Monday, 6 April 2020

Day 21 in quarantine, Getting tired of this situation

What can I say besides the fact that I am starting to get sick and tired of the entire lockdown situation that we here in Peru are living under right now? When it was announced, it was meant to last 14 days, then it got extended to 90 days and now been extended with another 14 days. So all in all, we have something like 104 days in a total of this or 83 days left if you like. The thing is that after living like this for 21 days, the situation is starting to get to me, I have named it the quarantine fewer. I know that this doesn't sound so bad. Trust me on this one, I am starting to have sympathy for those who are locked up in prison at this point. I have never wanted to be out and about more than right now when I cant.

The thing is, I am not that guy who is overly social or has the constant need to be out and about, normally. Never had any issues being “locked” up in my office working like 16 hours a day and only resting when I am sleeping or enjoying an hour or two of gaming. Now that we are not allowed to exit our front door, I have all kinda crazy ideas for videos, photos and such, but this has to wait until they lift the curfew in 83 long days. The worrying part is that I am starting to get what I have coined isolation or quarantine fever. I am starting to feel anxious, itchy and having issues sleeping or waking up at normal times. Not sure if this is normal, but I have something called PTSD and its starting to play up.

The worst part is that I and my girlfriend are starting to have silly arguments about really silly things. It can be things like dropping a tiny amount of water on the floor while preparing coffee or not closing the patio door, yes we have a patio here on the roof. For me it was one of many selling points from the landlord, that and my office is more or less next door to the apartment. I guess that this is a luxury we have that many don't have, we have space outside we can move around and enjoy these days. The thing that is worrying me a great deal at the moment is how they are ramping up the intensity or strictness of the lockdown.

Up to now we have or at least one member of the family has been able to move around within set hours (5 am to 8 pm), but now they have changed that to from 5 am to 6 pm and on specific days. Some days for men and some days for females, with a hard lockdown on Sundays. On top of everything, they are now starting to hit down hard on private consumption of alcohol and smoking (even on rooftops). Not sure of the consequences will be like if they catch you doing any of these things, so better not take any chances right? Wouldnt like to end up in jail or prison over a cigarette or a rum and coke, how locked up abroad wouldn't that be?

Another thing that I am reacting on is the police presence, I can't remember ever seeing this much police in the streets and not with this kind of attitude, they do seem extremely tense or aggressive right now. They are also moving in large groups and always with flashing light and sirens on, especially after 6 pm. When the curfew comes into effect they always come in a group of 5 to 10 motorcycles, cars and a tow truck. This isn't the Peru and Huaral I have gotten to know through my years living as an expat here, so it kinda gives me that uneasy feeling when you hear the sirens in the distance. I know, they are only doing their job and it's done to protect you, but it's kinda extreme in many ways.

What kinda worries my is what comes after the virus have done its run around, will they just lift everything and go back to normal or will much of this be the new norm? By experience, I know that politicians don't want to give up the power that they have gained, either through normal elections or crisis like the one we are in the midst of right now. If there is one thing that I am sure about is that the world won't be the same as before the COVID-19 outbreak. I would say especially for us who have travel as a passion and love the expat lifestyle, but also for everyone else. I know, this isn't the typical me, it's just that I see the future bleaker right now. That's the best way for me to explain it.

Okay, most likely when the dust settles after the virus outbreak, things will go back more or less as I am used to. My lovely town will once again come back to life, the noise from the traffic will return and the streets will once again be filled with people and all kind of vehicles. If I am going to be completely honest with you, I miss the noise, busy streets and packed sidewalks. I miss being able to stop and talk to my neighbours or just pass a stranger on the street with a quiet hello. I even miss the loud party music on a weekday after midnight. With other words, I miss my normal life, even those things that I dislike about living here (minus the animal abuse I have talked about).

Anyway, I guess its time for me to wrap this post up and get it ready for my blog, just wanted to update you guys on my life in quarantine. The post got a bit longer than expected, but I hope you enjoyed the read. At the same time you can always follow me on Twitter (Jack Bowler Sr), on Facebook (Jack Bowler Sr) and (Beyond the Horizon), on Instagram (Beyond our Horizon) and you can support my blog through Ko-fi (Jack Bowler Sr). I do not expect you to donate a cup or two, but would at the same time appreciate it if you did. So now that you have read about my COVID-19 situation, how is it where you live? Have they implemented a curfew yet?

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

The Azores, first and last charter holiday experience

Yes, I am that type of a guy who always has found great joy and pleasure in travelling and exploring the world around him or as I tend to say, mapping the exciting home we call earth. Even as a small child I found excitement in travelling with my family. Not that we did it that often but when we did, I was in seventh heaven. For me, it didn't matter if it was up north, down south or just over the border to Sweden. For me, it was just one big adventure I even remember like it was just yesterday that I took my very first “solo-adventure” as a 13-year-old to participate in a football tournament. It didn't end as I had hoped for, but that is just part of the game. All good memories anyway.

