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Shekinah’s eSKapades is a lifestyle blog and a safe space where SK (Shekinah) is able to share parts of her personal life, the good and the bad with others. She writes about a variety of topics such as parenting, food, positivity, and travel.
Growing up, SK didn’t have an interest in travel and that’s probably because it was somewhat foreign to her.
“I never really thought about getting to travel until I finished high school and started living life more on my own and once I started, I fell in love with it both domestically and internationally”.
She finds it fulfilling to visit new places, try new foods, meet new people, experience different cultures and environments outside of the norm. SK’s interest in travel spilt over to her interest in travel writing because she found so much joy in sharing these experiences with others through writing stories, complimenting them with pictures, and allowing for dialogue amongst others and herself.
Loving to enjoy life and thinking everyone should as well is SK’s reason for starting her blog, but she knows that it’s easier said than done for a lot of folks because finances, work, family and a ton of other reasons prevent them from travelling.
“Creating a lifestyle blog gives me the opportunity to go into detail of my various experiences and either let others live through my journey and/or be inspired to not let anything get in their way of enjoying life.
For the majority of the COVID lockdown, SK has been in South Florida and has been able to work remotely, launch her blog and start working on that consistently, spend more time with family, and tapping into other things of interest that she really didn’t have the time to do before.
“The biggest challenge I thought we would face would be adjusting to 100% virtual schooling for my son Niko, who’s in the eighth grade. At first, it was a challenge because the schools were not really prepared to teach online and the first 3-4 weeks the curriculum wasn’t solid and enforced so it kind of felt like a vacation”.
Once the decision was made that students, including SK’s son Niko, were not returning to the classroom for the rest of the school year she knew she had to put some type of system in place to help keep them organized and able to stay on top of things. SK created an at home school board schedule using a simple red poster board from Walmart.
“It was very straight to the point and included all the information my son needed as far as scheduling, work assignments, physical activity, etc”.
Even though they had created this, SK had to continuously remind herself that it’s new for everyone and that they may not adhere to the schedule 100% but at least something was there for them to refer to and keep them on track, primarily to keep her son on track and not let him think he was on a full-blown vacation.
“I am so grateful we were able to get to Florida before things really got shut down because I must give a huge thanks to my mother for helping me out during this time with Niko. Overall, it has been an adjustment for everyone but at this point, we have learned to make it work”.
Some days are easier than others for SK, and some days are busier than others. They try to keep a balance with all that that’s going on so as to not get overwhelmed. SK has found more positive during this time than negative and her hope is that everyone else can too.
“I know its cliché but when life gives you lemons, you just have to make the best lemonade you can”.
The impact on tourism and travel has affected SK on a personal level because it’s something she enjoys doing whether it’s for work or personal. Also, as a new blogger, it has had a negative effect on her work especially because SK’s initial content was going to focus on trips she had planned both which all ended up being cancelled, for obvious reasons.
“I was super excited to start sharing my journeys through words, pictures, and full reviews from each trip”.
With no plan B when it came to writing content, SK was banking on what had been planned already only for COVID 19 to come and wipe everything away. She admits it has been challenging shifting her content in the meantime but is figuring it out slowly but surely at a comfortable pace.
The travel industry has already started to change and SK’s thoughts are that it will continue to change in the future due to COVID 19, both domestically and internationally. Country bans are still in place and because of the uncertainty of COVID 19 it will make travellers very anxious and reluctant to want to book travel and get stuck in a foreign place.
“Hotels, Air BnB, and other places must ensure they are adhering to social distancing guidelines on all levels from local to federal. Most places are still on a limited capacity to allow customers into their business establishments, so they are not able to get the income they are used to taking on a “normal” basis”.
Everyone has been affected, even if you are not an avid traveller or work directly in the travel industry. SK does not think there will be as much travel as there usually is for at least another couple years from now. She sees that things still don’t seem to be safe, and has friends and family members close to her who are considered high risk and feels it just isn’t worth the chance travelling right now, and risk bringing the virus home.
The growing industry of digital nomads is increasing and SK believes it will be affected in a positive way.
“More companies have started to understand the value of having employees to work remotely which allows for more of a work/life balance. It also cuts down on overhead costs for companies themselves because you don’t have as many people coming into the office as they normally would”.
Since Covid-19 has come along it has forced most companies to adapt to an exclusive virtual environment, and it doesn’t look like Covid-19 is going anywhere anytime soon so measures put in place will remain, to a certain extent SK feels.
“I think more people have already started to shift to a more nomadic lifestyle because of their negative experience due to Covid-19, work hours being cut drastically and or completely losing a job. It’s hard when you have become so dependent on a weekly or biweekly incoming check and then boom it stops but the bills are still coming in. It's not a good feeling”.
People have started to think outside of the box in various ways so they can generate an income while at home during these difficult times and SK believes that because of that it’s very safe to say that the digital nomad industry will continue to grow.
“Whether that’s you continuing to work for your current company if they opt to go that route or if you decide to venture out and develop your own business”.
The advice from SK to others from the travel industry is to have a little patience during these times. Even though we are all in different places, we are still all in this together experiencing the same things.
“Wearing face masks, practising 6-foot social distancing, some self-quarantine and the list goes on. This too shall pass and instead of thinking about all of the negatives that have come from this, think about what positives have come and how you can continue to take advantage of the situation in front of you”.
She does think there will be a new “normal” due to all of this and that everyone has to figure out the best way to adapt and still produce the results we want.
One of SK’s favourite and most memorable trips was to Thailand and is one of her top destinations. She visited Phuket, Phi Phi island, Bangkok, and Phuket town.
“Phuket was my favourite and that’s probably because it was a bit more chill to me. The people were extremely nice, fried chicken and sticky rice were amazing, beautiful weather and the beach was not overcrowded and gorgeous to layout and get a nice tan”.