Week 1: Covid-19 Lockdown Notes

In Living Abroad by Carly7 Comments

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What else can we do, but write, read and hope? To be here, try now all the things we ‘never had time for before’.

I’ve found myself swinging between ‘this is amazing the world needed a reason to slow down, and this is it!’ and despair at the fact that all the plans, all the big ideas I had for this lil travel blog and my business have been essentially shot to shit in the last week.

So maybe, in the meantime, we can return to what blogging used to be – or can be, on its best days. A way to connect, to comment (remember those??!!) on each others writing, to share the basic things that are getting us through.

For now, as ever, writing my way out seems the best way to stay grounded, to acknowledge the strange moment we’re in, and hopefully be able to look back on it, in wonder that we got through.

What life is like in Austria during Lockdown

First of all, we’re fine.

Like really, really, super-privileged-to-be-in-this-country-and-economic-position fine.

The sun is shining, the supermarkets are staying open, we managed to dredge up the coffee machine from the basement, life is really fine. As two self-employed business owners who work remote or from home anyway, the biggest change has been negotiating custody over the spare room desk.

So really, on the world scale, fine.

View over Belvedere Gardens
Just less of this kind of activity happening right now.

Because Stefan is immuno compromised from his chronic eczema and a lifetime of taking cortisol, we do have to be a little more careful. Mostly that means I’ve been doing the food missions to Spar and vigorously washing my hands after everything.

We’ve stayed home, found a handful of new silly YouTube channels, and basically tried to treat this week like a normal work from home week.

Albeit with a few more calls home, a few more texts and Instagram messages to make sure friends are ok, and parents are at least trying to #staythefuckhome (spoiler: they’re not, I don’t know why the Australian Government and all my friends parents aren’t taking this seriously yet!)

The supermarkets for the most part have everything we need – in the first few days, the fruit & veggies would get cleaned out, or the bread within the first hour of opening, but now people seem to ‘get’ that food supplies will not disappear.

This level of panic quickly subsided after the initial rush from locals

The shelves of flour, pasta and pasta sauces are a little more bare than usual, and milk can sometimes sell out early, but realistically, everything comes back the next day, or can be found at the neighbouring small grocery store.

We’re very lucky to have a teeny-tiny balcony for our apartment, that gets the morning sun, so we can have the feeling of being outdoors, in the world, and take a slow morning coffee or breakfast there.

Things could be so much worse. We’re extremely privileged to have an apartment, and each other so we don’t go coco-bananas in isolation.

Initially Stefan wanted to flee to the Tyrol to ride out the isolation period, so we could be in the fresh air, surrounded by mountains and have more chance to move about and relax, but the risk to our family members there if either of us happened to be vectors, was too high.

So we’ve stayed put, and are slowly chipping away at the tidying of the apartment, the annoying jobs that never get done in the hustle bustle of normal everyday life.

What about Work?

The unavoidable fact of it is – no one is reading travel blogs right now, because no one can realistically travel for the forseeable future.

The grand plans I had to release the Slow Travel Digital Guide to Vienna, and launch itinerary planning services to help all you guys on your trips to Vienna have to be put on ice for now.

Being newly self-employed is stressy enough on its own, but with this level of uncertainty, it’s unnerving.

But, what else can we do but rally?

After freaking the f*ck out for a day, I realised that I’m not the only one in this scenario. There are people far worse off than I, and for that I can only be grateful and make sure I pass along as much as I can.

I’m thankfully in a primarily socialist country where support for unemployed people is possible. If my life goals for 2020 have been yanked, then I just need to dig in and get creative about income streams, like any business owner right now.

My thinking is, if travel is off the cards for the foreseeable future, what else can I offer to help people, particularly in this strange time for small businesses and founders?

What skills can I offer and utilise now, to be of use? I think I’ve landed on a way to at least leverage my experience in customer handling, building websites and coaching women in their careers – my true satisfying joy, consistently throughout my career – to be of service.

Because working for ‘the man’ is one thing, and I honed my skills there over a decade, but working to elevate other women and small business owners to make their lives easier? That sounds like pretty good shit to me.

So I’m launching carlyhulls.com tomorrow. Where all my business know-how, smart talking, ass kicking content and support services will be.

Like any new venture I’m super tentative and nervous what the reaction will be, but if therapy and 2020 have taught me anything so far, it’s that you have to be willing to f*ck up first, learn, and try again.

If you’re just starting a blog, or own a small business, or are leading a team and need a sparring partner and guidance, check it out, and maybe I can be of help in these challenging times.

Meanwhile, Stefan is working from home too so we are lucky enough to have income to keep a roof over our heads, food on the table and get through.

Good Reads & Distractions of the Week

Normally I send out my fortnightly letter to subscribers filled with good reads, interesting articles and recommendations from around the web.

(Psst if you just want some good book reccs, check out this article of my faves from the last year!)

With all of us home right now, I thought I’d expand that out to share with you all so we can try and stay sane and have some topics for discussion in the comments. Here’s what’s caught my attention this week.

Will the Millenial Aesthetic Ever End? ‘The millennial aesthetic, meanwhile, could take something disgusting and attempt — through sheer force of branding — to make it cute and fun.’

If you were starting to feel like every coffee-shop, AirBnB and co-working space you entered all looked somehow the same, you’re not wrong. This is a great takedown and deep dive into the pervasive elements of design in our era.

Some respite from Corona-mania, with this interview between writer Ann Patchett and Reese Witherspoon, who’s quietly, cheerily gone about revolutionising Hollywood, and being a working woman in Hollywood. . The Book of Reese.

A peek into another world – Things I never knew about Skiing until I was an instructor in Aspen.