This is something that lines up kinda perfectly with today's topic and that is my very first (and only) experience with charter holiday and first time leaving Europe, in a way. This was back in 2007 and us as a family had made the desition to spend a week of the summer break in the Portuguese islands of the Azores. Just so we could get away from the everyday life back home and enjoying some lazy and quiet days by the pool with good temperatures. I have to be honest here and say that I didn't expect much. None of us had any idea about what to expect or had any prior knowledge about our chosen destination. One thing is for sure and that is the fact we would be positively surprised at arrival.

There is one thing I have to point out and that is the reason why there have been no more chartered holidays for me after this vacation in the Azores. This has nothing to do with any bad experiences or anything, the fact is that I have nothing but warm memories from this trip. I loved the hotel, the service we received and everything around our week-long stay, but the thing about me is that I like to do things my way. I have a strong dislike for fixed schedules, time tables and things like this. For me its all about taking things in the tempo I want. So these types of fixed and pre-made vacations aren't anything for me, that's the only reason. Who knows, maybe at one point in my life I will change my mind.

The Azores, the very last European paradise is an autonomous region of Portugal, made up by a series of islands (9 in total). The main city is Ponta Delgada, but it has 3 capital cities (these are Ponta Delgada, Horta and Angra do Heroismo). These islands have been more or less under Portuguese rule since the discovery and before the discovery never had any native population, but its population mainly originate from the Portuguese mainland. Yes, it is part of the EU. No matter what you are looking for while on vacation you will find it on the Azores. You can also visit tobacco and grape producers, go fishing, whale safari, lazy city life, spending your days on the beach or by the poolside.

For me, it was the combination of city life and the lazy poolside slumber kinda thing or for me, it ended up with splashing in the pool together with my daughter. I found the food we got served as amazing and I had the pleasure of experiencing some a few new things like a shark, clownfish and so much more. We spent most of our vacation in and around the city of Ponta Delgada, but we also got to experience other parts of the island of Sao Miguel, like Furnas and the hot springs at the Terra Nostra Park. I would say that our experience at Furnas had to be the highlight of our trip. We spent more or less a whole day just walking around in the park itself and jumped into the spring at the end, for a few hours.

When I look back at our first trip to the Azores, the Furnas experience is the first thing that comes to mind and the trouble we had later with cleaning our swimwear. I don't think we ever managed to get the iron staining from the water out of it. When we got back to Norway all of it got trashed because of it. if you are looking for testimony on how amazing the Azores are, well you shouldn't look any further than the one we had because we returned the very next year for a whole month and loved it even more. The second time around we rented a cabin in a different part of Sao Miguel and had one amazing experience. That time around we got to experience the local population to its fullest.

A dream that I have is that one time in the future me and my son will make this journey and of course do more or experience more of the true Azorian adventure. Go on these whale safaris, go island jumping and do some fishing. First I have to take him to Norway so he can experience and explore where I come from, this is also a big dream for him. Not that, we are making plans for such an adventure sometime in the future, but this is a topic for another day and a different post I guess. Anyway, if you are looking for a family-friendly holiday destination then you have to consider the Azores. It's safe, has a low crime rate and tons of things you can do to fill up your vacation.

I would say that, out of all the adventures I have been on for the past 20 years or so, the Azores sticks out as a favourite. The only bad or negative experience I have had from my journeys to the Azores was the time when we got swarmed by something that reminded me of giant flying ants. These monsters got me up from the pool and into the hotel in a hurry, but then again I wasn't the only one. At the same time, I have to say that the weather was superb. Usually, it rains a lot, but during that first week, I don't think we experienced rain one single time and that is kinda unique since it usually rains every single day. The most important part is that we had a great time and I would recommend you to give it a go as well.

Anyway, I do think its time for me to wrap this post up and get it ready for my blog. The idea behind it was to walk down memory lane and share one amazing holiday memory that I keep near and dear to my heart. If I am lucky, maybe you make it your next destination as well? The photos that I am using for this post isn't mine, the ones that I have is too old and too low quality to be used in this context. I guess you know or do remember how mobile phone cameras were back in 2007 and 2008? Not like they are today, that is for sure. Today they are mini computers with really good cameras. Anyway, I hope you did enjoy my somewhat short post and if you did, why not check out my other travel and expat related posts while you are here.

Remember that, if you like my blog and the job that I am doing with it you can support my work by sharing it with friends on social media, support me financially through buying me a coffee on Ko-fi (Jack Bowler Sr) and leave some nice words in the comment section. At the same time, I do hope to see you back for my next post.

