TV presenter, president; of the Travel Club Mikhail Kozhukhov told the Russian Service; Voices of America about the impact of global quarantine on people who are not used to sitting in one place for a long time
65% of the Voice of America audience do not plan to travel in the coming year. This was shown by a survey conducted live on the Voice of America Facebook page..
How does a traveler feel in a quarantine confinement? What plans had to be canceled, and where do you want to go immediately after quarantine?
About all this, as well as about the tourists stuck due to the situation with the coronavirus off the coast of Mauritius, says the TV presenter, President of the “Travelers Club” Mikhail Kozhukhov.
Ksenia Turkova. How does a traveler feel during quarantine? It seems to me that this is especially difficult for you to go through …
Mikhail Kozhukhov. I know about this only from literature, because when, during the first Russian round-the-world voyage, the Kruzenshtern expedition approached Japan, the emperor refused to accept them, and they spent nine months on the Nagasaki roadstead. I think it was hard for them.
K.T. How are you now?
M.K. Well, what kind of traveler I am … I am so, one name. I am a travel organizer, journalist, anyone. But the traveler in my mind is Magellan, Columbus, Kruzenshtern is the same.
K.T. How do you spend time in quarantine, what do you do?
M.K. The first week was better, because we are preparing another book, I had to write a chapter there, and the days flew by quickly because of this, and now I have to come up with activities for myself. What saves me is that I live outside the city, I have a dog – 57 kilograms of stupidity and kindness, so she snores now. All this requires some kind of body movement. I get up in the morning and think: here it is necessary to cut, process there … And then I think: okay, tomorrow!
K.T. You make some kind of schedule for yourself?
M.K. All my life I envy people who plan everything, draw up schedules and live by them. No, I’m an ordinary lazy creature, like most of us.
I am all at work, in endless chats, trying to adapt my plans to this situation, and all the employees of the “Travelers Club” are in constant contact. Today they came up with, in my opinion, a very good thing. The fact is that mainly owners of small or medium-sized businesses travel with us. And now they are in the same difficult situation as we are. And we came up with the idea today to offer them informational support. Maybe such club solidarity can help someone. All of us (small business representatives – editor’s note) should now repeat the landing motto: “Nobody but us!” No one but us will help us, because all the promises of big bosses do not inspire confidence yet.
K.T. Why do you think many in Russia were somehow not serious about the situation, went massively on picnics, took quarantine as a reason to get together??
M.K. I have an assumption that this is such indifference, generally characteristic of a Russian person. That, they say, it’s all bad there somewhere, and no cholera will take us. And then there are several more factors. These are the officially small numbers of cases in Russia, which are hard to believe, on the one hand … on the other, everyone is already lost, because every day there are some “virologists” who question the advisability of such strict measures taken all over the world … Yes, I, like many, do not even close the tab of the World Health Organization and look at these graphs with horror. But at the same time, I do not have any unambiguous understanding of the situation, and, I think, many do too. Probably, all this together and helped everyone rush to barbecue in unison..
K.T. Have you lost any travels? Both you and your “Club”?
M.K. Yes, unfortunately, we fell through. I was planning a trip to Fallas – for three years I tried to fit it into the calendar. Fallas is the most beautiful holiday in Spain. This is happening in Valencia, where they build fantastic, fifteen meters high, sculptures – there are hundreds of them all over the city. For three days Valencia drinks, yells, blows up firecrackers, walks in national costumes, brings flowers to some wire structure, and special people take these flowers – and such a colossal monument to the Virgin Mary grows out of flowers. And then, to the horror of the firefighters, all these figures are burned. This is an incredible sight, because firefighters water the walls of medieval buildings in narrow streets that burn – the whole of Valencia turns into a bonfire. In my opinion, seeing this is as necessary as it is imperative to visit, for example, in Florence, because while you were not there, you can live and be a good person, but after you visit Florence, you understand that your ideas about beauty were wrong, flawed. Without Fallas, something is also wrong in your life …
We have canceled about twenty trips, and this is a very serious blow, because people have to pay salaries, and they can only be paid when something happens … The airbag is small. We had a group in Paris that was supposed to go to Slava Polunin, and surrounded by Polunin’s troupe, someone tested positive for coronavirus. Closed it [creative laboratory] “Yellow Mill”, and everything was canceled, because Polunin is at risk. All ours managed to return.
But there were big problems for the group, which was on the “Pallada” and walked for a month from Ushuaia (this is the south of Chile) to Cape Town, we hardly managed to scratch them out, and they returned – at the last moment!
Now three of the most beautiful sailing ships that Russia has – the Kruzenshtern, Sedov and Pallada – sail around the world. And at the same moment our group sat on the “Pallada”, they left Cape Town for Mauritius. Mauritius is closed! Most likely, they will not be able to go ashore, and they bought tickets …
K.T. That is, they are still there.?
M.K. Yes, now they are going to Mauritius, but it is already known that at best they will be able to refuel on the roadstead in Mauritius, without going ashore, without even mooring. And how we will get the guys back, I just have no idea yet.
K.T. Do you have any scenarios for the development of events?
M.K. It is difficult to make any predictions, we have several scenarios. One of them is that in May-June we will start sending people across Russia. I hope, for now, that my trip to Scotland will take place in June. Actually, we are constantly shifting the planned trips and do not believe that it will take too long …
K.T. How this crisis will affect the travel industry?
M.K. At first, a certain inertia of fear will remain, and people will be wary of going to Spain or Italy. The collapsed ruble will greatly hinder us, because the salaries have remained the same, but the dollar and the euro have not. I think it will take some time to get used to it psychologically..
When you get used to “absorbing distances”, it becomes a kind of addiction. Even when you have visited many places, you still catch yourself thinking that you really want to go on the road, you want. It’s hard to live without it.
K.T. Where do you go immediately after quarantine??
M.K. This will be Scotland, and then the Putorana Plateau in Siberia. It will be an easy, sporty simple, but nonetheless autonomous trek, rafting in one of the most beautiful regions of the world. And I really miss Indonesia, so I rush to Java, where I have not been.
And I also want to visit Yali’s dad, who calls me son. This is the leader of one of the good tribes in Papua New Guinea who never ate anyone (as they assure me). They are not bounty hunters. I miss Yali’s dad and it’s time for us to meet.
Journalist, TV and radio host, philologist. She started as a correspondent and presenter on NTV under the direction of Evgeny Kiselev, worked on TV6, TVS, REN TV, radio stations Echo Moskvy, City FM, Kommersant FM. From 2013 to 2017, she lived and worked in Kiev, participated in the creation of the information radio station Radio Vesti, directed the Russian-language broadcasting of the Ukrainian channel Hromadske TV, was a host and executive producer. Since 2017 works for Voice of America in Washington DC.