The pandemic has had a devastating effect on the tourism industry around the world and digital nomads have been particularly affected by the events. In an instant, people living on the road had to find shelter and morph into a sedentary lifestyle. In my case, I chose to spend these hard times in my favorite country, even though it was one of the hardest hit by the virus. To keep my moral high, I needed to be near the ocean, connect with nature and surf my days away while waiting for the world to fix itself. What else could I do? I was asked to stay home… Might as well isolate in the ocean on a surfboard riding the waves!
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Stuck in South America with borders closed
Living on the road during Covid was definitely challenging. Many digital nomads chose to go back home. Others like me decided to stick to a particular country and in my case, I was lucky enough to enter Brazil before they closed the borders to foreigners. I was actually stuck in Valparaiso in Chile when my flight to Argentina was cancelled with closed border all over the continent, making it on a last minute flight to Rio. That was the best decision for me as Rio has always been a second home ever since I first arrived to the country in 2006.
The city was pleasant as usual but definitely different. It felt a bit like a ghost town as quarentine was kicking in. Even though authorities haven’t been very strict about it, it could still be felt strongly and lifestyle was quiet unusual, somehow solitary. After two months in the city and the pandemic only worsening in Brazil, I decided to self isolate in a small town in North-Eastern Brazil where I could let time pass by while dedicating my days to one of my lifetime passion: surfing.
This time, kitesurfing to be precise.
There wasn’t much more I could do, other than to let time pass by and wait for the world to fix itself. And while staying at home sounded like a death sentence for my moral, isolating while Surfing on the ocean every day sounded like the perfect way to go through these hard times.
Kitesurfing in Cumbuco, Ceara
My passion for kitesurfing started all the way back in 2011 when I spent one month in Margarita Island in Venezuela to dedicate time to the sport. I was hooked instantly, specially with all the freedom it provided to enjoy a full ocean of space to surf compared to being constrained to just a few waves with regular surfing. It made so much more sense to me. But depending on a windy place was the drawback and living in one of these places for a while was quite hard for a nomad like me which was used to change location every few weeks. Hence, I didn’t get to Kitesurf much for the last years and was craving for the opportunity to get to it again. And now was the perfect time!
So being constrained to stay in one place while world borders were closed was the perfect occasion to dedicate to the sport! I proceeded to purchase a flight to Fortaleza, and made my way to Cumbuco, a small fishing village recently converted in a kitesurfing Mecca in the world.
I got myself a nice little apartment straight on the beach where I can hear the waves crash at night from my bed, got myself a full equipement to Kitesurf, and waited for the wind to come.
Soon after, the wind came. In fact, even being in preseason here in Ceará, it winds pretty much every day! And then came the surf. I kitesurfed pretty much every day since I arrived.
Life routine in Ceará during Covid
The state of Ceará was the third hardest hit state of the pandemic. So my choice to come here definitely wasn’t based on security, considering I decided to stay and live the pandemic in the second most hit country of the world. But morally, it was probably the best choice.
My days in the northeast mostly consist of waking up at sunrise, assist the beautiful sun walking up over the ocean while swimming and training in a deserted beach at 5:30 am, and then catch some breakfast.
Work follows. armed with a good internet connection, I can pretty much do everything I am used to do in normal times. I then catch some lunch before the trade winds start to pick up around noon, grab my surfboard and kite and head to the beach to surf my afternoon away.
I then come back home before nightfall and make sure I can catch the amazing sunset on offer, one of the best I have seen around the world.
Kitesurfers will undeniably agree: kitesurfing is drug. It sedates you into a sort of meditational state, connecting you with nature and vibes you through the ocean. It is one of the most unique feeling one can have, only comparable to sex; A Pretty radical statement, but true.
Living in paradise!
Being so close to the equator, only about 200km away, conditions are amazingly consistent here! Sunrise is always at 5:35, sunset always at 17:35, the whole year! This makes the use of an alarmed clock useless. Just waking up with the sunrise is enough, going to sleep when tired.
The weather is also incredibly consistent! Its always between 28 and 31 degrees Celsius! Never too hot, never too cold. The water? A nice refreshing 28 degrees year round. I can’t recall better conditions anywhere else in the world.
And the wind? Consistent 10 to 20 knots in the afternoon the whole year, with stronger winds during high season from september to December. The kitesurfing dream!
The Ocean and Kitesurf were my saviors
2020 has surely been devastating for most of us. Some friends of mine are still stuck in mandatory stay-at-home orders as I write these lines, destroying their routines and lifestyle and morally terrifying. Saving lives is crucial, and getting past this pandemic is the most important, but we must agree this will have a traumatizing effect for everybody that has been through it.
For me, there is not much more I can do than to wait and surf the time away. The country is still banned from international travel from most countries as the daily death rate in Brazil is still leading worldwide. But in my current situation, I cannot complain. With the ocean always there for me, and kitesurf as a tool to fully connect me to it, I am in heaven.
Untill then, I will continue to live my pandemic in Paradise…
A few selected pictures
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Thanks for the update I was wondering how you were making out, and in which country you chose to quarantine in. Take care, I enjoy reading your posts.
My daughters and I met you on the MSC Davina back in late December 2018.
Hey! All is doing well over here 🙂 nice to hear from you