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Looking back on a really weird month of March

Well my friends, its this time again where spend some time looking back on the month that has passed and at the same time sharing some thoughts on everything that has happened during this time. I would say, it's not going to be any different this time around, but at the same time I have to be honest and say that life here in Peru has gotten a lot stranger than I have been used to. I am sure you guys have guessed it already, it is the COVID-19 outbreak I am talking about here. This is a virus that has turned my life upside down in such a way that I am having a hard time recognizing it these days. I would say naturally, this has ended up becoming the somewhat main focus here on the blog as well.

Trust me on this one, I have tried to focus on other topics and write blog posts with different content, but when everything around you is about the outbreak and you are living under a quarantine and curfew regime it's hard not to be overly focused on, to be honest. This you can see on the posts that have been published, 5 out of 7 posts (including this one) are in one way or the other about the current situation. All I am hoping is that this hasn't harmed the blog and my readers, it doesn't look like it, to be honest, because the traffic has gone up. So now when I am looking back on the month of March, I have to say that all in all, it has been a good month, but I am going slowly losing my mind over the mind-numbing isolation.

Another problem that I have been having had to do with my Twitter account because for some weird or unknown reason I am being put on and taken off something called ghost ban. I am not sure why this is happening to me. Yes, I have been debating different political topics, but not in a way that should result in a soft-ban that a ghost ban in reality is. Have to underline the fact that it's not like its end of the world for me in any way shape or form, just frustrating that I cant use Twitter to promote my blog, as I used to do before this happened to me. Despite this issue, my blog seems to be growing and attracting more first time readers than ever before and this might relate to my posts about the COVID-19 virus

On top of everything with the COVID-19 outbreak and the frustrating Twitter situation, my princess and best friend Gin-gin went missing a week before the lockdown went into effect. To be honest, I am not sure how this happened, because one moment she came for a visit at my office and all of a sudden she was gone. You know, like someone took her or something, it's not that I have my theories or ideas on what happened to my beautiful Gin-gin without going any deeper into the details of it. The frustrating part is that I am unable to go out to look for her because of the ongoing lockdown. One thing is for sure, I miss her and extremely worried about her, she isn't used to be on her own.

At the same time, as I wrote in my blog post (Not all are doom and gloom), there has been some glimmer of good things too since we got an extra family member a week time after my Gin-gin vanished. Yes, we have gotten a new cat, but not to replace her in any way, shape or form. We have been talking about finding a friend for our princess and sadly she wasn't here when her friend arrived. Yes, we have gotten a kitten, a male kitten that we have named Thom. He has a lighter red colour than our princess and has an amazing personality. Some kids found him walking around in the area and brought him to us, so now our family has grown with one more member, only hope our beloved Gin-gin returns home soon.

I would without a doubt say that this month has been an extremely weird one in so many ways. Everything from the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak, to my ghost ban on Twitter to my princess disappearing on me. At the same time, do feel I have had a productive month and I hope it will spill over into April because I have big plans for the next four weeks when it comes to content for my blog. Won't be many new photos, since I can't go out, but hopefully many new posts and not just about the COVID-19 virus and my isolation situation. There are several posts planned for the coming week or two that I hope you guys will enjoy and that you will help me spread the good word.

All in all, have to say that I have had a good month. As said, I have been relatively productive with my now 7 blog posts, the traffic to my blog has increased and life is good even though we live in lockdown and that my best friend is missing. Those two things are something I have no control over, sadly. Anyway, I guess its time for me to wrap this attempt of rambling up. If I don't stop myself I can keep on forever, to be honest. At least I hope you have enjoyed my look back on the month of March and if you did, why not check me out on social media? You find me on Twitter (Jack BowlerSr) and Instagram (Beyond our Horizon), you can also support my blog through Ko-fi (Jack Bowler Sr).

Thursday, 26 March 2020

5 things you have think about prior to a quarantine

From a personal perspective, I would say that we are living in a dark and scary time right now with the covid-19 outbreak and the many consequences that follow in its path. One of these is the famous lockdown, curfew or quarantine. This is a situation that many of us now are experiencing and many more will in the coming weeks. It doesn't sound that bad at first thought, but when you all of a sudden are in the middle of it you kinda get a change of heart on the matter. Trust me on this one, if you haven't done anything to prepared for it you will be heading down a dark alley fast. Living in forced isolation is the least enjoyable thing to have to go through and that's why it's important to prepare for it in advance.

I am by far an expert on the matter, but since I am currently living under an isolation regime, it does feel like I am in a position to at least give some advice on it. At the same time, I would recommend that you check out the American centre for disease control and preventions info site on the topic (Resources for home). You might find some good tips you could implement in your own home. The thing is that most of us will at one point in time experience a curfew or isolation policy like this regarding the covid-19 outbreak, so why not make it as comfortable and enjoyable as you possibly can? I am not talking about going out raiding grocery stores for toilet paper or any other non-essential items, just be prepared.

