COVID-19: Turning a Breakdown Into a Breakthrough

COVID-19 Week 8 Update.

Never one to stay down, always one to turn a breakdown into a breakthrough.

This time is no different!

If you’re a regular to my blog, you’ll know that my 12 month adventure of a lifetime all over South East Asia (SEAsia) has been “postponed” due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.  Everything changed literally overnight for me, I was set to depart on March 18, 2020 and the Friday prior our Prime Minister had halted all non-essential travel outside of Canada and Vietnam (the country I was starting my adventure in) had closed its entry to Visa On Arrival, which I had.  So, 4 days before I was set to take off and start a year of sightseeing, exploring, soul searching came to a screeching halt.

I had resigned from my job, rented out my condo and sold my car! See that blog here.  Ummm, what the actual heck was I going to do?

I was able to find temporary accommodations until the end of April and then … I was back it again, looking for a place to stay.  It’s difficult during COVID-19 …. not a lot of landlords have openings, folks are not moving as they usually would (due to fear of contamination or lack of money due to losing their jobs due to COVID-19) additionally, there’s not a lot of interest in short term rentals.  ENTER MY CORONAVIRUS MOVE to British Columbia (BC)!

At the end of every break down there’s always an opportunity for a break through, the key differentiator is … DO YOU SEIZE IT?  I’m usually one to not stay “down” for too long – I stay  in that moment for a short time (I don’t live there), and then plot on.  It’s MY life to create.  

WE can create opportunity and happiness just as easily as we can create misfortune and misery.  Use that super power you have … CHOICE! 

And I did just that!


Opportunity Knocked

I’ve always wanted to live in BC, even if for a just a short stint.  I’ve been three times and fell in love each time. I can see why folk decide to make this their home base.

  1. I spent my first time on Vancouver Island, traveling through Courtney/Comox, Uclulet, Tofino visiting my cousin and her family.
  2. I also spent some time in Windermere and Invermere at the radium hot springs and at friends trailer on the Lake Windermere – mixed that in on a trip to Calgary as they are on the Alberta border.
  3. My last time in Beautiful BC, I spent in Richmond, Vancouver and Squamish – see my adventures from that trip by clicking here.

Opportunity created!  Now to seize it! I rented a chalet on Big White!

I initially had the intention of driving, I had a whole week long adventure planned to drive out West with my pooch and then changed my mind and booked a flight (pooch is staying with an awesome friend).  The thought of driving was daunting, I just bought a new (new to me) vehicle and didn’t want to take it on its first real trip across the country in case something happened. However, the biggest thing is that I’d have to cross 4 provinces to get to my destination and the COVID-19 pandemic brings the unusual presence of police and government checkpoints to several of Canada’s inter-provincial borders, adding to restrictions on movement in a bid to slow the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus. So far, 8 provinces and territories have set up such checkpoints and travel restrictions.

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ENTER BIG WHITE MOUNTAIN …. tucked on the west side of Canada’s Rocky Mountains in the heart of the British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley lies Big White Ski Resort and I am fortunate enough to have rented a chalet on it for the next 2 months! YAY BABY! I imagine a lot of what I’d love to do while in the Okanagan Valley will be limited due to coronavirus, and I’ll still be able to take advantage of nature, secluded trails, the outdoors, and hiking – which are all free and do not require close proximity to others.


I’m Off … 

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Nothing really to mention about the 1st leg of the flight, smooth, no turbulence — I mean other than each passenger and crew member HAD to wear face masks at ALL times during the flight (unless you were eating or drinking, obvi!).  There was no food service – when you got to your seat it was pre-prepped with your food and two bottles of water.  Upon boarding you were provided with a disinfectant wipe, so that you could wipe down your seat – and we were practicing physical distancing in the plane – passengers were not sitting side by each.  Confused though, as that was all thwarted the minute we all got up and stood in the aisle waiting to deplane.


Arriving in Kelowna … 

Flying over the Rocky Mountains at night sucks – you miss the awesome view – and it is spectacular.  Major turbulence and air pockets on approach to Kelowna (we were flying into rain),  the last 10 mins were arm rest gripping!  Even the Flight Attendant said the to the Captain once the doors were open “Whew, that was a bumpy ride!”.

