“Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers but to be fearless in facing them”. – Rabindranath Tagore

It is rather unbelievable how much our lives can change in a matter of weeks and even days at this point. As the world moves into the unimaginable lockdown, many of us are feeling scared, isolated and anxious about the future. I read a post from a fellow travel blogger, Lexi of One Foot Out the Door called Hello from Houston and it sparked a glimmer of hope and connection in this uncertain, unprecedented time. Wouldn’t it be nice if more of us checked in and shared with each other what we are all going through in our own parts of the world? Maybe it would bring us more together and help us feel less alone? Without further ado, here is my own “Hello From Minnesota” update. While honestly, this post is a far cry from any of my travel writing, I feel like it is the least I can do right now to feel connected to my online community.

Please share with me your story. If you write your own “Hello from” post, please share a link in the comments as it would be nice to start a thread of messages from around the world.

I’d love to know how everyone is doing. Stay well!

Mitchell Lake, Ely MN

Hello from Minneapolis, Minnesota my home of over twenty years where we are blessed with a cosmopolitan city and a state of over 10,000 lakes.

As I sit here at my desk in my home office, I think how bizarre it is to be entering our second full week of the “new normal” with my entire family working and learning from home under one roof. My son’s high school was the first to close indefinitely on Friday, March 13th and my daughter’s middle school was next. A few days after, every school in the entire state was ordered to close until May but I’m wondering if that is even realistic. Meanwhile, my husband’s office officially closed and locked their doors last week and he has been working in his home office in our basement. It feels so odd to all be under one roof 24/7! But it also brings me peace in this isolating, scary time.

While we aren’t on a “shelter in place” order yet (this starts tomorrow, Friday March 27th until April 10th) we are told to stay home and if we do venture out to social distance of the standard six feet. Our restaurants and bars have closed until at least May but again probably longer. Malls and theaters shut down while more and more stores are trying to offer order online and curb side pick up. The streets are empty of traffic yet on nice days it feels like everyone has come out of hibernation and is walking around our lakes (which is a problem with social distancing!).

Almost two weeks into the “new normal”  is not only hard to believe but mentally hard. I keep re-reading all the quotes I have on mental toughness and strength to get me through this pandemic without losing hope. I also have truly tried to stop reading too much news as it just seems to increase my anxiety levels. I have always been a worrywart and it is hard to not be one right now. Yet on the positive light, I feel so blessed to live in a state with amazing leadership by our governor and excellent health care and businesses that are all doing whatever they can to help out. Medtronic is making more ventilators, 3M is ramping up their mask production, and Mayo Clinc is helping with the backlog of tests. Minnesotans are stepping in to help the vulnerable by donating food items, creating makeshift food pantries, volunteering and more. I have never felt so proud to be a part of this community. We are all in this together.

Lake Harriet, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Since this all began, I have realized how much of my normal everyday life that I took for granted. Yes it was too busy. Yes it was a bit crazy, but it was my life and I loved it.

The morning early rises to drive my son to school. Listening to music and the radio in the car while I ran my errands. The ease of going grocery shopping or the delight of going out to eat with friends. Seeing my community. Going anywhere besides being stuck in the house save my daily walks. It is unimaginable how much our lives have all changed and how quickly. If I think about it for too long I know I will start to cry.

As we prepare to really hunker down even more before our two week order to stay home except if absolutely necessary I remind myself in such difficult times like these what I’m grateful for:

  • Getting outside for a walk each day in nature and seeing people I know from afar has been wonderful.
  • Lots and lots of family time while we are all cooped up in the house.
  • Making slow cooker meatballs and other homemade treats with the kids.
  • The birds are singing and Spring is on its way meaning I can spend more time outside after a long winter.
  • More Zoom, Skype and Facetime calls with friends and family around the world.
  • An overall feeling of a stronger community. I am encouraged by how much we’ve all been able to come together.
  • Food, shelter, water and love.
  • My home. My Minnesota.