YouTube find of the week: Max Fosh. Self proclaimed ‘feel-good and comforting content’, which gently pokes fun at posh people, hangs out at quirky events and is light entertainment in ten minute snippets. Easy watching to soothe your nerves a bit.

For silly, fun distracting books, I devoured Jessica Simpson’s memoir, which is FILLED with all the dishy dirt on being a pop star in the early 2000’s and raw honesty about her struggles with alcoholism and fame.

For women of a certain age, it is really a wake up call to how weird that whole teen-sexpot-superstar vibe was to grow up in, and we all just absorbed it. To give her credit, this memoir deals with everything honestly and engagingly. The perfect distraction!!

The following are Covid-19 adjacent, but with a slightly different, refreshing angle, that perhaps you’ll find reassuring, rather than anxiety inducing.

Consider this a heads up if you want to avoid the topic entirely!

Convincing Boomer Parents to take the Coronavirus seriously. Anyone else find themselves battling their folks to stay home from work, only to have vague answers and opinions batted off? Yeah, us too.

Coronavirus is Serious, but Panic is Optional. Margo Aaron always writes insightfully about copywriting, and this is a perfect salve and insight into the communication around the pandemic. Worth keeping in mind as we all consume way too much info at once!

Clickbaity headline aside, this is an interesting look at gender dynamics and how they’ll play out during the work-from-home isolation phase and long afterwards. The Coronavirus is a Disaster for Feminism.

Related to this a little too much – I grew up watching disaster movies. Here’s what I’ve learned. ‘Die Hard (like Twister) also shows that, while a big disaster might have its downsides, it is a terrific way to convince your ex-wife to give you another chance.’

For giggles, as always, the Oatmeal How to be Socially Distant.

How You Can Help, Now + Handy Resources

There is a lot of community spirit shining through in these strange days. Which is where I’m choosing to get my inspiration and ongoing motivation.

I hope it doesn’t wear us down, I hope it teaches us to be kinder, to respect our hard working Doctors, nurses, garbagemen, teachers, postal workers….

I hope and will work towards taking the lessons from this time.

In the meantime, here are some links to stay up to date in Vienna, and support some of my favourite local businesses who need help to stay afloat right now.

If you have the means, please do what you can, and if you don’t have the funds spare right now, simply sharing, commenting and liking posts can be valuable to small businesses too.

Metropole has rolling Covid-19 coverage in English for people wanting to stay updated with the latest Government developments and support packages.

This is a killer website, pulled together in a few days, listing all the Austrian businesses you can order online from and get products or services delivered instead of supporting major international corporations!! You can find any and all products here: https://nunukaller.com/

Mariana and the team from Pop Pilates Vienna are hosting online classes for as little as €5 and some free! You can check the schedule on their website. I took a class on Wednesday morning and it was great to stay connected with a small community and my butt has been feeling the burn for days!

Coffee addicts can still get your fix online from GOTA who are delivering in the local area. There are a bunch of indie coffee stores doing the same, so check your favourites in your area to keep them afloat!

My loves from Landkind have done a massive update and are now ‘Amazon for the Grätzl’ – delivering groceries and hot meals in the 15th district that’s all sustainably sourced. So you can support them and their farmer suppliers from the countryside by ordering online!

Supercycle are doing an INCREDIBLE job at pivoting their business, offering bike delivery to your apartment, and online classes. The bikes booked out in just a few hours! But keep your eyes peeled because I reckon they’ll have a solution for this too very soon….

They are just some of the incredible, creative solutions people are coming up with to get through these strange days. However I’m sure I’ve missed stuff so let me know in the comments what’s helping you get through this week.

Until next Sunday – stay safe, stay healthy, and of course #staythefuckhome.

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  1. I appreciate this! I look forward to my planned birthday visit to Vienna in October. Stay safe.

    1. Author

      Thanks Eve! Hopefully by October you’ll be able to celebrate properly and enjoy the best parts of Vienna.

  2. Hi Carly,
    Always look forward to reading your posts, full of interest from my favourite city. My wife and I had another wonderful trip to Vienna last northern autumn, going on to Melk / Durnstein in superb sunshine, pumpkins, apricots and sturm on sale everywhere. Then on the narrow-gauge train up to Mariazell where a sudden snowfall proved a bit of a challenge! Great trachten shops and also discovered Mariazeller Magenlikor which can even be added to prosecco to make up an interesting spritz. Fab views travelling south on the other side of the mountains when we were on the Postbus down to Bruck. Super-civilised Graz and the train over the Semmering back to Vienna completed a great week-long short break. All highly recommended when travelling restrictions are relaxed! Meantime, hope you & Stefan remain well – and all the very best for your Carlyhulls.com venture. Kind regards from Mark, Auckland NZ

    1. Author

      Mark that sounds like a dream trip! Mariazell is a little treasure that I haven’t yet written about but so so gorgeous – thank you so much for the lovely wishes, fingers crossed we can all be back to travelling and enjoying Austria soon enough.

  3. Looks exactly like my local Spar not far from Velobis:) Stay safe! P.s. I seriously miss Gota coffee..

    1. Author

      omg I miss my Gota coffee too! They’re delivering beans and grinds though 😉

  4. ‘Glad to hear that you & Stefan are well Carly.

    I’m so thankful that I live in Germany. My day job is as a training manager for an IT / Engineering company so I’m able to continue my sessions virtually, and I’m very grateful for that.

    However, looking at my original home country of England where my family is, worries me so much. My sister-in-law is a midwife and doing a marvellous job in very challenging conditions.

    Thank goodness, my brother (her husband) can take over, and look after their children during this time.

    Grüße von meinem Mann – Frank.

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