BC is on of the few provinces in Canada that are not mandating mandatory interprovincial quarantine – they only ask that you respect the standard COVID-19 rules – stay 6 feet apart and practice social distancing.

I’m starting my 2nd full day here on Big White – it’s sunny and there’s still snow!   The panoramic views are stunning. Today I plan on taking a hike around Big White (with a mask and not surrounded by people) and do my first real trek for the month of May.  Earlier this month, I created and launched My Better Life May 2020 Fitness Challenge.  Whereby participants set, crush and supersede any fitness goals they have set for themselves during this COVID-19 pandemic — over the whole 31 days in the month of May 👏🏻.

With the Prime Minister and Premiers starting to talk about reopening the economy – some of the COVID-19 restrictions may be lifted in the upcoming weeks.  Sure, this is not 12 month adventure of lifetime all over SEAsia AND it’s still awesome … opportunity seized — where I had no home, I now have a place to call mine for the next couple of months. I embraced the uncertainty.  Uncertainty is where new happens!  


Uncertainty is your personal pathway to opportunity. It’s the environment in which you grow, experience new things and produce new, unprecedented results. Uncertainty is where new happens ~ Gary John Bishop – UnF*ck Yourself


Photo:  views from my terrace at Big White 😍

Tell me, I’d love to know … what’s something uncertain you embraced recently?  

COVID-19: Day 19 … How Long is this Gonna Last?

How are you fairing during the COVID-19 pandemic?  Have you ever seen anything like this? We’ve gone through SARS (2002-2003), the Swine Flu (2009-2010), Ebola (2014-2016), MERS (2012 – present) AND nothing of this proportion, this magnitude.

Have we ever witnessed anything quite like what we’re living through with this pandemic?

I’m now at day 19 of physical distancing and 24 days since I haven’t been able to leave for my year long adventure to South East Asia.  I’ve been fortunate that I was able to rescind my resignation from my employment and stay with my daughter for a short period (until the end of this month). Things are still feeling topsy turvy, no real stability and what I am able to do is roll with the punches — it’s just what’s so and I’m unable to control what’s happening nor the outcome. All I can do (like all of you) is make the best of the current situation.

As we all know by now, Novel Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease which causes respiratory illness (like the flu) with symptoms such as a cough, fever, and in more severe cases, difficulty breathing. I found myself with a sore throat and a cough a few days ago my mind quickly went to “is that you Rona?” –  nope just seasonal allergies – it’s amazing that my mind immediately jumped to coronavirus though – it’s been top of mind for weeks and it’s pretty much all we see plastered all over the news and social media outlets.  

These are most certainly unprecedented times. Things we have not experienced in our lifetime.  I’m a huge documentary nerd.  I’ve been watching docs on The Spanish Flu (which actually did not originate in Spain), the SARS outbreak and other really interesting pandemics. What I got present to, is that just as I am watching documentaries on the Third Plague and the Smallpox epidemic, some day future generations will be looking back on the COVID-19 pandemic and watching documentaries on precisely what we’re living – present day!

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In Canada and local communities these are some of the things that are making headlines.  This is not my list in totality, I added to and amended some.