Mitchell Lake, Ely MN

Things that I miss and will be so thrilled to be able to do again someday:

  • My extended family! We all live so far apart and all across the US. I long to be near them but simply can’t for awhile.
  • Being out and about. I have never been a homebody and have always had a hard time being in the house for an entire day. This has been a real test for me to find joy in being “trapped” inside my house when I long to be out wandering about and part of something bigger than my home.
  • Travel. Travel. Travel. This is a selfish thing to miss in a time like this one but travel has always been the one things that I love so much besides my family. I am not sure when travel will resume again but I am so incredibly blessed to have been able to do what I’ve done over the years.
  • My community. From the restaurants to the coffee shops to the stores and schools and even my gym. I sure miss seeing each and every person that makes up my community.
  • My travel work and blogging. I was just getting started working with some really amazing travel outfitters around the world but that has dried up as has my travel writing.

So like I said above, this is not by any means an excellent piece of writing but it is writing from my heart. I want everyone who reads this to know that I am thinking of you all, wherever you are in the world. Please let me know how you are doing. I will leave with this quote, a silver lining to this difficult time.

“We’re so engaged in doing things to achieve purposes of outer value that we forget that the inner value – the rapture that is associated with being alive, is what it’s all about”. – Joseph Campbell

Update: I’m going to keep a running list here of fellow bloggers who are updating us from around the world on what their lives have been like and the impact. It is a great way to keep us all connected. Please check out their posts and offer words of encouragement. We are all in this together! 

Hello From Houston – One Foot Out the Door

Silver Linings in the Storm – Plus Ultra

Joburg COVID-19 :Lockdown Journal Day 1 – 2Summers

In the Time of Corona – In Flow with Otto

Hello From New Hampshire – RoarLoud

Hello From Fort Lauderdale – Heidi Siefkas 

Hello From Northern Virginia – EAt. Live. Stay. Will Travel For Food

Hello from Lancashire, UK – Starting from the Middle

Hello from Florida! A New Appreciation of Home – Fit, Life, Travel

Hello from Bergen – In Flow with Otto

Thoughts in Uncertain Times – What’s in my brain as New Zealand experiences the international civil emergency in New Zealand that is COVID-19

Something to Ponder About

Ditch Digging – Linda Hensely 

If you have written a similar post, please let me know and I will share.

38 comments

  1. Thanks for the shout-out, Nicole! I just wrote another state-of-my-state (Texas) and household for an Australian blogger who is also compiling stories from around the world. I was a tiny bit more eloquent the second time around, but how we write these updates is not what’s important; it’s just nice to read that others are getting through this as we are. I am grateful for many of the things you listed and eager to enjoy in the future some of your favorite activities, too! We can get through this, and get through it well if we all do our part. Thanks for your contribution!

    1. Of course! I have asked other bloggers to follow suit and will see if we get any more updates. Hope you are well.

  2. Nicole, I love this idea! Here in NJ, I just made my own bread. MY OWN BREAD!! I am so concerned about everyone and the hospitals. I’m doing my part and my family and I are staying in as directed.

    1. Thanks Jen for the update. Love that you made your own bread! That is fabulous. Thanks for starting up the zoom calls with all the old crew. It has really been meaningful.

  3. I’ve just been asked for an update on life in Portugal by Sue Slaught, Nicole, so I won’t go into details here. Just feel blessed that you have your youngsters there with you and a wonderful outdoors to enjoy, for the moment. 🙂 🙂 Stay safe, hon!

    1. Oh thanks Jo. When you do post an update please let me know. I’m going to link a bunch at the bottom of the blog post to start a community of updates. yes I am so grateful to have my kids here but feel sad that the rest of my family is so far apart as I don’t know when we will be able to see each other. Take care!

