I’ve always heard it said that when I don’t know what to do, I should do nothing. Though it may sound simplistic, that idea has always worked for me, and the past year has been a prime example. I returned home to Chiang Mai, Thailand, from a trip to Antarctica, Argentina, Chile, and Easter Island on January 12, 2020. Little did I know it would be my last bout of international travel for more than a year. The day after I returned home, the Ministry of Public Health in Thailand reported the first case of lab-confirmed novel coronavirus discovered outside of China. A Chinese female tourist from Wuhan, China, who had been suffering from fever, chills, sore throat, and headache for the previous week, arrived at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok with a tour group. Her condition was detected by thermal surveillance at the airport and she was immediately hospitalized.
By mid-March, the number of daily cases in Thailand had surged to triple digits. On March 26, the government declared a state of emergency and a curfew went into effect on April 3rd. The following day, all commercial international flights were suspended and lockdown measures were implemented throughout the country. The rate of locally transmitted cases gradually dropped throughout April. When the number of cased dropped to near-zero in mid-May, the government eased lockdown restrictions but the suspension of inbound international flights remained in force. I could leave if I wanted to, but if I did, I wouldn’t be allowed to return.
I’d been living in Chiang Mai, Thailand, for the past 3.5 years and had no desire to leave. But the situation with COVID-19 meant I wouldn’t be traveling anytime soon. I cancelled my plans to visit Spain in April and decided to use the time to publish stories about places I’d visited, but had never had time to write about on my Hole in the Donut Travel blog. That kept me busy for some months, but by November of last year I had whittled through my backlog of stories about international destinations.
I wrote a few stories about what it was like to live in Thailand during the COVID-19 pandemic, but soon felt I had exhausted that subject as well. What to do? Would my followers continue to read my blog if all the content was about Thailand? I had no idea. For the past few months I’ve been gnashing my teeth, trying to decide whether or not to continue publishing the blog. I thought COVID-19 might be the sign that it was time to stop. But I just couldn’t make up my mind…so I did nothing.
About a month ago, there was an update to WordPress, the software that runs my site. When my tech guy tried to install the new version, it broke my site. I had no choice. I had to upgrade my design or shut down the blog completely. In the end, I just wasn’t ready to quit. I found a new theme and have been working day and night on the conversion. The result is what you see today, a fresh new look for Hole in the Donut Travel blog. I hope you will agree with me that the new design is much more attractive. It’s easier to read and has lots of clean white space. I also hope to start writing more, focusing on the numerous trips I have been taking around Thailand over the past few months. It remains to be seen whether or not my followers will stick with me until I can travel internationally again, but I have my fingers crossed.