-Gas prices are down to $0.64 in Kitchener, Ontario!
-All schools are cancelled until May 4 2020.   I don’t see kids going back till September
-Social distancing measures in place – STAY HOME!
-Tape on the floors at grocery stores and other essential service stores to help distance shoppers 6 ft from each other.  Cashiers are working with gloves, masks and behind plastic barriers.
-Limited number of people allowed inside stores, causing huge lineups outside the store.
-Non-essential stores and businesses mandated to be closed.
-Parks, trails, entire cities locked down. Children’s outdoor play parks are closed.  City of Kitchener is implementing $750 fines for those not obeying the laws.
-Entire sports seasons cancelled.
-Concerts, tours, festivals, entertainment events – cancelled.
-Weddings, family celebrations, holiday gatherings – cancelled.
-No church services.  Pope delivered Good Friday service to an empty church.
-No gatherings of 50 or more, then 20 or more, now 5 or more.
-Mandate to not socialize with anyone outside of your home or let others in your home.
-Shortage of masks, gowns and gloves for our front-line workers.
-Shortage of ventilators for the critically ill.
-Panic buying sets in – people hoarding toilet paper, disinfecting supplies, paper towel, laundry soap, and hand sanitizer.
-Grocery shelves are bare when it comes to certain products.
-Manufacturers, distilleries and other businesses retool so as to make visors, masks, hand sanitizer and PPE for front line staff and essential workers.
-Government closes borders to all non-essential travel, calls Canadians home.  Makes it mandatory to self isolate for 14 days under the Quarantine Act.
-Fines are enforced for breaking the rules.
-Stadiums and recreation facilities open up for the overflow of COVID-19 patients.
-Daily press conferences from Prime Minister Trudeau.  Says this is our new norm for the foreseeable future or until a vaccine is found!
-Chief Medical Officer, Dr Hinshaw, gives regular updates on new cases, recoveries, and death tolls
-Government incentives to stay home – emergency employment benefits for those who’ve lost their jobs or are asked to stay at home due to COVID-19.  Currently 5.08M people are receiving the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).
-Barely anyone in the street or on the roads.
-People wearing masks and gloves as if it’s our new norm
-Essential service workers are terrified to go to work.
-Medical field workers are afraid to go home to their families.

This is the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic, declared March 11th, 2020 (and started in December 2019 in Wuhan, China).

COVID-19: My 12 Month Trip of a Life Time Was Canceled, I Quit My Job, Sold My Car & Rented Out My Condo !

In the words of sexy hotness, Matthew McConaughey, “alright alright alright”.

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve posted … so I just want to bring you all up to date on the current lay of the land -> the status of my year long adventure to South East Asia, the COVID-19 pandemic and the world of social distancing.

What a crazy time we are living in at the moment! COVID-19 has turned our world into 4 walls and a ceiling.  Hundreds of thousands are infected, thousands have died and the whole world is living in a circle of physical distancing and a certain degree of fear. We’ve started hoarding hand sanitizer and toilet paper!  Some of us are following the rules established by government and others continue to act like this is not the global pandemic that it is.

I live in Canada, the province of Ontario – I live in a community in South Western Ontario called the Region of Waterloo – which is comprised of the cities of Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge and the townships of North Dumfries, Wellesley, Wilmot and Woolwich.  Region of Waterloo Public Health has reported another 26 cases of COVID-19 in the region, bringing the total to 58.

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Canada is making unprecedented use of the federal Quarantine Act in a bid to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Starting tonight at midnight, all travellers returning to Canada are now legally required to go into self-isolation for 14 days rather than simply urged to do so.

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Emergency alert from the government sent to our phones

I’m currently held up at my youngest daughter’s house while I wait for coronavirus to become a thing of the past.  I was supposed to leave on my year long epic adventure all over South East Asia last Wednesday.  Not gonna lie, I was crushed.  I spent the better part of 12 months prepping, planning, plotting and organizing.  I had plans to travel to 12-14 different countries in 12 months — Vietnam – Phu Quoc and climbing Mount Bà Đen, Cambodia, Laos, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia – climbing Mount Bromo volcano (in Java) and relaxing with both of my kids in Bali.  I was going to spend the month of July in Japan and had plans to attend the Summer Olympics with my friends Linda and Mark (and their kids) – I was going to climb Mount Fuji. Northern Thailand was on my list prior to heading over the New Delhi and meeting up with my friend who is supposed to be flying over from Canada – we’re supposed to spend 4 days in New Delhi and then fly up to Nepal to climb Mount Everest Base Camp – from there I had more plans to spend time in India, head down to Sri Lanka and then I wasn’t quite sure.  I am hoping that I’m still able to do the last part of my adventure.  

I sold my car, rented out my condo, resigned from my job and put all of my worldly possessions in storage, ready to take off and live a year of a lifetime – only to have that all change 5 days before my departure date!  I was CRUSHED!   I went with it, I allowed myself to feel whatever it was I was feeling – upset, anger, fear, disappointment. I lived with it for a bit, didn’t make myself wrong about it and then I was ok.  It took 6 days.  I am able to stay with my youngest in her townhouse until the end of the month. I was able to rescind my resignation from my job and I was able to postpone my flight for a $69.00 fee and get reimbursed for my travel insurance.  

