Last week, we were still sure that we would stay in Georgia, but things have changed so rapidly… First, we have to tell you that we are still doing good and are still feeling safe here in Georgia. However, the thought of going home crosses our minds pretty much every day. This has everything to do with all the information we get through different channels.
Every day, we see pictures of other overlanders/travellers who have returned to their home country. They are all very sad to pause travelling, but they are really happy to be home too. All of them have different reasons to go back home, but they all thought it was the best thing to do in the situation they were in. By now, it seems like there are still only a few overlanders on the road and we are among them. Should we have left when all of this started?
Besides seeing all these travellers go home, we get e-mails from our government almost every other day. They provide us with the latest information about the situation in Georgia and tell us about the last possibilities to come ‘home.’ We got our first e-mail about the ‘last flight’ home last Friday night; the flight would leave on Saturday morning, so we would have never been able to get on. After that, we got another e-mail saying that there would be two more flights leaving Tbilisi, but both of these flights were leaving when we were still in quarantine in Gudauri. Now, there is another option: Georgian airlines is flying to Amsterdam one last time to pick up Georgian citizens. We could get a ticket to come along. It will leave in 5 days and this might be our last chance to go home… again(?).
Here are some thoughts we would like to share with you, if we do decide to go back to the Netherlands (we wanted to type ‘home’, but right now, ‘home is where we park it’ and that means Tbilisi, Georgia):
- Getting on this flight would mean that we probably can’t take Sparta: he got his Rabies shot, but we would need proof that he doesn’t have Rabies. This is done with a test, but we believe that this can’t be done in a couple of days.
- It would also mean that we would leave our house behind. We would have to find a safe place to park it, which might be doable with the help of the Embassy, but it doesn’t feel great. When would we be back? Will it still be ok then? How do we handle the export of our car (our car can’t stay in Georgia much longer)?
- Flying ‘home’ means that we would probably have to go into quarantine for two weeks, by ourselves without seeing any of our friends and family. After these two weeks, where will we go? We think (and hope) that some of you will offer to come and stay with you, but no0o one knows how long this situation will last. And again, we won’t be visiting anyone else till corona settles down.
- What about our health insurance? We are allowed to go back to the Netherlands only 3 weeks a year. That means that we have to go back to our old insurance, which (we’ve been told) is not easy.
- Last but not least, what would we do at our temporary home? We know a lot of our friends and family are a little bored because everything is closed and so will we, but besides that we don’t have a job to go to either. On the positive side: we would be close to friends and family and we would be in a country where we speak the language and where we understand the information we receive.
For now, we have decided to stay in Georgia. We were allowed to leave Gudauri last Tuesday, so we did. We walked up the beautiful mountains one more time. Tamara took her snowboard and did one final run. Then, we said our goodbyes and left Drunk Cherry, the restaurant where we stayed for a month.
At the moment, we are in an AirBnB in Tbilisi. It’s situated close to the old city and we still feel pretty safe. Yesterday, we went for a long walk in Rike park. It felt very nice to be able to walk outside again. We felt ‘free’ again, even with the Corona situation surrounding us. The streets were a bit empty, but for now it’s still no problem to go outside. A lot of people wear mouth covers, but they still walk in big groups. We’ve tried to keep our distance, but a lot of locals don’t seem to bother. When Nienke bought a bottle of wine, everything was disinfected: from her hands, to the bottle of wine and the money she gave to the vendor. People talk to us in a friendly way and we still feel welcome. We’ve heard many stories in which foreigners were called ‘Corona spreaders’ or were even chased away. Nothing of that has happened to us so far. Tonight, we will meet up with some other Dutchies who are stuck here as well. We will talk about the situation and who knows, maybe change our minds about staying again.
The Georgian government seems to be handling Corona pretty well. A lot of people are under quarantine. They make sure that people really stick to it by guarding them. Schools have been closed for weeks already, just like a lot of shops. So far ‘only’ 88 people have been infected and 0 died; we can only hope that these numbers are correct and that it doesn’t increase as much as it did in the other countries.
Things might get worse here too; maybe we will go in a total lockdown one day. With the help of a Facebook community we found ourselves a place to stay for as long as we want. So, we will stay here, for now…
We would love to hear your thoughts about our decision!