      1. My summer is totally on hold and I don’t know when I’ll see my youngsters. 😔 I believe Sue is posting 10th April. I’m trying to keep my own posts upbeat. There’s plenty of gloom in the world. 💕

      2. I agree Jo! I look forward to reading your Monday posts! 🙂 Always bring a smile.

  4. Thank you for sharing how it is for you Nicole. It seems to me you and your family are adjusting well to the “new normal” even though it is for sure an adjustment! What a time we are living in. Even though for most of us it is difficult, and for some frightening and tragic, I’m still relentlessly optimistic. We will get through this, and come out the other side with a new appreciation for what’s really important.
    Stay safe. Be well.
    Hugs from me
    Alison

    1. Thanks Alison for the update. I’m trying my best to adjust but it is hard. I am a huge worrywart which is my problem. I have cut way back on reading the updates and news which has helped me. I am glad I have my immediate family here but miss my extended family. Hopeful for the spring weather.

      Hugs to you too!

  5. Thanks for initiating this way to connect! You have so much to offer others with your writing. A “Hello from Rhode Island” post will be coming soon. Hang in there and keep focusing on the positive!

    1. Ah thanks Elizabeth! Would love to hear your “Hello from Rhode Island” so please let me know when you post it! I will add a link on here. SO good talking to you via Zoom the other day.

  6. Hello twin cities neighbor! I started writing more details then worried that my comment might be read by someone I’d rather not see it. The chances are probably slim but I can’t take the risk. Instead I will say that even though I share your feelings of being under one roof with my family, I am so grateful to be working at home right now. And if I had my druthers, I would to work remotely for various reasons. Stay well!!

    1. Hi there! Nice to meet a fellow Minnesotan! 🙂 Yes there are many feelings going on right now about this whole thing. I feel fortunate to live here though as my parents are in Arizona and the pandemic has not been taken seriously at all there. It is so tough as we are too far away to help them out and I worry so much. I’m glad that the weather has been nice compared with how it can be at this time of year. It has been great to be outside. Stay well and thanks for stopping by!

  7. Thanks for sharing from your heart. It’s good to read that you are doing ok, in the midst of the crisis. I will take up on your challenge and write my “Hello from Bergen” over the next week or so. More than the post you have already linked to. Maybe more compassion and more care for each other will be something positive we can take away from the pandemic.

    1. I’d love to hear a “Hello from Bergen” post Otto. Yes this is such an extremely difficult time. I agree that I hope more compassion, gratitude and wellbeing come from such a tragic event.

    1. Thanks so much for participating Heidi! What a great post and I love how you ended it with hope and inspiration. Stay well! 🙂

  8. Nicole like you there are many things I am grateful for and many things I will treasure all the more when we can do them again.Like you as well any travel writing has vanished for the forseeable future. We are well and taking the time to reflect on priorities in life. I now see I spent a great deal of time being very busy, doing unimportant things. It may be the gift for me of this crisis. Having the quiet time to realize that.

    1. So true Sue. This has been such an eye-opening situation in many ways especially on a personal level. I am grateful our weather is bringing an early Spring as that always gives me hope.

  9. Travel is a state of mind, Nicole, and I think that you’ve captured your journey through these unprecedented times beautifully. I feel uplifted by your hopeful imagery, gratitude inventory, and positive reportage on your state’s response to the crisis. Always a pleasure to read you.

    1. Oh thanks Lisa! I sure miss traveling but I am way more concerned about what is happening in the world right now. It makes me so incredibly sad.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing Jane! I added your blog to my list. Yes, it is really really hard. I love New Zealand. I would love to go back someday. Stay well!

  10. I am happy to update you too, although it may not be a post only about Covid, it might be via comments. I did write two a few weeks ago on the virus and it will be interesting to compare this as time passes. If you wish to add my blog, I would be very happy. I have some very good friends in Minnesota so will follow you now to read some more from your blog.
    https://forestwoodfolkart.wordpress.com/

    1. Hello there! Thanks for the comment! I would love to add you to my list. Which post of yours should I add? Please advise and I will read it and add to my list. Stay well! 🙂

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