I wrote and sent the note below today. A letter to apartment landlords in Penang, Malaysia. While proofreading it before sending, I had a strong sense of the surreal.
Hello, Wendy & Sharon.Note sent by Earth Vagabonds
We hope you are safe and healthy and have some tenants. We’ve been thinking of you and watching the calendar and the news.
We remain in the Philippines – waiting for all this virus craziness to pass.
We’re aware of Malaysia’s plan to reopen in phases. But it doesn’t appear tourists can return until mid-August IF everything goes smoothly. Air travel? quarantines? medical tests? Many uncertainties.
Bottom line, it does not seem possible for us to get back to Penang in July as we hoped. Even August or September may not be realistic. But we do intend to keep traveling – and want to return. Right now, we’re thinking it best if we push our plans back 3 months – and try to arrive in early October. We hope it would be ok with you if we start our 3-month stay in George Town then?
Of course, all of this is very unfortunate and inconvenient. And no doubt your leasing business is especially difficult. We appreciate your consideration. Please respond at your convenience and let us know what you think. We remain flexible and positive and confident that with more time, some ‘normal’ life will resume. And we look forward to being back in Penang after a slight delay.
Thank you sincerely. Please stay safe and well.
Ellen & Ted Kortan
It was early, I rubbed my eyes. Breathed deep. Looked around.
Yep, I WAS sitting on a beachside balcony in the Philippines… rereading a note to rental agents in Malaysia. Even after four-and-half years of global wandering, I had to pinch myself — again.
It’s sometimes been hard to fathom that we’ve actually been continuously bumbling around the planet in early retirement. I recall dream-like moments in Mahahual, Mexico, Lisbon, Portugal, Kotor, Montenegro, and Cat Ba, Vietnam. Places so beautiful and moving that my jaw literally dropped open and tears welled up in disbelief.
But this world pandemic pause is even more surreal. We’ve been ‘parked’ for two months. We’re obviously staying here much longer. The future is uncertain. Yet, we are so thankful. So fortunate.
My wife is obviously dealing with the same kind of notion. Earlier this week she posted the following to Facebook.
I know my mom turns to her faith in God to help her understand and negotiate troubling times. She is still here with us, stranded by the travel shutdowns, after meeting us for a winter vacation.
I’m not especially religious. But I do pray and give thanks every day. We are all safe and healthy and comfortable here.
Like everyone else, we don’t know exactly what will happen in the coming weeks and months. But strange as it sounds, we feel like we’ve been put here in this place and time. In this traditional Philippine community. At this small resort. With a group of kind, caring, and friendly people who’s lives have been upended.
Surreal as it may seem, it’s a mutually beneficial arrangement. We need a place to stay. They need renters/customers. We are glad we will be able to help and support them – and others, if need be – for much more time. And they will undoubtedly take good care of us. Together, with God’s help, we will get through this extraordinary event.
Late in the day, we received a response from the Malaysian landlords. Wendy and Sharon have agreed to move back out arrival date and apply our rental deposit to October, as we were asking.
Hopefully, the intervening five months will enable some kind of normalcy here in the Philippines, in Malaysia, the USA, and everywhere else around the globe.
As always, be thankful and generous, happy trails, & more beer.
Life is NOW!
Thanks for reading, “Extended stay gives sense of the surreal.”
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