Perspective: Traveling in India During the Beginning of the Coronavirus Outbreak

It’s crazy to think about a month ago I was traveling to India. Right before the world practically closed down and life as we know it upended.

When I arrived in India, I was asked basic questions regarding prior travel. There were signs that pointed to additional screenings for those who recently visited areas where the coronavirus was more prominent at the time, which didn’t effect me. It didn’t feel like the coronavirus was something to be concerned about.

More like something to be aware of, but no reason to be seriously worried.

As the days passed, I began to notice something peculiar about how locals would look at foreigners. It wasn’t just the typical staring because we look different. I saw people take one look at us, cover their mouth, and walk away. Like they thought we had the virus.

To be clear, this wasn’t everyone. In fact, it wasn’t even most people. But it happened often enough to take notice.

It was interesting, seeing the world change from a place so far away from home. I heard about things shifting back in the U.S., but India wasn’t experiencing the same level of emergency. At least not when I first arrived.

I watched as things worsened. Watched as India prohibited tourists from entering the country. I was already there so this didn’t effect me, but just the fact that tourism had stopped told me the situation was going downhill very quickly.

I was there when Maharashtra declared an epidemic (I was staying in Navi Mumbai). When school’s closed, just as they had back home. Malls became ghost towns, if they weren’t already closed. Before entering some stores, we were required to use the hand sanitizer provided at entrance. I’ll never forget lining up to have my temperature checked before being allowed inside to tour the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel.

It was scary, watching the world change before my eyes. It went from a normal, but cautious trip overseas, to feeling like I had walked into the pages of a young adult dystopian novel.

I ended my trip two days early, due to how quickly things were changing globally, and uncertainty as to how I would get home at that rate. I ended up securing a seat on one of the last direct flights out of India to the U.S.

My trip to India amid the growing Coronavirus pandemic was an interesting experience to say the least. It wasn’t like the coronavirus took over my whole trip. It wasn’t at the heart of everything I did.

But it was still there. Hard to forget about. And as the days passed and the situation escalated, impossible to look past.

Now that India has implemented a 21 day lockdown, it’s crazy to look back and realize just how fast things changed.

I left the U.S. March 3rd and returned March 15th to what feels like, in many ways, a new world.

life self-reflection travel

Rachel Writes View All →

Hi! My name is Rachel. I love to write. Write about life, love, and reflect on how the past builds the future. Mostly, I love to tell stories because I believe there is something about stories that brings the world closer together. You can check out some of my writing reflections here at Rachel Writes.

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