After I got complete with that,  I decided that if this was happening and it is out of my control, I’m going to come out the other side ready to set my world on fire.  I don’t have to sit here and mope.  I can do all of the things that I’ve been wanting to do – here, now.   My new favourite saying is a Buddhist saying, “Relax, everything is out of control”   

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SO ….. 

I enrolled into two courses 1) The Science of Well Being through Yale and 2) Leadership in 21st Century Organizations via the Copenhagen Business School.  If you’re looking to take some continuing education courses to further your career, your life, your well being – consider taking some courses, here’s the link to a bunch of Ivy League Schools Edx courses which are FREE!

I also decided to face one of my biggest phobias head on … finances, stocks and investments. Ask my financial planner how much the word “taxes” sends me into a downward spiral.  I never file my taxes on time, ever.  I’m decent with money, and that’s thanks to the trust and faith I put into my planner.  So, just like I’ve been tackling all of my fears head on this past year (remember when I jumped out of a plane in September? Or when I did the Polar Dip in January?).  Last November I took Phil Town’s Rule One Investing Course.  What’s Rule #1?  DON’T LOSE MONEY. The best investors in the world use this rule to invest with certainty. I learned how to not just invest in stocks, and rather invest in a wonderful business at an attractive price to generate consistent returns.

What did I do after I was so gung-ho post-course?  Nothing, I did nothing with it!  I did what I always did when something is out of my wheelhouse and frightens me, I ignored it.  Enter the novel coronavirus and event-driven investing, now is the time, markets are low, so I decided to tackle it once and for all (I mean I have nothing else to do than catch up on 5 seasons of Grey’s Anatomy – which is getting really awesome btw – I’m at Season 11 ep. 10).  I set up my brokerage account and talked to a couple of friends who invest and trade and off I went.  I’m trying to remember 2 things — 1) I don’t need to be an expert to invest like one and 2) Don’t lose money.  

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Photo by Lorenzo on Pexels.com

I’ve popped into some free concerts that musicians are hosting.  I’ve joined a Being In Communication: Time With a Landmark Forum leader call with Forum Leaders who are keeping the community connected.  I’ve had daily Facebook Messenger calls with my oldest, who lives in Vietnam, she wakes me every morning with a new song she’s learned on the ukulele, I love this!  I take extra long walks with the dog and binge watch my fave shows that I’ve long ignored.

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While we’ve been sequestered, the world continues to spin, people are living and sadly dying (this breaks my heart) and no matter, the sun comes up and the sun goes down. The earth is starting to heal itself – the canals in Venice are again running clear and there are minnows, dolphins have returned. Forrests and plants are regenerating. COVID-19 has decreased air pollution. The ozone layer is starting to repair itself. There’s an unlikely beneficiary of coronavirus: The planet.  Is this the earth’s way of dealing with what we’ve chosen to ignore?  

Many are binging pandemic like movies: Contagion, Steven Soderbergh’s strikingly realistic portrayal of the modern world scrambling to contain the fictional virus MEV-1. Outbreak, inspired in part by the AIDS epidemic.  Stephen King’s “The Stand,” Michael Crichton’s The Andromeda Strain and Max Brooks’s World War Z, have proliferated on social media as of late. In a time of real crisis, many of us are spending our time watching fake crises.  Why?  We’re living in ONE RIGHT NOW.  I’m a documentary nerd. I prefer fact over fiction any day.  I’ve been watching documentaries on past pandemics, the plague, the Spanish Flu (which contrary to popular belief did not originate in Spain). The 1956-1958 Influenza Pandemic, the 1968 Flu Pandemic, SARS and H1N1.  What really lands for me is that as I’m researching these past pandemics, what we are living through right now, at this very moment, will form part of the future generations history.  Just as I’m watching and reading about pandemics in the last 100 years, future generations are going to be watching, reading and learning about the 2019-2020 novel coronavirus COVID-19 global pandemic.  

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Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

I tell you bizarre times …

Where in the world are you and practicing social distancing?  How are you occupying your time?