Prepare your household: As I see it, this might be one of the more important on this list and its something that you should have gotten out of the way early in the outbreak. If you haven't gotten to this point yet, then its time to step up the gameplay. I am not talking about going out hoarding stuff. What I am talking about is getting that extra food into that pantry of yours, paying your utility bills and other household service costs you might have running just to be on the safe side of things. Nothing worse than getting your internet or streaming service cut over lack of payment, right? As I see it, this is all about the everyday wellbeing of you and your family in a situation like this.

Secure your entertainment: This one is almost just as important as paying your utility and service bills because while being locked up in your home you do need the entertainment to get your mind off the current situation. Without this having something to “escape” into during your curfew situation will get many times worse. If you don't have a gaming console and can afford one. If you have one, buy some new games. Stock up on e-books, audio-books or traditional ones. Get your hands on as many family-friendly board games as possible. You know, healthy fun for the entire family? At the same time, extend your collection of streaming services, you never know how long the curfew will last!

Focus on your household hygiene: From a personal and maybe a bit paranoid point of view, I feel like this one might be the most important one for a few reasons. As I see it, it's all about minimizing the chance or danger of spreading the virus inside the household. This isn't only about your hygiene, but just as much as a preventive measure. You will need to go out during the lockdown, either because you need to walk the dog, go to the shop or go for other errands. At this point, it's important to have a system for disinfection and “clean up” after being outside. I know this might sound extreme and paranoid, but as I see it it's better to be safe than sorry. 

Take care of your mental health: Since it looks like this virus situation will stick around for a while its important to take care of both your physical and mental health. When it comes to your mental health it's important to keep yourself busy with something. If you are lucky you will have the option of working from work as I do, but if that's not the case then the advice about entertainment comes into play. I get stuck into a computer game or something when I am not busy with work or spending time with my lovely family. I am not saying that spending all day on your computer gaming is a solution in any way, but just read a book or watch a movie with your loved ones. Main thing is that you stay sane.

Stay home and indoors: This isn't advice but in my book pure common sense. We are in the midst of a serious virus outbreak and for everyone's benefit, we all have to take our share of the misery, if you understand where I am heading with this. This is also why it's important to be as prepared as you can be in a situation like this. If you have followed my four previous tips and hints on how to prepare and act in an emergency like this, you would be ready for it and you will be able to get through it with a minimum of problems. You have what you need to get through a day, in most cases and stay healthy while doing it. It is simple, it's all about flatlining the spread of the virus and that's why a curfew or lockdown is important.

As mentioned earlier, I am no expert on this and I have no background in medicine, but my list is based on my experience from living under a lockdown regime for almost two weeks now. So I do kinda feel like sharing my experience so far. I can tell you this much, its no walk in the park by any means and even worse if you are a social person. I am the type of person who more or less lives my life in the office working, but this adventure is testing my limits in so many ways. At the same time, this is something we need to go through if we are going to succeed in defeating this virus with a minimum of casualties. I know it sounds grim, but its the reality we are living in right now.

Anyway, I didn't mean for this post to get as dark as it did at the end there, but it's important to take this situation seriously and act accordingly. In the same breath, I want to apologize for the focus I am having on the covid-19 outbreak these days, but I guess its kinda normal since I live amid the outbreak and very isolated. At the same time, I hope you found the article interesting to read and maybe got some ideas about how you will prepare for when you are in the same situation as we are now. You can also check me out on Twitter (Jack Bowler Sr), on Instagram (Beyondour Horizon) and you can support me through Ko-fi (Jack Bowler Sr). Thank you for your attention.

Saturday, 21 March 2020

Day 5 in quarantine, not all are doom and gloom

To be honest, I am not sure what to make of this entire curfew situation that we now are in the middle of here in Peru. I have never experienced a situation like this and not sure what to expect in the coming weeks or potentially months. One thing is clear, I don't like it one bit. Just the doom and gloom atmosphere that is hanging over the city creeps me out. When I go outside on the roof to catch a cigarette or just some fresh air I get this apocalyptic feeling, since it's so few people moving around these days and most people are staying indoors, like in hiding. It's just not the city I fell in love with back in 2017, but neither is the situation so!

The worst part right now is the fact that the curfew and quarantine have been extended. On Sunday the president announced a 14-day long curfew, but today it got extended to 90 days. As things weren't bad enough, my Gin-gin vanished a week ago and thanks to the curfew we are not able to go out looking for her either, not sure if I need to say that I am super worried about her. She isn't used to be outdoors and finding food herself. She should be at home being taken care of and getting her special food, not running around somewhere on her own. At the same time, I am not sure how she managed to get out since we live on the fifth floor and the front door is always locked. It doesn't change the fact that she is gone.

