Nabil al Busaidi – the first Arab to walk to the magnetic North Pole among other firsts – is taking online classes in tap dancing, chess and learning how to solve the Rubik’s cube to cope with the virus crisis
“When I rowed across the Atlantic, I was in a team. Even though there were no other humans for thousands of kilometres, I did not feel isolated, as I always had my teammates to talk to, and we developed a great sense of camaraderie and bonding through shared hardship.
However, when I walked to the magnetic North Pole, even though I was in a team as well, we all felt more isolated. Every day, we would walk for ten hours, and being wrapped up against the elements, we were not able to talk to each other, or hear each other. Spending ten hours a day, living inside your head was tough. Your mind wanders, and you can quickly spiral into negative thoughts that are difficult to snap out of.
Oman is now several weeks into the precautions for COVID-19, and, personally, I am not finding it difficult, but I understand it can be difficult for people who are not used to these circumstances.
One of the reasons I find my isolation so easy is the Internet. This is a wonderful source of entertainment, education and distraction. Obviously many people are catching up on TV series on Netflix, but this is also a great time to learn something new. I took an online tap dance class from London last week, something that I always wanted to try, and I am also taking classes in chess. I have always wanted to know how to solve the Rubik’s cube, and after finding an online resource, my fastest time is two minutes and ten seconds.
This is the moment to tackle all the pending projects you might have. Read a book, or even write a book. Some people are using the time to spring clean, and some are learning to cook. There are literally thousands of ideas, and if you search online, you will find a course or resource to help you.
It is interesting to wonder if and how society will change after this pandemic. It will all depend how long it lasts, and how many are affected. One thing I can see happening is many more people working from home. I can see more people, self employed in a gig economy, doing online tasks for one company one week, and working for a totally different company, in a different industry in a different country the next week…
And why can’t more students learn from home? So many services are being offered online, from banking to shopping, that this might be the death knell for traditional commerce.”
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