What happens when a full-time travel couple gets stuck in Thailand due to Coronavirus and is unable to go back home in the States? Meet Annette and Daniel who have started fostering 10 adorable pups in a house near a creek during their stranded adventure. By Japleen Kaur

1. How did you guys get stranded and how is the lockdown treating you?

 

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In early March, our trip to the USA was cancelled, leaving us stranded in the Philippines. Although we had plans to go on a tour through Thailand, that was also cancelled just three days before the actual trip. It was at this time when Natasha, a friend of ours who runs an animal rescue, asked whether we would be willing to take care of 10 dogs during the pandemic in Koh Chang. So now, we live in a beautiful house in the Thai jungle. We have a river in the backyard where our pups play, and we have incredible internet connectivity, which gives us the freedom to get our work done!

2. Tell us about the lockdown situation there.

 

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We are very fortunate. There hasn’t been even a single case of the virus in our province. Although a lot of businesses are closed, the island feels very free. The beach is beautiful and completely empty, and there are waterfalls all over Koh Chang to explore. Social distancing is in place, but since the island is empty, it’s not hard to do.

3. How and why did you start travelling?

 

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After battling depression in 2017, I realised I wasn’t happy with the life I was living. I had a job that didn’t make me content from within, and I was busting my tail for someone else’s dreams, in turn wasting years of my own life. During this time, we were watching a lot of awesome travel vloggers living their dream life. That’s when it hit us – we could just sell everything and start travelling the world on a budget. This was the day after our wedding! The very next day, we started selling our stuff, including all our wedding presents.

4. How are you spending your time in Thailand?

 

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We love and play with our pups throughout the day, walk them through the creek in our backyard, and work online for the remaining hours of the day. Daniel spends the majority of the day editing our YouTube videos and scheduling them, while I’ve used this time to start a line of travel face masks. I’ve always dreamt of having a boutique specifically tailored to travel lovers, and the pandemic has given me the downtime to create it.

5. Top three tips for couples who want to follow your footsteps?

 

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People should focus on making money online first, and then go on trips. It will be less stressful to get on the road with a way of sustaining this adventure in the long-run. We have tons of free resources on our website and have created a freebie just for Travel + Leisure India readers.

Use this stay-at-home time to level up your skills online for free. We cover tons of such free resources in our Find Remote Work workshops. Finding a stable source of income online while you have the time will be easier than when you’re bouncing around from country to country.

Start selling your stuff! I know it sounds crazy to do this as one of the first steps, but it takes more time than you would think. Not only will selling your stuff pad your travel funds but the sooner you start, the less you’ll have to give away later.

6. How do you think the travel scene will change post-Corona?

 

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Travellers are going to have to ensure they don’t forget their travel masks before making it to the airport and getting over-charged for one. Also, travellers will have to arrive at the airport earlier! With social distancing protocols, queues will take much longer than before. Airports might even open check-in earlier to make time for all the new procedures.

7. How are you sustaining yourself now that travel is on hold?

 

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I’ve become an online ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher, and it has worked out marvellously. It allows me to make money during this difficult time while giving Daniel time to focus on creating our YouTube content. Our Chase for Adventure Shop, which sells travel face masks in cool travel designs, has also been pretty successful.

8. Tell us about your favourite Indian city.

Kolkata was my favourite place in India! We met so many sweet, and wonderful people during our time there. It felt like home. Since it was also the first Indian city we visited, it opened our hearts and minds to the Indian culture. Also, the food in Kolkata is top-notch! We ate incredible meals like chole bhature, paani puri, and my favourite – kathi rolls! We absolutely loved that we could get chai every 10 meters.

9. Where will you travel to once travel restrictions are lifted?

 

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Daniel and I would love to visit Europe post-COVID-19, or maybe even go back to India! Our original plan was to move to Goa for a bit and explore the rest of the country, but I guess we will just have to wait for what the world has in store!

10.  Top three adventures which left you spellbound?

 

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Attending a stranger’s wedding at the Rambagh Palace, Jaipur in India. We received a message from one of our Instagram followers in India inviting us to his sister’s wedding. At first, we were sceptical as he had no profile picture and his account was private. So, Daniel and I asked a few questions, got a good gut feeling, and finally agreed. What proceeded was an incredible two-day event that included my husband playing camel polo, us staying at the Jai Mahal Palace, and watching Guru Randhawa perform at the sangeet ceremony.

 

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The second was the time when we got stuck in a mudslide in a remote mountain village in Vietnam. Out of all of our adventures, the Ha Giang Loop gave us the most near-death experiences. We got stuck in a mudslide in a mountain village nestled at the China-Vietnam border. We had to evacuate in the middle of pouring rain and flooded water to escape safely.

 

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The third incident was a time when we drove through an elephant safari in Sri Lanka. On our way from Ella to Mirissa, we decided to take a detour to see some elephants. We chose to head towards a place recommended by backpackers. As we were driving through the plains, a giant elephant emerged from the trees. Daniel and I got off the bike and got closer to the elephant. Just as we pulled up, a bus stopped near the elephant. The passengers of this bus wanted to feed the giant some bananas. The elephant stuck its entire truck inside the bus, and shook the vehicle back and forth! At that moment, I felt so vulnerable to the power of nature but also realised how strong and beautiful it can be.

Related: Wanderbugs Anunay Sood & Brinda Sharma Tell Us Why They Love Travelling