An update from the mountains
Like most European countries, France has been in lock down since the weekend of March 14-15. Since that date, everyone is expected to stay at home as much as possible. You are only allowed to be out on the streets when you have a valid reason and you have to bring a passport and a so-called 'attestation' with you. We are allowed to exercise here for an hour, but must remain within a radius of 1km and a maximum of 100 altimeters from home. The mountains are a no go area to avoid putting extra pressure on resque services and medical care. Our outing is therefore the weekly grocery shopping at the local supermarket, which is also the only moment that we expose ourselves to potential infection. In any case, this situation will persist until May 11.
A stressful first week
In the first week I had quite a hard time with this Corona crisis. I felt uncomfortable and experienced some stress. I was not so much afraid of the Corona virus itself, but mainly concerned about the profound consequences that this lock down could have in the long term. Jessica could handle things better. She accepted the situation easier and lived, as she always does, more in the present. The second week I felt a lot better already and luckily we have managed to keep that positive feeling. The weather has been amazing most of the time, which definately helped a lot!
As in many other countries, our kids have been home since mid-March. Last 2 weeks they were having holidays, but for the rest of the weeks we have been home schooling them. Jessica was able to pick up her old profession as a teacher, although it's a different job to teach your own kids in their own house. Fortunately, the pressure from school is not that high and the amount of homework is easy to manage. The kids enjoy being at home, having the attention and presence of mom and dad full time. Sven (6 years): "I hope Corona continues until I am 100yrs old, so I will never have to go to school again."
A more simple life, closer to nature
I must confess that Jess and me are pretty positive about the situation as well. Of course we miss our social contacts and we feel confined at home, not being able to move around (in the mountains). But we try to appreciate and make the most of this unique situation being together as a family for such a long time and without any distractions. We don't have to do anything, we are outside most of the time, we exercise a lot and we try to live in the moment. We realize that we are in a luxurious situation though. With luxury, I mean not money wise, but in the sense of well-being. This obligatory break provides room for reflection and gives many eye-openers and insights. It also confirms our choice we made years ago to start living in the mountains to lead a more simple life, closer to nature.
Positive or negative approach
While we are able to approach the positive sides of this crisis, we are aware that the opposite is true for many other people. We empathize with the elderly in nursing homes, the stressful existence of social workers, people who live in busy cities not even having a balcony, everyone who is personally involved with illness and death and the many people who might lose their job or company as a result of this crisis. If you find yourself in one of these situations or if you suffer in any other way from the consequences of the crisis, we would like to wish you all the strength to get through it!
Deconfinement from May 11
From a financial point of view, there is no reason to stress for us yet. Loss of turnover is currently being compensated by the state. We are lucky that this crisis is happening during our inter-season, which is usually a quiete time anyway. Normally our activities start again from the end of May. But the big question is when, how and even if tourism will restart at all this summer...
From May 11, the deconfinement will start in France:
- We will be allowed to move freely again at a maximum of 100 km from our house
- We will be able to practice mountain activities again (but not yet professional as a guide)
- There will be a regional distinction between green and red (risk) areas
- People can come together in groups of up to 10 people
- Shops will be allowed to open again
- Schools are reopening, with a lot of restrictions though
- There is a 1m distance rule
How will our summer look like?
With regard to our AlpAdventures trips, Arno's guide activities and Jessica's cooking work, the situation is still not clear. It is expected that first the French will be able to go on holiday in their own country, followed by foreign tourists from Schengen countries and then (hopefully) the rest of the world. This means that since Brexit, the British will be the lasts, which is bad news for many tourist entrepreneurs in the Haute Savoie. For the time being, it seems that there will be still quite a few restrictions until June and possibly over the whole summer. News about the opening of campsites and mountain huts is not yet available.
We have decided to:
- Postpone al trips we planned this spring, to late summer and automn
- Run our planned trips from July if possible
- Make a plan how we can execute our AlpAdventures trips, Arno's guiding work and Jessica's cooking activities, taking into account the prevailing corona regulations
We wish you strength, a good health and a positive vibe to get through this bizar period of life and hope to see you back in the mountains as soon as possible?!
Arno & Jessica