Two years have passed since the world learned of COVID-19. The question, “Where were you when it happened?” is a common one.
Today, both in video and text form, I want to answer that question and document it here for all of you.
While video form is much more entertaining, I’ll also recap it through text, and also link to those specific videos for each major section.
Timeline of Events
Here are the major milestones, with both the text and video blog to go with it.
Let’s start with:
Christmas 2019 – Leaving Thailand for Northeast China
The beginning would take place by virtue of just random “luck” or chance. We decided to leave Thailand for a half year. Wendy wanted to spend some time in her hometown to take care of her parents.
At the same time, it was a good opportunity to have our children gain more Chinese language experience.
So, after the Christmas party for the kid’s school, we packed up (well put a lot of our stuff in long term storage), and left.
Read the blog here.
Spending a Short Time in Shenyang, But Leaving the Family For a Bit
Then, as per the plan, I spent Christmas and New Year’s in the freezing cold of Northeast China with the wife, the kids, and my wife’s family.
The expectation though was that I wouldn’t stay there for a half year. I had a “pass” to be a digital nomad again, and I decided to head down to Manila, Philippines to handle some e-commerce acquisition business I was involved with.
The full blog post on that is here.
Volcanic Eruption in the Philippines
Would you believe it? Within just one day of arriving, a volcano erupted!
Read the blog about it here, and watch the video below.
Coronavirus Announced, Taken Seriously in the Philippines
It was mid to late January when the Philippines announced COVID-19, and the lines reached around the block at pharmacies just to get masks.
One thing about the volcano, we already had masks…
Read the blog.
Watch the video.
Wendy Says Wait It Out in the Philippines
At that moment, I was thinking on what I should do. Should I go back and be with the family?
But around January to February 2020, we said, what’s the point? The security at the building complex in Shenyang, China may not even let us in. And at that time, we thought it would be a 1 – 2, max 3 month lockdown, and then “back to normal”.
So I opted to just wait it out in the Philippines.
Squeeze in a Team Retreat
We had been working towards having a Shadstone company retreat (our corporate company for our internet marketing and e-commerce). We picked March 12-15, 2020 for that. This was months before COVID. It was one of the top reasons I had come down to the Philippines in the first place.
So, knowing by March things were getting serious, we still “took a chance” to get a quick weekend face-to-face retreat with our core team at Shadstone, down on a remote island called Bohol.
Watch the video and read the blog.
World Locks Down: Evacuating Bohol and Stranded in Cebu
Within a day of arriving in Bohol, the whole world started to shut down. Friday March 13, 2020 (yes it was Friday the thirteenth), the world started to shut down.
We had to end the retreat early. I couldn’t get a return flight to Manila, and I had to take a boat to Cebu and try to fly back from there.
I only had carry on luggage for a quick weekend getaway.
Multiple attempts to fly to Manila, and then China, all cancelled. You can read about that ordeal here.
Finally Get a Last Chance Flight to China
Talk about last minute, but catching a flight at the time felt like an end of the world movie. No taxi, no grab taxi. Took a motorcycle to the airport.
Read about it here.
Quarantine in China
After the flight, it was the hotel quarantine experience and the PPE madness – along with launch of the Loadpipe group buy platform.
Then – Ya, Not Much to show on Vlogs
The vlog has been quite since April or so 2020, because well, not much travel, not much “action”.
Lucky to be with my wife and kids though as many I know are still separated.
Just a crazy world. And that is my short COVID story.
Want to see a whole series?
Here’s the saga from Philippines to China: