By: Michael Youngblood, Co-Founder, Unsettled.
We have been following Coronavirus (COVID-19) since its early days. We have alumni all over the world, including in China, who have been affected by it. We also have team members traveling around the world constantly. As a result, this is hitting our business, community and most importantly, it’s affecting people we love and care about. Nonetheless, we have assessed this dynamic situation and wanted to share what we have learned so far. Anyone reading this should realize two things: First, the information on COVID-19 is extremely dynamic and our writing here could be out of date in a matter of days. Second, this information is only provided to share what we have learned. Anyone traveling to Bali (or any international travel) should do his or her own research (ideally from health care professionals) and stay informed. Here are a few things we have learned:
At Unsettled, we make every effort to get information from the U.S. and E.U. CDC, as well as the International Red Cross, the World Health Organization, and (for us), the U.S. State Department pertaining to travel. As a company, we have also consulted with emergency management professionals to advise on best practices on our retreats. We urge anyone who is concerned to read and follow the information put out by these organizations and other medical leaders, and rely on it more than one relies on the media, friends, peers, social media, and even blog posts like this one!
Following the information and guidelines from these organizations, we are running our operations normally, with a heightened state of mindfulness around our health practices. We are encouraging participants and alumni, whether they travel with us or on their own, to practice health practices as one should during any flu season (this is precisely the recommendation from the U.S. CDC). Washing your hands (in Team No Pants style, “front, back, and in the cracks” ;)) throughout the day for at least 20 seconds, is one of the most effective means to prevention. If you do not feel well, seek medical advice per your symptoms early and often and follow the physician’s medical advice.
Make sure you have good travel insurance and understand your policy. Remember that you are required to have travel insurance to travel with Unsettled. This has always been the case, and now is not the time to opt-out. Even if you are not traveling with Unsettled, now is not the time to skip travel insurance. Why? In the case of Bali, depending on where you are from, health care is probably not going to be as good in Bali compared to what you’re used to back home. The hospitals in Bali are not set up like hospitals in the major cities of South East Asia. So if you did become symptomatic or infected, the medical bills might pile up if you have to be air transferred to seek treatment. A good travel insurance policy covers medical evacuations. Get it. Read your policy and know what is covered. We recommend that you look for reimbursement insurance in case you opt-out from travel or your flight gets canceled. Understand the terms and conditions at Unsettled, for your flights, hotels, or the T&Cs of whoever your travel provider is.
All-in-all, life in Bali right now is fabulous. Our Unsettled retreat in February is finishing up and they had adventures from the beaches to the mountains. If anything, everyone seems to be enjoying the small crowds and so far, wondering what the fuss is about.
That being said, we continue to follow the situation on the ground and encourage you to do so as well. All of our Unsettled retreats are continuing to run as planned. International travel continues to be safe in 99% of the world, except for a few regions, and we are super excited about our upcoming trips across the globe. We want our community to have good and accurate information on what is occurring internationally. We will be sharing specific information like this as the very dynamic situation develops and continues to evolve. If and when things change, we will be in touch with our community members who are currently, or soon will be, living Unsettled on our trips.
If you are unable to travel right now, Unsettled is offering our 100% online Virtual Retreat that has a global community of participants who are working together for 30 days to each answer the question, “What’s next for me?”.