paper, some markers and Scotch tape, to be able to write down thoughts, ideas, schemes or brain farts.
Thirdly, I would put my mobile phone next to the sink, out of hand reach while sleeping and put it on quiet mode, so nobody can disturb me, only the people from the hotel using the local phone.
Okay move on to next topic.
What should I recommend someone who needs to start a 14 day stay in a quarantine hotel.
Like many things in life, be prepared, don’t start it without understanding the process! There are various ways of preparing, and I hope that listening to my Podcast a week prior your quarantine might be very helpful. Key is to make sure you bring enough things with you, from which you know it gives you a lot of positive energy. Such as my jumping rope, karaoke set, books, coffee grinder, laptop, Bluetooth speaker and my French shower gel to remind me of my last holiday in France. In Taiwan there there so many shops that can deliver food and products, so I would definitely not worry about food, snacks or drinks. Actually, probably people might put on a lot of weight in those two weeks here with all the amazing food options! Last recommendation, again, is to have a schedule for every single day! Don’t get lost in the endless amounts of hours in front of you, just focus on today’s schedule, and try to enjoy the small tiny happy moments you create by yourself!
In the last 14 days: I did not wear any socks; I did not see any real human face or animal within let’s say 10 meters distance; I did not feel any sun light on my skin; I was not outside and did not see any tree or flowers; I ate two pieces of fruit everyday and finally I was jumping rope every single day. I think, I am correct to conclude, that for all these statements, it is the first time in my life.
Okay, my last words before signing off. I started this journey more than 14 days ago from my bedroom in The Netherlands, I boarded the plane to Taiwan, and still feel that I am somewhere in the sky, and that the last 14 days were just a very, very long flight. It doesn’t feel like individual days, just being in the air so long! In a way, you are also quarantined when you take a flight. But right now I feel the excitement of landing, and exiting my plane! Less than two hours, less than 100 minutes before I can set again foot on real Taiwan soil. Thank you so much for flying with me, it made the journey absolute worthwhile and a lot more pleasant. Maybe we will meet again, maybe we won’t. Please take care of yourself and others. Your life is so short, our journey on this planet is so short. Please try to enjoy it, it is not about our final destination, it is the journey that counts! If you haven’t tried, you haven’t lived.
“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the end of your Quarantine. Local time is 23.59 am and the local temperature is 23 degrees Celsius.
For your safety and comfort, please listen till the end of the announcement with great care and please be seated until the Captain turns off the “Stay in your Room Sign”. This will indicate that it is Monday October 19th, exactly midnight, your quarantine is over, and it is safe for you to move about and leave your room.
Please check around you for any remaining personal belongings you may have brought with you during this quarantine, especially under the bed, toilet and bathroom.
On behalf of the Manager and the entire crew, I’d like to thank you for joining us on this special stay and we are looking forward to seeing you again. Have a nice stay, and Welcome to Taiwan”