The worst part is the fact that I am unable to go out looking for her because she has to be out there somewhere. Either lost and scared or someone has taken her in. Life isn't supposed to be easy and that shows sometimes too. With all of this said, the situation isn't just pure doom and gloom because good things are happening as well. First of all, I am one of the few who has an established home office and a few days ago we got a new member of the Bowler family. We took in another kitten that someone found walking around randomly in the neighbourhood. Some kids brought her to us and we couldn't turn this beautiful cat away. So we named him Thom and welcomed him into our family.

The thing is that we have for the longest time been talking about getting a play friend for Gin-gin since she was an inside cat and had to be missing having a friend or two, just sad she didn't stick around for Thom to come around. Yes, Thom is the kitten in the photo and yes he does kinda look like Gin-gin. The one thing that I am hoping for is that she will find her way home to where she belongs and to her new friend. As said, life isn't always easy and when it rains it pours down on us, but I am staying positive and keep on looking for her from the safety of my home. You know, since I am not allowed to go outside these days. Isn't it weird how your pets become like your best friend as Gin-gin did to me?

Anyway, despite all of this we are doing good. We are starting to get restless, but the important part is that we are healthy and covid-19 free and on top of it, we can watch the craziness of the curfew from our rooftop “kingdom. Most of what we see are police and some random people who break the curfew. There have even been people getting arrested over taking out their trash during the after 8 pm when“hard” curfew get into play. I just don't understand why people can't follow instructions, especially in times like this. Yes, you get bored, restless and all of that, but going to jail for taking out your trash? Its crazy times for sure. Never thought I would see times like this.

The truth is that I am not looking forward to the next 85 days, but as I and my girlfriend were talking about today. We need to go out and buy a PlayStation 4 and a Tv for my office, so we have something to keep our minds occupied when this is getting too much to handle. I am already starting to feel it, never wanted to go out somewhere as much as I do right now and I am the type of guy that never really went anywhere before this. Stayed in my office focusing on work, but now. Not that I am going to risk getting dragged off to jail for something like this, wouldn't be worth it at all. As long as the internet doesn't go down, that would be a disaster for me.

Anyway, I guess its time for me to wrap this post up and get it ready for my blog, just wanted to update you guys on my life in quarantine. The post got a bit longer than expected, but I hope you enjoyed the read. At the same time you can always follow me on Twitter (Jack BowlerSr), on Facebook (Jack Bowler Sr) and (Beyond the Horizon), on Instagram (Beyond our Horizon) and you can support my blog through Ko-fi (Jack Bowler Sr). I do not expect you to donate a cup or two, but would at the same time appreciate it if you did. So now that you have read about my covid-19 situation, how is it where you live? Have they implemented a curfew yet?

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

There are now a nationwide curfew and quarantine

Well, what can I say but the fact that I am now experiencing my very first curfew and quarantine and to be honest, it is kinda scary? Not that I am worried about the virus itself, but the feeling of having your freedom taken away from you if you understand what I mean by that? I know its childish of me and a small price to pay in the situation we all are in at the moment and it's not like I was that much out and about in the first place. It's just the fact that now I am not allowed to and that gives me the urge to get out and do stuff, isn't it typical? The big shocker for me was the timing of it because I expected to have at least one or two more weeks before something like this happened!

The good thing in all of this is that we have been preparing for an “event” like this for a while now by every time we went grocery shopping we picked up a few extra items that got stored away for a “rainy” day. Not that it rains here in Huaral, but you know what I mean by it. what kinda had me rattled was the speed of how things escalated here in Peru. From the time of the first confirmed case of the covid-19 to a full-blown nationwide curfew took about a week and it's not like there are that many cases to this day either. If I am not mistaken, we are talking about 140 to 200 known or confirmed, but I do view this as a good thing. Because if this is done the correct way the spread of the virus will be limited.

The history behind this is that on Sunday afternoon we got a phone call from my inlaws warning us about the fact that there would be a curfew and that we needed to complete our preparations for a full lockdown of Peru. So within a couple of hours from receiving this phone call, we had gotten most of our remaining stock stored away. This was, for the most part, fresh products like vegetables, fruits, meat and other important goods. On the same day at 10 pm, the president addressed the nation with this information and that it would be in full effect by Tuesday at noon and completely expected people went full out crazy at the mall. So as of writing this blog post, most stores are out of the most day to day products.

At the time of our president addressing the nation all law enforcement departments, including the army, got their briefing on the situation and with that an official mobilization. I know it sounds kinda insane and you get the zombie apocalypse feeling of it. That is the feeling I was having the entire evening, but I am at the same time one of the lucky ones who has an office at home or on the same floor as my apartment. Most people here don't have that luxury. Most people here don't enjoy the luxury of being able to stay home from work over a longer period either and this is another factor in all of this that gets me worried. As said, I am one of the lucky ones.

