1 Woman 2 Countries, 3 Cities: A Travel Journey During the Pandemic

On the latest episode of Have You Heard This? I interviewed Marly Zapata, 34 a Digital Nomad who moved from Medellin, Columbia to the United States at a young age and is no stranger to traveling. Zapata would frequently travel from Ft. Lauderdale, FL to Medellin, Columbia, and Ventura County, CA throughout the years, however, in 2020 as states slowly closed non-essential businesses and airlines suffered making traveling a more different and difficult experience.

Zapata details her experience while living in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida while most of her family were still in Camarillo, CA decided to go be with her family during that time. 

Photo by Ekaterina Belinskaya on Pexels.com

“We got the news in March that Covid was in the states now and things were going to shut down in two weeks, so my first instinct was I need come home.” 

However, being home was nothing like she expected when she returned home in March of 2020 Gov. Galvin Newsom had issued a Stay at Home order for California after receiving projection that 56% of the state could have gotten Covid-19 if the state remained open.  

 “There [were] people monitoring if you were sick. If you were coughing, and I cough a lot because I have asthma… I wasn’t allowed to go inside Vons.”  

There was also a military presence throughout as well that Zapata captured in Oxnard, CA. 

Military vehicles through the city of Oxnard, CA photo curtsey of Marly Zapata
Military Tanks that were throughout Oxnard, CA photo curtesy of Marly Zapata

Zapata describes working in her small office “I worked in a tight space with four people…there were no masks in our tight space and there’s no windows in our tight space.” Her employer became so relaxed that they hosted a Halloween party. Zapata stated because of that party many of her co-workers tested positive for Covid-19 as a result. 

Ft. Lauderdale was a different experience for Zapata when she had returned in September of 2020 as employees who worked from home were encouraged to come work instead of working from home there no enforced mask mandates or restrictions as these were lifted in by Gov. Ron DeSantis that same month as reported by NPR.

“Because of Covid you definitely saw a decline in the cite and how serious they took it”

-Marly Zapata

November 1, 2020, she was able to travel to Medellin, Columbia for the holidays. “Because of Covid you definitely saw a decline in the city and you saw how serious they took it. Zapata stated that the citizens had to be home by 8:00pm, no exceptions or they will get $300 or one million pesos.

“You can equal that to three people’s rent out there,” Zapata stated.

As the holiday’s arrived citizens became for defiant and the president decided to enforce a lockdown every weekend from Friday to Sunday because of celebrations such as the Twelve Days of the Virgin people wanted to celebrate and be with their families

Being fortunate to have a career where she can work anywhere Zapata is now back in Ventura County, CA with her family. To hear more of her story listen to the latest episode of Have You Heard This?

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