Greetings from the future!!! (learn from the virus outbreak in Hong Kong)
Day 2,346 since October 10th 2013: 194 countries out of 203. No flight, no return home and min 24 hrs in each country
(The opinions expressed on this site are my own, and do not reflect the position or policies of the Danish Red Cross).
The sun rises in the east
The western world is now experiencing what Hong Kong had to go through a month ago. So here are a few pointers for those of you who didn’t pay attention back then. (Spoiler alert: we are going to be fine, sort of…)
The Chinese New Year began on January 25th 2020. We entered the year of the metal rat which was said to be a year of new beginnings. New opportunities for finding true love and earning more money. We still have much to come so don’t rule anything out just yet. I have personally seen three rats this year. One was running along a wall and I have spotted two on rooftops. After the Chinese New Year schools did not open up again and many were either forced or chose to work from home. Social media filled up with all sorts of stupid rumors. NO! Sauna will not kill the virus (but sauna is good for you). NO! Drinking industrial bleach won’t help (it will kill you). Rumors are best combatted by seeking out facts. I recommend the websites of WHO, The Red Cross Red Crescent and CDC. If you are feeling anxious, scared or helpless then that is perfectly normal. The media is bombarding us 24/7 and much of it is not helping. The best thing you can do for yourself is stay healthy. There is no cure for COVID-19 but we have all had a cold or the flu before and know what to do. Preventively you can ensure that you get enough sleep, eat right, drink enough water, exercise, stop smoking and all those things your doctor has always told you. I made a video for you which you can find here:
You can click HERE or on the image to see the video.
For a while here in Hong Kong people were stockpiling toilet paper as if it was gold! It was ridiculous! By midday all the toilet paper was gone from the shelves. But when the stores opened up again the next day and the shelves were magically full again!! Then people (just being people) hoarded more toilet paper and that repeated itself for a few days. It balanced out and that nonsense has long ago stopped in Hong Kong. I guess people forgot that we are living in 2020 and that the supply chain had not broken down. Should you really run out of toilet paper then here is a secret tip which is only known to four billion people across this planet…you can use water! Shhhhhh!! Don’t tell the others. In hindsight one must conclude that Hong Kong has done a really good job!! Public transportation never shut down and a lot of people continued taking the busses, trains and metros. Closing schools certainly helped contain the outbreak. Children are living petri dishes. The excessive use of surgical masks probably did nothing at all. Although I believe it added to remove a sense of helplessness. Wearing a surgical mask will not protect you from inhaling a virus. They were not made for that (see my video). However when everyone wears a mask then it constantly reminds people to take precautions and that collectively might have helped. Status quo in Hong Kong is that out of 7.5 million people just 130 have been infected and from that there have only been three deaths. Hong Kong is one of the densest places on earth so take that as a sign that this is a manageable pandemic. Our greatest weakness is probably that we are idiots! If we could stop being idiots for a little while then we would swiftly beat the outbreak.
As schools and workplaces remained closed here in Hong Kong a lot of people began to take to the outdoors. Trekking, running, fishing and many other outdoor activities became popular. Naturally family life was also intensified for a while but that wasn’t a blessing for everyone. A week in, a lot of people began suffering from cabin fever which I suspect was a big part of boosting the outdoor life. I have done extensive research on the virus outbreak and viruses in general. These days I find it important to remind everyone that I am not a health profession. I am merely a man who has spent a great deal of time getting wiser. I predict that YOU are likely going to be fine….however this pandemic is not going to slow down anytime soon and the global death toll will be of such a format that you will likely have someone within your circles who will suffer or even die. That is the reality which we must all be prepared for. Panicking is dumb but so is being careless. This is not a hoax and we are all going to have to deal with it. It is not a big deal in the big picture. We know a great deal about this virus and the pandemic is truly manageable. It is hard to imagine that this will not be over within a year. Most people will experience the virus as a mild cold and hopefully once someone has been infected they become immune and will never again take part in spreading it. Together we need to protect the elderly, healthcare workers and those with comorbidity. Young and youngish, healthy people will be just fine. So be brave, wise and care for other people. If your government gives you some directions then follow them and know that they are in place to protect someone somewhere. We are going to be fine. This is truly not a big deal and we will definitely overcome it. We are all in this together here on our pale blue dot spinning silently in space.
Cassie, the boys and I went to High Island reservoir and made this video which has been strangely successful. You can click HERE or on the image to see the video.