At the same time, I can at any time of the day check in on my loved ones to make sure they are okay while being at the office. Because this might be my biggest worry in all of this, that one of them get sick or infected by the virus. When that has been said, I have made one last preparation to make sure things goes smoothly and that is the fact that I have put a single bed in my office, just to be on the safe side. You got that right, I am a bit paranoid when it comes to me getting sick but until I get the need to use it we as a family sticks together as a unit. To be honest, for many reasons I am not in a position where I can afford to get sick. If you are a dedicated reader of my blog you would know about one of them.

I know that this might sound insane and borderline paranoid, but its better to be safe than sorry and I do hate getting sick. At the same time, I haven't been sick since I moved to Peru back in 2016. I might have had the flu or a cold once, but no more than that. Anyway, I guess its time for me to wrap this post up and get it ready for my blog. Just wanted to update you guys on my situation here in Peru and in a way announce the fact that I will keep on updating my blog on this topic. At least as long as we are in this curfew and isolation. Let's call it an expat lost in the corona jungle type of thing. You can support my work through Ko-fi by buying me a coffee or two (Jack Bowler Sr), but please it's not something you have to do.

My thoughts and prayers go to my loved ones back home in Norway, the situation there seems to be much worse than here.

Monday, 16 March 2020

Summer break is over and all the schools stay closed

There are no doubts about it, we are living in a crazy time and it does look like we are heading towards some even crazier days, many thanks to the ongoing covid-19 outbreak. The thing is that when it comes to myself, it's not the virus itself that worries me the most, but the aftermath of it or the expected side-effect if you may. Of course, I am naturally worried about getting sick or infected, but it's not where I see the biggest impact in the long run. Not that I am going to do a deep dive into this, but you can check out my blog post (The worrying aspects of the Covid-19 outbreak). There is no point in repeating myself since there is already an article about this on my blog.

First of all, I wish to apologize because this is a blog post that should have been completed and published on my blog several days ago. Sadly things have continued to get in my way and because of this, it feels like time simply ran off from me. Well, the thing is that last week our summer break ended and our kids returned to school. Something that the entire family has been looking forward to the past couple of weeks or so. You now, returning to our routines, but it wouldn't last for long. Because a week earlier we had our first few cases of the coronavirus in Lima and the government quickly decided to shut down all the schools in the country. So the kids got Monday and Tuesday before the notice came.

I would say to our “disappointment”, but it didn't come as a big surprise. This was a move from the government that I was waiting for, but it came much quicker than I expected. I thought that they would react in the same slow manner as they always do, but it's for the best as I see it. This way they do their best to stop the spread of the virus before it gets out of control. Not that I think it will have any effect in the long run, but at least they are doing something to prevent it and I do prefer to have my family together in a situation like this. I am just wondering what is around the corner for us. Will, there be a nationwide curfew, what about the border or other public services?

I guess that when it comes to this, only time will show. The important detail here is that we are semi-well prepared for anything. We have been stocking up on food, I have my office here at home and we have hired a private teacher for our son, but not sure if we dare to use her. Just in case she might be a silent carrier of the virus without being sick. I know, I might come off as a bit paranoid now, but for me, the focus is on the well being of my loved ones. I do most people right now has the same type of worries or am I the paranoid type? I guess it's better to be safe than sorry, right? That's how I think when it comes this and it's better to have your kids close by in a situation like this anyway.

There is one thing that worries me a bit and that is how fast things has escalated here in Peru. From a few cases one day to a complete shutdown of all schools nationwide. The number of known cases went from a couple of known cases to 79 in just a couple of days. From schools opening after the summer break to a nationwide shutdown in two days. So I am both curious and worried about what is next in line for us. What I think or believe will happen down the line is “soft” curfew, the closing of borders and airports. One thing I am hoping not will happen is seeing the army in the streets. Things are bad enough as it is, but no matter what happens we are more or less prepared for it.

Anyway, I guess its about time for me to wrap this post up and get it ready for my blog. Just wanted to update you guys on the latest events here in Peru and its happening fast, to be honest. At the same time, I hope it wasn't too messy of a post. Got a lot of things on my mind right now and everything has this nightmarish feeling if you know what I mean? At least I hope you enjoyed my coronavirus rambling and if you did, why not share it with family and friends. At the same time, you can support my work by buying me a cup of coffee on Ko-fi (Jack Bowler Sr). Just remember that you don't have to donate this cup of coffee or two if you don't want to. Only mentioning that you can do it!

Wednesday, 11 March 2020

The worrying aspects of the Covid-19 outbreak!

I had promised myself that I wouldn't touch or return to this topic after my blog post (An expats thoughts on the coronavirus outbreak), but after a few rounds with myself, the end conclusion was the “why not” type. My reasoning for this is that it's so related to the topic of my blog and that it has such an impact on one of my biggest passions in life that it did feel kinda natural for me to continue with the topic. At the same time and before I continue its important for me to repeat the fact that I have no medical background. If the case is that you are looking for medical advice or answers on any medical-related questions, you should contact appropriate local authorities since this is purely my own opinions and observations.

