Reports From The Field: The TDA Community Has A Secret Advantage!
As part of our TDA Community News Initiative, last year we asked some of our field staff from around the world to send us an account on what life was like under lockdown in their part of the world. Now we are asking them to inform us about their current situation…
Brad Davis, who has worked with TDA Global Cycling as a Content Creator & Assistant Tour Director on the Bamboo Road, Tour d’Afrique, Trans-Europa, Magical Madagascar & Pub Ride Cycling Expeditions, reported from Edinburgh last May and sends us this update.
Christmas was a little different this year. While Santa’s reindeer were allowed to travel on Christmas Eve due to herd immunity, most of his workshop employees had to elf isolate…
Sorry for that – I usually steal my jokes from other people. With very limited socializing this year, I’ve realized I’m not as funny as I thought. Anyway, let me start by saying that I am cautiously optimistic in regards to what 2021 has in store. While we’ve still got a long way to go yet, a new year brings a breath of fresh air along with it. Which is good, because I think it’s fair to say that 2020 #@*%ing sucked. And while it’s not a competition (certainly not a fun one, anyway), some of us had it worse than others.
As an Australian living in the UK, I’ve been monitoring the COVID situation in the land down under just as closely as I’ve been monitoring it in my current location of Edinburgh. The UK hasn’t been the greatest place to hole up for 2020, and unfortunately the latest developments are causing us to backslide at a time when the days are short, dark and cold.
The last blog I wrote for TDA was in the peak of summer. The sun was shining, it rose very early, and set very late. It was easy to wake up early with the sun, work from home for a few hours, and then get outside and enjoy the daylight. Nav and I even managed to get away for my birthday in October, which turned out to be the perfect time of year for us to rent a camper van and head up north to the Isle of Skye. We spent two wonderful weeks driving through the countryside every morning, hiking through Skye’s unique landscapes every afternoon, and relaxing at various caravan parks each night. I forgot about the laidback atmosphere that you’ll find in any caravan park. They’re like a secluded bubble where everyone smiles and waves at each other, strangers stop for a chat, and no one talks about politics, trending news… or COVID. It was refreshing, to say the least.
Since returning from our road trip, not much has changed other than the weather! This new strain has led to a fresh lockdown, and we aren’t sure how long it will last for. The good news is that this time, there is a vaccine to offer some sense of hope. Also, a few things have become clear this year. One is that by and large, most people step up in times of hardship. Whether that means buying and delivering groceries to your elderly neighbours or opting to buy your takeaway coffee from a local business instead of Starbucks or Costa; the average person’s sense of community is stronger than ever before. Another is that people are surprisingly versatile. Our ability to adapt and evolve when necessary has been put to the test this year, and while not everyone is coming out on top, the innovation of countless small businesses is inspiring.
And finally, no matter what level of COVID restrictions a country finds itself in, your ability to go for a leisurely bike ride is among the last things to be taken away from you. I must admit, I haven’t been overly keen to ride my bike lately. Actually, that’s not true – I’m extremely keen to ride my bike, just not in Scotland. I’m a pretty hopeless cyclist in the best of conditions, let alone in strong winds on icy roads in the dark! There are lots of things that the TDA community doesn’t like doing. Cycling on corrugated terrain… Waiting at border crossings… Taking the tour medic’s advice that those rather large blisters on your bum won’t go away until you stop riding for a day or two…
But if there’s one thing the TDA community doesn’t like doing above all else, it’s sitting still. Thankfully, every single member of the TDA community has a secret advantage. We’ve all travelled through foreign countries, eaten foreign foods, conversed with foreign people and experienced foreign cultures in a very real, raw, face-to-face environment. And when you immerse yourself in foreign cultures the way that a TDA tour does, you lose all sense of “us and them”. That’s incredibly important right now, because we’re all in this together – the hardship, the sacrifices, and the better times that lay ahead!