How are you spending your quarantine?

Getting to China these days takes a lot of patience, organization, and a bit of luck.  No one knows how long this pandemic will continue to complicate arrival to China, and one component after you get through all the visa paperwork is quarantine.  In some cities quarantine in a hotel is 14 days, and in others it’s 21 days.  During those weeks you have food and water delivered, you have to have regular temperature checks, and otherwise, you’re just in your hotel room.  I spoke with a number of people about their experience and found that the experience was overall really good.  I expected to hear tales of boredom and complaints about food but no one said any of those things.


“I think I’m going to miss quarantine” a colleague of mine told me during a zoom meeting.  Thinking he was joking I responded “I bet” and laughed, only to have him elaborate that there was some peace in the time alone, not having to think about food, having the most important thing – strong wifi.  He stated that the food was good, he had time to read, and found the whole experience relaxing.  Other strange reports kept coming out of people in quarantine.  My boss for example, kept clocking between 15,000 and 20,000 steps from his hotel room.  How on earth anyone can have that kind of dedication is beyond me, but he found it relaxing.  A new teacher that arrived said he love the opportunity to meditate every day for an hour.  Maybe quarantine is what we all need from time to time?


Just as the pandemic forced us all to dial back our travel and social engagements, quarantine seems to be a small way to take time to reflect, relax, and even get in all your steps if you have that kind of motivation.  Of course not everyone compares it to a spa retreat, but I didn’t speak to anyone who had a bad experience.   Here are some tips I learned from everyone who went through the experience:

  1. Plan to exercise – whether that means packing a yoga mat, downloading some HIIT videos, or just figuring our a routine like running in place, you’ll feel better if you spend a little time every day making sure your body gets some exercise.
  2. Pack snacks – you’ll have three meals a day from the hotel, but sometimes it’s nice to have your favorite snacks – whether healthy or just for comfort.
  3. Plan not to do laundry for a while – one aspect of spending all that time in a hotel that hadn’t occurred to me is the obvious – you won’t be able to do laundry.  Additionally, unless you already have an apartment in China to go to after the hotel, you’ll have at least another week in a different hotel while you apartment hunt.  This means you’ll need to either have a lot of clean clothes to go through, or you should pack some travel laundry detergent.
  4. Bring books – or magazines, or a journal, or better yet all three.  I don’t think this needs much elaboration, but you’ll be grateful if you spend time doing stuff that isn’t just binge watching whatever shows you downloaded.
  5. Bring something to binge watch – I know I just said to not rely on this – and that is totally true – but enjoy the time.

So don’t worry – before you know it, you’ll be out of the hotel and exploring your new country, so enjoy the time on your own.  Have any questions?  Ask us!