I have to say that there are a few elements of the ongoing covid-19 outbreak that manages to get me worried and its “surprisingly” not for the most part what most people seem to be focusing on. Of course, I am somewhat worried about the health-related effect it might have on us, but it's not where I see the biggest challenges awaiting us in the coming weeks and months. As I see it the biggest challenges we might be facing are related to the global trade and financial situation. Something I would say we have seen a mild reaction in the petroleum, currency and stock market. Not to be a doomsday preacher of any sort, but the longer the Covid-19 are allowed to stick around the bigger it will become.

Think about this, China has for the last decade or so been the global manufacturing hub for most of our everyday goods. More or less every single consumer products that we are enjoying in our daily life are being produced in China and now it seems as they have shut down the majority of their factories. This is something that will become a huge problem down the road. I know it might not sound like the problem that I am describing for you, but when you calculate that the owners of the brands that use these factories won't be able to produce or ship their products to the market this will end up becoming a major financial hit. Not just when it comes to the classic consumer products, but also when it comes to tourist-related industries.

Think about the effect this will have on the global financial situation? Shops have to shut down, hotels have to close their doors and airliners has to ground their planes. Millions of people worldwide will end up being temporarily unemployed. Think about the effect this will have on the economy of entire nations. I am no doomsday preacher, but from my perspective, things are looking grim and this is even before we take into account the human cost in all of this. We are already seeing the effect of this through semi-massive drops in oil and currency market. For me as a Norwegian guy, I see this “by-product” of the outbreak back home through lower prices on oil and a falling or devaluing of the Norwegian Krone.

The big headlines these days are hotel owners talking about cutting costs and downsizing their staff, national airliners are talking about cutting flights or other companies related to the tourism industry are talking about laying off people. Because face it, if this outbreak goes into summer season there will be no tourists to give service to. As I see it, the outbreak isn't the end of the world, but it will do some serious damage while it sticks around. Especially when it comes to the global economy and the biggest worry as I see it is the fact that it might force a recession or a depression to happen. Last time this happened was in the aftermath of the Spanish flu and we all know how that went.

I don't want to throw any more fuel on the fire, it's bad enough as it is, but as an expat far from home I do get worried about my loved ones back home in Norway and how this will affect them both short and long term. In many ways, this is the perfect storm that actual doomsday preachers have been both talking and warning about. There is another element to this, shortage of consumer goods like food, electronics, medicine and other goods coming out of China. This is also why I have on social media been talking a lot about stocking up on food, water and the more typical flu-related medicine. I am not talking about going full prepper with years of supplies in an underground bunker somewhere. Just enough to get by if the worst-case scenario comes around.

As said, the last thing I want is to be the one that throws more fuel on the fire, but on the other hand, it's important to be as prepared as you can be. For me, it's all about the wellbeing of my family and that's where your state of mind should be too. Anyway, kinda feel that I have been rambling on for way too long and that it's about time for me to wrap this blog post up. So at least I hope you have been “enjoying” my take on the situation and that you might follow my advice on having a small supply of food and such in your pantry. Anyway, if you enjoyed my rambling I hope you share it with your friends and family, get the word out there. You can also support my work through Ko-fi (JackBowler Sr), thank you for your attention!

Friday, 6 March 2020

Might be going home in a two or three months time

I think its time for me to get real and share something important to me, at the same time something that will or impact my life as an expat in a big way. The thing is that for the past couple of years I have been living in kind of limbo, while my visa application has been hanging there waiting to get either accepted or denied. It got denied the first time around over a messy process that I had no say in. I did everything the right way and it got denied anyway, even though the main reason for the rejection never really happened in the first place. I know it sounds confusing, but it is for me as well. Actually for everyone, but I will try to spare you the details of it.

For the longest time I had engaged a lawyer (in this case my girlfriend's father) and I trusted the fact that he got the job done (something he didn't do). No, I haven't been living in Peru as an illegal immigrant, just to have that said. Not that, it has from time to time felt like it, since I have been without “legal” papers, but by the application has been in the process somehow. Anyway, our patience ran out last week and we hired a new lawyer this Monday. Since I am working as I do, my girlfriend went into Lima as my representative and from what I understand, we got some potentially good news. There is something different with me this time around, not as overly optimistic as I were the first time around.

So this time around I do see the possibility that I might be returning home within the next two or three months. Yes, you could say that I see the doom and gloom on the horizon. As I am thinking, if the worst-case scenario does come into play I have had a good run these 3,5 plus years, but for some weird reason, I just can't shake that feeling it's over. The irony in it all, if it happens its all because of a messy and slow working bureaucracy at work. The worst part is that I have to jump through the same hoops as I did back in 2018, but the difference this time around is that I have a good lawyer by my side. It's going to be expensive, but if it will be worth it if things go my way this time.