Last Friday was Cassie’s birthday. She turned 29…again. We had noodles as that is a Chinese birthday tradition. Long noodles symbolize longevity and some places they will serve the celebrant a single long noodle. My host family has now had yours truly as a house guest for more than forty days! I don’t know how they do it? Such generosity, openness, trust, care and kindness is what we need more of in this world. What a tribute to the Saga’s motto: a stranger is a friend you’ve never met before.
Happy birthday Cassie :)
I managed some insane Viking Hiking last weekend. Hong Kong is as I have mentioned before about 75% nature and there are some solid hiking trails to explore. My hosts (the Savagar’s) have a book of hiking trails around Sai Kung and the routes rate from 1-5 with five being the most difficult. So that was obviously the one I aimed for. I lost my way a few times but got back on track. There were some weird things out on the trails. I came across a suitcase with clothes spread out across the forest floor. However in a truly remote place? I didn’t meet any snakes but I did come across a large gecko and a few butterflies. Towards the end of the planned route I decided to improvise and added some serious distance to the hike landing on about 25 km (15mi). Here’s a video I made about the hike:
You can click HERE or on the image to see the video.
The Saga’s situation has not changed much. We are most definitely still stuck in Hong Kong. Hong Kong is however one of the safest places I can imagine being in. So hopefully that will work in our favor and open the situation up so that I can leave and the Saga can keep on keeping on. I had a phone meeting with Indy Nelson who has created four world records which are all unconfirmed. Nice guy who knows a lot about applying for Guinness World Records. So he has promised to help with some of the technicalities. I’ve also spoken to Lexie Alford (Lexie Limitless) who is the youngest to visit every country in the world. She is such an inspiring young woman! I’m hoping to meet up with her and Gunnar Garfors (first to visit every country twice) in the Maldives when it becomes the final country. However that will not be until 2021 at the earliest as things have developed. That is a heavy burden upon me and my twisted mind. However what can we do except keep on keeping on. I also had the chance to meet up with Svend from the Danish Travelers Club (DBK) again. He returned from Denmark and brought be ten cans of Danish “leverpostej”. It is a liver pate which you can spread on bread as a topping. We like it in Denmark. The canned version is not ideal however it is perfect for travel and also found within the Danish military field rations :) Good stuff! Thanks a lot Svend!
Just like being back in the army! ;) Thanks Svend!!
A really important meeting I had was with Bjorn Hojgaard who is the Chairman for Hong Kong Shipowner Association. The association has more than 600 ships so Bjorn is what I would call a solid contact! It turns out that he is also a really nice guy who enjoys hiking and grew up near my father’s home in the great kingdom of Denmark in the High North of Europe. We had a couple of teas and a day later we began looking into a ship which is leaving Hong Kong for Australia on April 2nd. I was hoping for something sooner but these days I’ll take what I can get. And the ship on the 2nd is not a sure thing. Now we first need to get the owner’s permission. I was introduced to Bjorn by Thomas whom I met at a dinner with Michael and Jin. That dinner invitation came after joining the YPO’s on a hike where I was invited to speak on the subject of persistence. I was invited to join the hike after I spoke at the Danish Seaman’s Church which was facilitated by the Danish Chamber of Commerce (DCC). And DCC knew about me because of Svend who brought me the Danish “leverpostej”. Do you see how all of this works?
Cute photo-bomber on Sharp Peak :)
That same evening I had the pleasure of meeting up with not just one but four captains who are today all commanding desks in Hong Kong. That came into play after Paramesh from Swire Shipping/CNCo introduced me to his friend Nitesh who was one of the captains. Nitesh decided to bring three of his friends along and together we had a fun evening somewhere on Hong Kong Island.
Really good company!! I would definately recommend hanging out with four captains :)
And then the days just kind of took each other one by one. It is now Friday again and I don’t have anything else to say. I am incredibly tired of this project. Not the projects values or what it means to people. But tired of being in it and being unable to bring it to an end. Someone on Instagram called it a “vanity project” which of course is hurtful. However there will always be people like that out there. I replied to him as follows: “I have met with and promoted the humanitarian work of the Red Cross Red Crescent across 189 countries. In turn this has brought the movement more volunteers, more donations and more visibility. In addition to that I have shown thousands of people a world behind the cameras. A world where a mothers love to her child is no less across any border. The Saga also inspires many people to chase their dreams and motivates them not to give up when it gets hard. It is such a vanity project”.
If you enjoyed this blog or think I am doing a good job then you can support here below. The Saga needs funding. Thank you :)
Mr. Torbjørn C. Pedersen (Thor) - living in the future.
"A stranger is a friend you've never met before"
Once Upon A Saga