I’m a 24 years old Colombia passionate, persistent and always nice to people. Planned my graduation trip through Asia for three months. Planned everything so I could find a place to work and get some money for living. As in Colombia saving money wasn’t too easy, I had a daily budget of 20 USD, plus 1500 on Tickets and Transportation. Altogether 3500 USD for the three months. So I had to work.
Unfortunately my trip started on the 18th of Jan in China, I never thought I was going to be encountered with a lethal virus that made my trip unviable. Since the 25th when people started dying due to the Coronavirus, many of the flights were cancelled. I had a ticket purchased to India, then Vietnam and return to Beijing. By the 30th I was approached by IndiGo saying my flight was suspended, that I would get a refund except on some Fees. By that time I had to check tickets to fly out. I’m Colombian that means I had 9 countries near by that didn’t have many restrictions for visa on arrival or E-visa (Taipei, Nepal, India, Russia, Philippines, Singapur, S. Korea, USA, Laos). And six of them had closed the border for tourists, that means I only had India, Nepal and Laos. Because of this I had to purchase more than 3 tickets and apply for different visas, which two were denied. I’ve spent in transportation and fees almost 1200 USD, and that includes the return ticket to Beijing which I found out it was cancelled too. One of the tickets was to India, which was meant to be On the 3rd of Feb. We had applied two days prior for E-visa saying we where in China, got approved so we never thought they would tell us we can’t Board the plane As the GOV. close the border for tourists 10 hours before that flight. So that left us with one option: Laos. I found a ticket for $230 USD my last and only option.
Everything went fine, China made us all kind of exams and made us fill so many Forms to assure we weren’t inffected, also I knew I wasn’t near any cities with more than 10 people infected, So I felt save, but I kept my Facemask through all the controls, and the first 5 days. Border control was easy. I spent 9 days in Laos believing my trip had finally started, but this was just the beginning of a bigger nightmare. I applied for a Vietnam visa which was one of the countries scheduled, the visa got approved quite fast, so I purchased the 24 hours bus to get a job as soon as possible in Hanoi, as a photographer or selling things. My budget by now was like 10 USD. Low of money, longest 12 hours to the border, 7:00 AM border control, minutes away to find out my trip was just the biggest fear for any traveler.
On the Vietnamese post, the operator find the Chinese Stamp on my passport. He starts yelling names, people acting weird, immediately eveyone started using face masks an goggles. They put me aside and start screaming that I had to go back to Laos. No one wanted to help me. They put me aside and everyone around and moved us to a close room for 5 hours. They were panicking. A random guy appears in a Third World War suit and sprayed the bus from inside and outside. Also each place i touched and sit. After that this guys come to the room and tell me to go back to Laos, that I had to be to more weeks in Laos for me to enter Vietnam. Didn’t had any chances I went back to the border, Laos officers try to help me, checking if I had any symptoms. Fortunately I didn’t had any, plus is been more than 10 days since I left China. But they didn’t want to put anyone in danger so they send me on an ambulance 🚑 to a town. I spent three of the longest nights I’ve ever experienced. They said I had to keep on quarantine for 6 days, but after exams they find out I didn’t have anything. I got more videos, But as I’m here in the country I don’t want to become a target, you never know how big this could go and I don’t want to put my life in risk or finish in jail. But I could hear people coughing from my room window. The doctor said it was pretty common as the air pollution is so bad, But my head was playing games with me. If I spend another night there I’m hundred percent sure I’ll be freaking out.
I’ve checked tickets and the cheapest and fastest I can get to Colombia is about 1500USD for many of you that isn’t too much, but for me as a Colombian that means four months of hard work and savings Which have been gone trying to make my way out of this nightmare. Many of the flight options have land-over that requiere Transit visa, and many of them will deny it due to the virus. I’m sorry I buy one ticket and the cancelled it one more time. Please help me
Im more than aware that I put myself in this, but asking for help is a big thing for me. I’ve been raised thinking you are the only who can do things for yourself. And so far I have. But on this one I got no one else. My trip is finished, it’s time to head back.
I’m also open to hear and talk to those in the same situation. Help them go through tough things, with no many people to talk. I’m aware this is part of traveling, but I hope one of you or siblings never goes through this.
PS. Many might find this ridiculous, so I would like to offer something else. I work for a Natural Park in the Amazon, so for every 30 USD I receive as support I’ll Plant a tree, helping the human impact on the world. Which you can follow up on @Heyguysmartin on instragam.