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Travel Professionals Who Live in Isolation for a Living Share Tips for Surviving Quarantine

These travelers work in some of the most remote places in the world. Here's how they survive.

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With stay-at-home orders put in place throughout the country, many people are starting to feel a bit claustrophobic and lonely. But some people live and work in isolated locations across the globe. How do they handle it for weeks and months at a time? Well, we tapped several travel professionals who do just that.

PONANT's Director of Sustainability, Nicolas Dubreuil, has spent more than 20 years on expeditions through the most isolated parts of the planet without any means of communication. And two andBeyond game reserve rangers, Damen Pheiffer and Josh Ven Der Ploeg, spend extended amounts of time tracking animals on foot in the bush. Here they reveal their top tips for surviving quarantine.

Overestimate Time in Isolation

Often, when you're stuck with a team in severe isolation, the first question that comes up is, "When does it stop? The first risk is to underestimate this period of confinement by giving optimistic dates.

"In general, and as a guide, I ask myself the question as serenely as possible, and I multiply the duration by two," said Dubreuil. "It's better to be pessimistic and disappoint at the beginning than to extend periods as you go along. It is important that the team members can manage their own projection over time. And if by chance the period is shorter, it will only be good news that will sweep away the bad news."

Set a Routine

"The most important thing is to have a schedule which you try to adhere to," said Ven Der Ploeg. "Have a plan or process for each day. If you have nothing to stick to, then the day can easily be wasted away doing nothing. So try and come up with a loosely timed schedule with work, relaxation, exercise, enjoyment, and doing nothing. Have a process that you stick too; that starts with a hot beverage first thing in the morning."

Work Out

It's important to keep moving even while at home. "Being given a personalized and challenging workout every day is motivating, and there are many body-weight workouts that you can do at home," said Pheiffer. One of his favorites is the "bring Sally up" push-up challenge. You play the song, and every time they say "bring Sally up," you push up, and when they say "bring Sally down," you dropdown. The objective is to make it through the whole song. You can do it with squats, pull-ups, or just about any exercise.

Take Care of Others

"If you are not alone, altruism is especially important for the survival of the group," said Dubreuil. "Thinking of others will distract you from the kind of self-centeredness that develops in confinement. Paying attention to others will be rewarding for you and for others. Take the time (since you have it) to honor, observe, and learn from your environment."

Take Time to Be Alone

While it might seem like the last thing you want to do, it's important to take time to be alone. "Though you may be confined to a house or apartment, you can still find a space to be alone in and take some time to yourself, giving yourself space from those around you," said Ven Der Ploeg. "Presumably, you are locked down with your loved ones—which is fantastic—but everyone needs a bit of personal space now and then."

He added, "It's also important to remember that we are on the go so much, it's sometimes beneficial to just remember what it feels like to be bored and have no deadlines and no pressure."


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