July 31, 2020
We’re here to guide you through the Coronavirus pandemic. Sign up to the Life newsletter for daily tips, advice, how-tos and escapism.
I Got The Last Flight To Zurich: We’re Brits Who Spent Lockdown Abroad
Most of us became more familiar with our homes than we ever hoped to be during lockdown. We stared at the same four walls for hours on end, dipping out only for a daily walk, or a trip to the supermarket. 
But for a handful of people, lockdown life meant something else: it meant spending an extended period of time away from their homes – more time, perhaps, than they ever expected. These people either got stuck abroad, or chose to escape the UK to find space, comfort or work elsewhere.
Three Brits who were in west Africa, Zurich, and Portugal between March and June spoke to HuffPost UK about their lockdown experiences.
Here are their stories. Related... 50 Small Pleasures We've Rediscovered During Lockdown ‘I ran around my room packing, without knowing how long I was going for’LauraBurns, 26“I made the decision to escape London – and the UK – on March 10 and get one of the last flights to Zurich, where my sister lives. It was before lockdown was announced, and before Switzerland closed its borders. I felt panicked and anxious as I packed, not knowing how long I’d be away for or when I’d return. 
“The flight was taking off too soon to book online, so I had to book over the phone. As I ran around my room packing, I contacted my line manager to check it was okay with the Job I started only the week previous. I booked a return flight for May 3, thinking I’d definitely cancel it and get an earlier one.I had a steaming hot shower and downed a shot of vodka upon arrival..Laura“When I landed, I definitely had doubts. My sister was pregnant, so we had to talk about the risks involved. I had a steaming hot shower and downed a shot of vodka when I got to her house – it probably wouldn’t have worked but it made us feel like we’d tried to kill anything I might have caught on the flight!
“I ended up spending 80 days living with my sister, my brother-in-law, my two dogs and my niece who was born mid-way through lockdown. I spent my days working from home in Zurich, my weekends lying in the sun or paddle boarding on Lake Zurich, and my evenings with my family. Lockdown lifted there before it did in London, so we were able to go to restaurants and spend time out and about, too. I came back to London the night before the quarantine rule for international arrivals came into play, landing at Heathrow on June 7.
“Before coronavirus, I’d planned to spend one week in Switzerland around the birth of my niece but thanks to lockdown I was there to spend quality time with her for her first six weeks in the big wide world, giving me experiences and memories I’ll never forget.”Related... 'An Abrupt End': How Shielders Feel About Restrictions Ending ‘As far as I know, I was the only Brit stranded in Benin’Adam Bradford, 27“Earlier this year, I was in Nigeria for work – I work with young entrepreneurs around the world to help them with their business ideas, and unlock funding. After a few months in Nigeria, I travelled over the border to Benin – a smaller nation in west Africa – in early March. Shortly after, lockdown struck.
“Flights were cancelled, airports started closing and the government issued guidance to stay at home. The situation was rapidly changing and, fearing being stuck in transit or getting ill, I decided the safest option was to wait it out there.
“When the UK government announced the list of countries it was repatriating citizens from, Benin wasn’t on the list – as far as I knew, I was the only Brit stranded in Benin. Being in lockdown there was a difficult but rewarding experience. I don’t speak the greatest French, so the language barrier was a hurdle! But the people were friendly and it was a good time to focus, work remotely and keep things moving. I learned a lot about how to adapt, how to survive in new environments.Adam“I worked hard, too! After seeing so many young people tackling coronavirus in unique ways, I launched a challenge, calling out to those aged 29 or younger working on coronavirus-related business ideas. 
“Our five winners were so impressive! Juliet Namujju from Uganda designed lipreading-friendly face masks from recycled plastic; Patrick Ssremba launched digital on-demand medical and dental services to support communities in Uganda; and Apoorv Shankar, from India, designed a device that allows people to open doors and press ATM buttons contact-free. 
“Being in Benin tested my resilience and my ability to cope without the normal methods of support. I learned how to adapt, survive in new environments and even how to work without the internet and proper connectivity, which was certainly new for me! And I came away with new Friends, increased confidence and a greater appreciation for everything we have in our day-to-day lives.”‘The most exciting thing for me was learning how to surf’Dima Vasilenco, 26“I live in London, but decided to go to Portugal during lockdown to cohabit with my girlfriend, but also for the freedom. The lockdown in Portugal wasn’t that severe – malls, bars and restaurants reopened on June 1.
“On May 8, I took a flight to Lisbon from Luton airport. That was my second attempt to fly to Portugal during lockdown. The first one – on April 18 flying from Heathrow with British Airlines – was unsuccessful. I couldn’t fly, as only citizens of Portugal and permanent residents were allowed. Before flying on May 8, I called the embassy of Portugal, the consulate and also the border control and all of them said it was okay for me to go.
“When I arrived, staying in Porto, I felt really safe. It took a bit of getting used to, though, after being in London. On the first day, I was trying to go in a shop but couldn’t because I didn’t have a mask. Masks are mandatory there and no one leaves the house without one. People were just more serious about quarantine and social distancing. In the UK, the rules are formally the same, but people don’t obey it as much – yet, in Portugal, it felt that people were more respectful to others – that’s why I felt so safe. 
“The most exciting thing for me was learning how to surf – definitely a moment in life when you can divide it to “before” and “after”. Generally, Portugal was all about being in nature, hiking, and enjoying the water – which was a huge contrast to spending at least an hour a day on the Tube in London!”READ MORE 'Sense Of Panic' As 1.8m Holidaymakers Faced With Spain Quarantine Rules UK Tourists Returning From Spain Set To Face Two Week Quarantine Here's What We Know About The New Spain Quarantine Rules
Related Stories
Latest News
Top news around the world
Coronavirus Disease