I might come off as somewhat negative now, but thing is that I don't want to pack up my belongings and head for home, not when I have everything I want in life right here in Peru. That is also the only reason why I have stuck around to fight, but not in a literal way of course. If I did and got caught doing it, that would for sure get me deported back home. This has in many ways become my home and returning to Norway would be too much of cultural change for me. I hate to admit it, but I have become too much of a Latino in how I live my life and do my things. I have in many ways lost that weird, quiet, shy and awkward Norwegian in me. Anyone who has met a Norwegian or lived in Norway knows what I am talking about here.

Like last time around the block, everyone is telling me that it is going to be okay, but my experience so far is telling something else and that's why I am trying to prepare myself for the worst-case scenario. In my eyes the worst-case scenario is that come June I have to pack my suitcases and return home to a Norwegian summer and celebrate mid-summer day with friends and family. I know that this doesn't sound like such a bad thing, because I do miss my family and friends back home, but at the same time it's here I have built my life now and it has been where I have always wanted to be. So in my eyes, it would be a massive defeat to come home and maybe not be able to return for the next two or three years.

So next week its time for me to return to Lima, go through all the hoops and circles I need to so my lawyer can do the rest. That includes a visit at Interpol with all kind of hoops of its own, go to immigration to fill out forms and finally be able to meet my new representative in this saga of a process, but hopefully, it will be the end of it. When I think about it, I haven't been back in Lima since we returned to Huaral back in 2019, so I am looking forward to that. Maybe even stop by an Mc Donalds and such when everything is over. If everything goes according to plan, I will have my citizen card by mid-June and that's a good thing. A card like that would open a whole new set of doors for me here in Peru.

One thing I am sure of, no matter how this process ends the blog stays and I will keep on updating it with new content, even if I have to return home to Norway. Maybe with a different type of content, but I am not giving up on it. At the same time, shortly I will be welcoming a new addition to the Beyond the Horizon family, a second writer. This is a guy that will bring a whole new dimension to the blog with his background and exciting stories. Yes, he is a fellow traveller, but he kinda seeks a different experience than me. At least, I am super excited about the new addition to the family and I hope you guys will be as well when he makes his debut.

Saturday, 29 February 2020

Looking back on a busy and exciting month for me

Before I get started on today's “article”, I do kinda feel the need to apologize for my absence lately. The truth is that there has been going on so much in my life that it has been really hard to sit down and focus on something like a blog post. This has been things like work, us moving a few floors up to all the negative background noise I have had for a while now. I know, its somewhat a bad excuse, but to be honest it has been “crazy” around me, to such a degree that it has been much easier to sit down to watch a random YouTube video or get lost in a videogame. Let's say that such activities have been easier to digest after 14 hours or so in the office. It's hard to be an adult with responsibilities.

It's not like I haven't been trying or anything, but I just managed the masterpiece to get stuck on one single post and that can be frustrating when it happens. Anyway, even though I haven't been able to be as productive as I had hoped to be this month, I would say all in all when looking back on February things looks good. The first thing is that I have learned a lesson on how important it is to have a structure or a well-made schedule for my different projects. The biggest single moment has to be when I got the keys for my office and study handed over to me. Not that I have been able to use it yet, because of a slow working internet provider. I haven't gotten internet there yet and that is something I need.

If I do look back on the blog posts that I have been able to publish this month, I can't be anything than happy with the result when it comes to comments and visits/clicks. There has been 1000 to 1500 clicks and that is for me great because I haven't put that much effort into sharing my links on social media, usually on the day of publishing. The post with the most views has been the one about the convid-19 outbreak (An expats thoughts on theCoronavirus) and it seems like it still attracts some attention and I am planning on doing a follow up later in March. For me, all of this is so new and exciting. I still jump in my chair of pure joy for every single click, visit and comment.

So, now that the month of February is at its end I have started to look forward and make plans for March. It's not like I am having these major plans or anything, just a few ideas for content on the blog and what I might do next in other areas. Especially since I now have a dedicated space to retreat to when I need to get something done. If there is one thing I hope to get done is expanding into the YouTube space with a channel. Or the channel is already there, but there isn't any content to brag about, but I do want to invest in a semi-good camera and a drone. Anyway, this is just an idea at this point and who knows when I can expand into this, but it will be a vlog type.

I know that this type of blog post isn't exciting for you guys, but it is a way for me to close or end a month and that way gets a fresh start in the next. Anyway, I hope you guys enjoy reading it and if you did, why not check me out on social media and subscribe to my newsletter? You can find me on Facebook through Jack Bowler Sr (private) or Beyond the Horizon (official page). On Instagram, Beyond our Horizon. On Twitter, Jack Bowler Sr. On YouTube, Beyond the Horizon 2.0. If you wish to support my blog financially you can do that through my Ko-fi account, Jack Bowler Sr or just help me spread the good word about my blog. So, thank you for the visit and stay prepared in these corona days!