I think I've said twenty times how this project has been my dream for five years or more. I think I've said twenty times how I've battled roadblock after roadblock and that I was going to persevere with this adventure of mine, no matter what. And the universe has thrown some WILD things my way. (More on that in the next blog).
One thing that I did not expect, and could not have expected, was a global health scare of this magnitude, which, regardless of just how serious it actually may be, has completely incapacitated not only our nation but our world. It's hard to discern fact from fiction in the case of the so-called Coronavirus. It's new, so there's all kinds of information out there about it, and not all of it is true, so some people are panicking and some are probably way less concerned than they should be. But here we are.
I won't make this a biology lesson or a lecture on not hoarding things when people ACTUALLY need them, but I do want to make a statement on behalf of my project as far as my preparedness is concerned and my plan of action going forward in light of this new "roadblock".
In my life in general, I take hand-washing and sanitizing very seriously, so please know that Coronavirus or not, if you've shaken my hand or been in my vicinity, you can rest easy. I have wipes to clean my equipment, wipes to clean my hands, extra soap, and any time I encounter the opportunity to wash up or sanitize, I am doing so. As some of my most recent interviewees have experienced, I am no longer shaking hands and I will be keeping my distance during our time together. This is no offense to you, nor is it any indication that I am unwell, but let's face it, I am traveling a lot and meeting new people a lot, and I want to take every possible precaution to not spread any germs unwittingly. I will not give up my dream because of this growing situation, but I will be even more diligent and conscientious to help protect myself and all of you.
That being said, if you are coming to be interviewed, please be sure you are well. If you have been exposed to any illness in the past few weeks, please stay home. I am working on alternate ways to conduct interviews for those of you who can't make it for whatever reason, but I would absolutely rather you be safe and smart and keep your germs (or potential germs) at home. When you come to be interviewed, please be sure your hands are clean and I will be sure mine are as well (and the equipment and the table tops and chairs either of us might encounter).
I will continue to monitor the situation every day and if I feel that it is truly no longer safe or reasonable to do interviews or to travel, I will have to postpone or cancel the rest of this trip. At this time, I don't believe that is the case, but as I said above, I'd rather be safe than sorry.
To anyone who has been (or will be) affected by this, my heart is with you. Whether you are displaced from your college campus, out of work, stuck at home, or worst of all- ill, please let me know what I can do to be of help. We are truly a nation of fighters, this is something that has been proven to me time and again, especially in my recent interviews, so I know that we will come through this if we all work together to stay clean and healthy and we listen to the CDC.
Thank you all, as always, for your unwavering support of me and this project. I will try to write a blog post in the next few days talking about my travels so far. It's been an incredible experience, with lots of highs and lows, and I want to share it all with you very soon. Until then, take care of yourselves! And see you soon on the road. <3