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

Around the World

Celebrity News

> Latest News in Media

Watch It
Cameron Diaz on Quitting Acting & Don't Call Her Daughter Pretty | Daily Pop | E! News
August 06, 2020
e2Hwc_oxGjc
Gwyneth Paltrow Tells Why 13-Year Marriage to Chris Martin Ended | Daily Pop | E! News
August 06, 2020
ht522hajo1M
Luke Bryan Talks New Album, Prank Wars & More | Daily Pop | E! News
August 06, 2020
yUfrNDKCQt8
Maya Vander teases drama on Season 3 of ‘Selling Sunset’ | Page Six Celebrity News
August 06, 2020
uEdNhptqBaE
We tried Rihanna’s Fenty Skin, and here’s our honest review | Page Six Celebrity News
August 06, 2020
yl7rcB5l_QY
Oprah labeled a ‘fraud’ for calling out ‘white privilege’ since she’s so rich | Page Six News
August 05, 2020
UkN27iMbFog
Hilary Duff Shows Off Toned Abs In New Bikini Pic | TMZ
August 06, 2020
FEw7wsFcrjQ
Post Office Battleground, Man Drops Homophobic Slurs in Face Mask Argument | TMZ
August 06, 2020
hN4vaXpkIU0
Rep. Jim Clyburn Says Gov't Preparing for Trump's Refusal to Leave White House | TMZ
August 05, 2020
VwVCjeLdFlo
Chris Meloni talks 'Maxxx' and His Return to 'Law and Order'
July 29, 2020
ZFTDB-dwyUA
'The Fugitive' Star Boyd Holbrook Shares Why He Left 'Narcos' After 2 Seasons
July 27, 2020
2kTuD8LTGCE
'The Kids Are All Right' Director Gives an Oral History on the Film on its 10-Year Anniversary
July 23, 2020
8LXA1-1hpCE
TV Schedule
Late Night Show
Watch the latest shows of U.S. top comedians

Sports

Latest sport results, news, videos, interviews and comments
Latest Events
01
Aug
ITALY: Serie A
Juventus - Roma
01
Aug
ITALY: Serie A
AC Milan - Cagliari
01
Aug
ITALY: Serie A
Napoli - Lazio
01
Aug
ITALY: Serie A
Atalanta - Inter Milan
29
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Torino - Roma
29
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Cagliari - Juventus
29
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Sampdoria - AC Milan
28
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Inter Milan - Napoli
26
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester City - Norwich City
26
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Arsenal - Watford
26
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Leicester City - Manchester United
26
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Juventus - Sampdoria
26
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Chelsea - Wolves
26
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Newcastle United - Liverpool
26
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Crystal Palace - Tottenham Hotspur
26
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Roma - Fiorentina
25
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Napoli - Sassuolo
25
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Genoa - Inter Milan
24
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
AC Milan - Atalanta
23
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Udinese - Juventus
22
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Liverpool - Chelsea
22
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester United - West Ham United
22
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Inter Milan - Fiorentina
22
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Spal - Roma
22
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Parma - Napoli
Find us on Instagram
at @feedimo to stay up to date with the latest.
Featured Video You Might Like
-g9Qziqbif8 0vmRhiLHE2U JFCZUoa6MYE UfN5PCF5EUo 2PV55f3-UAg W3y9zuI_F64 -7qCxIccihU pQ9gcOoH9R8 g5MRDEXRk4k tudKp5Vhs3k iwWHibhssSo kQr0XHPbICM
Copyright © 2020 Feedimo. All Rights Reserved.