*Subject to change pending updates on regulations amid the Covid-19 outbreak
Considering I work in news full-time, the last thing I feel like talking about right now is the Coronavirus. That being said, one of the industries hardest hit by it has been travel. From vacations cancelled or postponed to temporary travel bans, travelers are learning to make due with a new way of life in the midst of an outbreak. Add on to that the stress of being out of work or trying to find a babysitter for your kids because their schools are closed for the next few weeks. It’s a tough time all-around.
For the majority of us, we’re under self-isolation. We may not have the virus, but we’re trying to stay home and away from others as much as possible to help avoid spreading it further. It’s called ‘Social Distancing’ .
Now, while some folks are handling this outbreak gracefully, there are others who seem to think “shitting yourself non-stop” is a symptom. Newsflash: it’s not. People hoarding toilet paper and hand-sanitizer right now are the real-life version of the token asshole in every disaster movie.
With travel virtually obsolete and our social scene bleak, it can bring up feelings of boredom and frustration. So, what are some positive things we can do to help us get through the Covid-19 outbreak?
1. Save up for your future travels
Believe me, it can be SUPER tempting to book a plane ticket right now. The other day I saw a $46 round trip ticket from Detroit to New Orleans, and I seriously considered taking a weekend getaway. The thing is, you can run the risk of your flight getting cancelled, especially if things continue to get worse. What you CAN do though, is use this time to put away extra money for future travels. If you’re not out spending money because everything is closed, then save up! This virus won’t be around forever and we’ll get to travel again. In the meantime, we can save up for adventures to come.
2. Get out in nature
Social distancing just means staying away from other people; it doesn’t mean you have to stay inside though. Personally speaking, nature is one of the best ways I can lift my spirits and exercise at the same time. If you’re feeling unsure of hitting the gym, go on a hike! You’ll feel better and won’t have to worry about being around any crowds.
3. Help out someone who can’t go out
If you’re young and healthy, consider running some errands for folks who are considered high-risk if they get the Coronavirus. Be the person who asks “What can I do for others?” instead of “I’ve got mine. You’re on your own.”
4. Stay in communication
Being physically isolated doesn’t mean you have to stop talking to each other. Thankfully we live in a time when technology is very helpful during an outbreak. Facetime, phone calls, texts. It’s important that we still remember to reach out to each other so we don’t feel so alone.
5. Find the funny and the good
Coronavirus – or any outbreak for that matter – is a serious thing and I would never aim to maliciously make light of that. However, these things can leave us feeling stressed out and perhaps in a state of panic. Memes and videos can help us relieve some of that. And hey, IT'S OKAY TO LAUGH. You’re not a bad person for laughing at a Coronavirus meme. It means you’re human and trying to not lose your mind from all the negativity that you’re also hearing. There are a few viral videos out of Italy that I love. One shows people under isolation playing music together from their individual apartment balconies and another of an opera singer serenading his neighbors in Florence. When times are tough, it's okay to seek out things that lift us up.
6. Watch your favorite travel films
Feeling bummed you can’t actually take that trip to Paris right now? Let the movies bring you there. They can inspire you, so that when this does blow over, you’ll be even more ready and excited to travel again.
If someone you know is buying up all the toilet paper from stores, feel free to send them a bottle of Miralax.
I’m not a fan of people who hate on Los Angeles. Sure, there’s plenty to roll your eyes at: the hipster juice bars selling over-priced beverages that promise miracles. The crowds of aspiring influencers taking endless photos in front of the Paul Smith store on Melrose Ave. Or the combined scent of poop and weed that lingers around Hollywood.
But regardless of how many stereotypes LA plays into, one thing that shouldn’t be discounted is that it also has a real heart and soul to it. I find the folks that hate LA have either never been there or never had a chance to really get to know it.
We recently lost one of basketball’s greatest players in Kobe Bryant. To the world, Bryant was a sports icon and superstar, but for Angelenos he was a hero and symbol of hometown pride. But it was his tragic and sudden death that united LA in a way I had never seen before.
When I visited Los Angeles in February shortly after his death, I found endless tributes to his legacy. There were murals up and down Melrose Ave. dedicated to Kobe and his daughter, Gigi. People also wore clothing to honor their favorite Laker. Even LA’s metro system found ways to pay their respects with buses that read ‘RIP Kobe’ and subway screens with the numbers 8 and 24 on them.
It's been two years since I left Los Angeles. At the time, I needed a change; I wanted to see new places and was interested in pursuing expanded career opportunities. But it was the friendships I made in LA that made me yearn to go back and visit.
My trip to California was a very quick 5 days. It was short, sweet, and a necessary break from Michigan. After a few days in the Laguna Beach area, I took the train up to LA to meet up with my cousin Betsy and her family. It was some much-needed family time. Even the shortest reunions are worth it just to see the people you love.
After spending the night at my cousin’s place, it was off to my old neighborhood of West Hollywood to see some of my former Zumba students for coffee. Becoming a Zumba Fitness instructor was hands-down one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Not only did it give me great employment opportunities while living in LA, it also introduced me to a network of people across the city that I was able to build friendships with. My class at 24 Hour Fitness in West Hollywood was always tight-knit – many of them knew one another years before I showed up. I got to catch up with Greg, Teri, and Susan. We couldn’t believe it had already been two years, but that’s the thing about friendships: you catch up right where you left off.
After coffee, it was off to brunch with my good friend Heidi. We caught up for over 4 hours! It was just like old times, since we always loved checking out the cool spots around WeHo.
The night ended with a trip to LA’s famous Magic Castle, which sits on a top of a hill in the heart of Hollywood. This spot is so exclusive you actually need a connection to get in, so shout-out to my friend Jonathan for making that happen. This mansion is really cool inside, and in a city where casual attire is dominant, it’s fun to see everyone all dressed up. You’re treated to magicians performing all over the mansion, as well as stage shows at designated times throughout the evening. Yours truly even got pulled up on stage at one point! I suppose the real magic of that moment was that I didn’t fall over in my heels…
When I think of what I miss most about LA, it’s not the warm weather or the ocean – though they are definite perks. Instead, it's the friendships and people I care about that make it so special. It’s easy to write off Los Angeles as this soulless, vapid city, but I beg you to consider a whole other side to it; a side where genuine friendships are made and good people are all around you. This is the LA I know and love.
About the author
Jill Zwarensteyn is a writer, comedian, and television producer who has been featured on Amazon, truTV, The New York Times, Matador Network, BUST Magazine, Tiplr, ARTRPRNR Magazine, YourTango, Thought Catalog, GoMad Nomad, Mashable, The Daily Mail UK, the Cannes Film Festival, LaughFest, Women's Lifestyle Magazine, and the Funny Women Festival LA. For more info visit: http://www.jillzwarensteyn.weebly.com