As we tackle the Covid-19 Pandemic in 2020, I’m reminded that we are all in this together. During this series ‘In Isolation with’, I take a peek into the lives of wonderful humans across the globe to see what connects us all in isolation; what keeps us sane, what gives us hope and what we look forward to again post-Covid. As we socially distance physically, may we continue to uplift one another and connect more deeply in other ways.
Mariëtte du Toit-Helmbold is a tourism strategist and owner of Tourism and Marketing company called Destinate.
We live in Somerset West and are isolating together as a family with my husband Tony, Hannah (10), Leah (8) and our two dog kids, Dayna (a German Shephard who thinks her humans have gone crazy for not wanting to take her for her usual long walks) and a very cute Steffie called Ben, who still thinks he is a puppy and can sit on everyone’s laps. One thing this lockdown has reminded us of is just how incredibly privileged we are to have a home where we can be safe with space, enough to eat and lots of things to do. There are millions who are not as lucky as we. Its been good to chat to my kids about this and to see just how grateful and aware they are of what privilege means.
What does a typical day look like for you in isolation?
We have developed a little lockdown routine, which helps us stay sane and makes sure we all do our bit to make it easier for everyone. We don’t lie in too long but get an early start with breakfast together, some exercise, lots of playtime and as of tomorrow, we will be starting homeschooling. Pray for me! We also cook together, have game nights and I finally gave in to the girls’ plea to have their own YouTube channel, so we have had lots of fun shooting silly videos together about our life during lockdown. They are naturals! You can check out the link here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTXsfx7BvHI9nFVx6SIj2hg
3 things you’re thankful for today
Family, good health (despite living with a chronic disease) and having a comfortable, spacious home to isolate in.
1 thing you’ll do as soon as isolation is over.
Throw a big party with all my most precious people so that I can hug them to my heart and then hit the road on an epic road trip with my family.
1 thing you’ll NEVER do again once isolation is over
Take freedom of movement for granted.
2 places you’ll go to in South Africa (once it’s safe to move around social distancing style)
We had an Easter weekend planned in Stilbaai with a group of friends from University (we go away together with our families every year for Easter) and we’ve promised each other to take this trip as soon as things are safe again to travel. I asked my girls where they want to go and they would like to go to the President Hotel in Cape Town for a weekend. We stayed there a while ago and they loved exploring Cape Town from this fabulous family-friendly hotel in Bantry Bay.
2 places you’ve added to your global bucket list once flight bans are lifted and it’s safe to travel.
Japan has been on the top of my list forever and I would love to go as soon as I can. I have had to postpone a number of international campaigns and trips…so can’t wait to reschedule my all-women trip to Portugal.
Any favourite armchair travel books/movies that will help get you through?
I have been meaning to read “The Rings of Saturn” by WG Sebald and “The Haves and the Have Nots” by Branko Milanovic, but my all-time favourite has to be “The Art of Travel” by Alain de Botton.
2 tips for isolation survival?
Having some sense of routine and structure is important for the whole family. It has helped to keep us grounded and motivated. We talk openly about our feelings, allowing each other the freedom to feel what they are feeling and I stay off social media as much as possible. It is just too toxic at the moment and I have learnt the power of a strong and healthy mind. It is also crucial to keep moving and to make time for fun exercise, but also some down-time. There are some great online exercise classes for the whole family! Lastly, make sure you have some treats stocked up…or bake something delicious with your kids.
Any local small businesses you’d love to mention?
It is a really tough time for businesses, especially for small businesses. I shared a few practical tips on surviving COVID-19 here: Bizcommunity.com
There are many ways in which we can continue to support small businesses. Support local farmers and order your fresh produce direct from them rather from the big retailers. Many of them still deliver during the lockdown. I love Terramadre.
You can also book your post-Corona weekend away now already, asking for flexible dates. There are many people who would be so grateful and willing to accommodate you. I can’t wait to escape to Swellendam for a weekend with my kids, it is paradise for families.
The creative industry has been hard hit as has tourism. It is a great idea to buy a voucher or order something custom-made from a small jeweller to be delivered post-Corona. HelenSilverSmit makes beautiful jewellery from repurposed silver cutlery and brass. Take a look at Helen Silver Smit
At the time of publishing, South Africa was in a 21-day lockdown due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.