2020: The Story So Far... Part 2!

I wasn't looking for trouble, as I finished my second hotel stint in Beijing I was about to go into the unknown! What did 2020 want? I wasn't ready to make a big mistake, deep down I wasn't meant to still be in that lockdown situation in China. With another plan in action, I was ready to take that socially distanced train from Beijing South Railway Station. Oh no, Rona better don't!


Following on my first '2020: The Story So Far...' blog that was published before March 2020, life looks a lot different in the here and now! With my third hotel in residence I was half ready to move down to my new city, I took everyday with a pinch of salt because the situation changed all the time. My hotel stays were wearing on me but with one more in my intended destination, I looked forward to bid the final farewell to my time in Beijing. My papers had been dealt with, my hard work and persuasion hadn't been for nothing. A flight would be on the cards, I had to be pragmatic because the lockdown situation in China was real. I knew that a China return would be on the cards but my work for that stint had come to an end with no loose ends to be tided up! Etihad was my carrier, having to wear a mask felt strange and most certainly I wanted to keep it on! Valentina from RPDR was my mood that night as I exited China. OMG!

Mentioned in the first instalment of this blog series, I had been advised to return home to England. My parents helped me find a flight and with my bags packed and my mask on, I made my way to a silent Terminal 3 at Capital Airport. I never seen the terminal so deadly quiet, that shocked me because each time before it would always be packed with passengers checking into their flights. Finding myself on a Etihad Dreamliner jet soaring into the sky from Beijing Capital Airport had me feeling shook! Transferring in Abu Dhabi it was such a nice feeling to take my mask off, I wasn't playing! The second flight I didn't need a mask, lulled into a sense of security I could relax on that flight. Homeward bound ever so unexpectedly I landed into Manchester Airport on February 25th 2020, the fun would really begin! How long would I find myself back in England? Would I ever make it back to China? It wasn't an arrival that I had planned, I was so mad in one way but I had no choice in the matter. 


During the latter part of 2019 I had discovered the internet sensation and manager, 'Charity Shop Sue'. Having spent one month in a hotel, I wanted to break free if only for the weekend. Booking my Megabus and hostel to the city of Nottingham, the term 'Coronavirus' seemed like a world away, the streets of Birmingham bustled with an everyday buzz. Arriving in Nottingham was great, I got to 'Old Market Square'. It was only March and 2020 had already taken me on an almighty ride, finally feeling normal I headed up to Sherwood Forest to see the 'Major Oak' that had connections with Robin Hood. The next day I took the Nottingham Tram up to Bulwell to see that famous charity shop. I felt very starstruck as I stepped into the world of 'Charity Shop Sue'. Nottingham had taken me away from the masks and lockdowns that I had experienced so well in China, in that moment I had to pinch myself to see if 2020 was real? Yes! 

I had a fire back in my soul, I had picked my blog back up because I was able to create 'Destination: Nottingham'. Wanting to further embellish on my unexpected time in England, I penned another weekend trip. The second intended trip would be to Sheffield, things seemed calm within the country, the trip would still go ahead. One blessing in disguise, I was in the same country as my niece and nephew were, for that I was happy to be back home in England. Seeing them soon after I got back from China was a blessing. After a night on the sauce at my Brother's house, I decided to book a cheeky trip to Spain! What was I actually thinking? The idea remained an idea due to Spain declaring their 'Quédate En Casa' order. Sheffield had to be cancelled my second lockdown beckoned, seriously? Jet2.com refunded my flight and Booking.com did the same for my Spanish hotel. I couldn't be mad, I was fully bitter that 2020 stood ready to cause a storm! Closing what? 2020, I wasn't ready! 


Miss Rona had cancelled 2020, my Spanish trip had been cancelled but in the midst of that the UK prepared for its very own lockdown! The Chinese border closed to foreigners on the 28th of March 2020, to be honest I was crushed! The processing of my criminal background check notarisation stood still with the London based solicitor. Feeling trapped, it was definitely time for a 'Quarantini' because in lockdown the time didn't matter! With my wings clipped I was feeling incredibly grounded, if I couldn't go out into the world I would bring the world to my writing to create my very own 'My Coronavirus Travel Plan'. Delving into the internet, I found a treasure trove of potential travelling options for when was ready again. Revisiting Australia when my 'plan' can be put into some kind of 'action' will be very much welcomed! Russia? Yes, the Trans Siberian adventure from Vladivostok to Moscow needs to happen! I pray! 

Cubaton? Part of 'My Coronavirus Travel Plan: Part 3', I stumbled across 'Jacob Forever' and his Cubaton hit 'Hasta Que Se Seque el Malecón'. Alongside my Cuban travel research, my love for Cubaton grew during lockdown. I used music and travel as my main focusses because losing any weight or gaining a new perspective on life would not be happening. Those daily briefings got me down, those politicians lied and people acted the fool at parks and beaches during my second lockdown, even though I lost my mind a few times I kept my blog together to publish content about real world Corona related developments. Getting views higher each month without even leaving my house was refreshing and it gave me a much needed boost! Some bloggers recounted their holistic lockdown routines, I created a whole new blog series called '2020: Coronavirus Has Changed My World'. Remembering 2019s successes, this year has taught me to be thankful and keep the faith. Miss Rona will leave us! 


The lockdown wouldn't last forever, the economy needed to reopen and I needed a haircut badly! With my new look I gained a new outlook on life, my stint in England wouldn't be for the long haul even though during the UK lockdown it seemed so. Picking up walking during a stay at my Auntie's house in Brewood, seeing those steps increase on a daily had me feeling optimistic. My lockdown lard was getting me down, no magic wand would burn those back rolls away! No! The Chinese Embassy and Consulate reopened on a gradual basis! That development allowed me to receive my notarised and certified criminal background check, sending that document to my prospect company was a done thing! Each walk started to give me perspective, that gave me hope to get my mind and body in a better space if nothing else! To see the canal-side looking bright on a sunny day gave me a sense that I was meant to return home. 

Things had been stationary in those three Beijing hotels, I needed some nature! Keeping my walking up with my Mum, it's been great picking up the pace over the last few weeks with the step counts and distances that have been successfully covered. Most recently we walked from our home in Bilston along the canal to Birmingham, those 30,000 steps killed me but that socially distanced pint of Strongbow Cider made the pain worth it! Even though 2020 continues to turn my world upside down, I keep the faith that Miss Rona will take a hike and that I will board my Shanghai bound flight. The story so far remains changeable but none of this 'ish could have been written any differently! Sheffield will happen in the future, I know that Benidorm will be on my upcoming travel list and most of all I have my health. I won't be mad but I certainly remain bitter for the disruption this world pandemic situation has caused. 2020, I know that the third instalment of this series will be in China!

Corona, I'm Over This! 

Joseph Harrison

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