Dear Yuri,

Based in Dakar, Senegal, I travel frequently for work, and to visit family/friends in the UK. With the world on lockdown, not only do I not leave the city, but I stay home to “do my bit”, whilst acknowledging that privilege.

It’s been years since I’ve moved around so little. My husband and I both travel often – sometimes like ships in the night. An adventurer and daughter of geography teachers, travel has always been my passion.

As I sit on the sofa in the apartment I share with my Senegalese husband, listening to birds and sounds from the neighbouring building site (that of course drives one mad), I can’t help thinking that I had been prepared for this.

I’ve been trying to slow down, be more present, and “stress less” for years.

Why? In 2018, following a serious ankle injury, I developed a rare neurological disorder, CRPS. I was forced to stay home for over 6 months, with my pain (and my dear family) alone to comfort me. I now live with chronic pain. Through this and PTSD from a previous trauma, I have been slowly building up my capacity to trust the process, live with uncertainty, grieve the loss of my “jetsetter” lifestyle, whilst developing resources for home self-care, including meditation and yoga.

I am not there yet. My healing journey continues. That said, I have been lucky enough to work remotely due to my condition, but also now in lockdown. Others are not so lucky. Although it frightens me that we will never return to “normal”, if this means more accessible jobs/study opportunities, more empathy for those forced to stay home, a greater sense of community and helping others, and more appreciation for what we have, maybe a new “normal” is exactly what we needed.

Abbie, Dakar, Senegal