I got Covid-19. Here’s what happened

I never write about myself in my travel blog nor do I feature myself in my YouTube videos or on my Instagram account. I want my social media to be about the travel experience itself, and not about myself (contrary to most other so-called travel influencers). Nevertheless, I want to share with you what happened to me last month, since it may have a (temporary) impact on my travel blog & vlog.

On January 22nd, I woke up at night feeling unwell and having a headache. Corona was the first thing that came to my mind, so I had a test (nasal swab) later that morning. A few hours later, the result of the PCR test came back as positive. It was a true shock. I don’t have the slightest idea where I may have contracted the disease. For your information: I haven’t been traveling in months (my last trip abroad was in October 2020); I don’t use the public transport; I always put on a surgical face mask when I leave my home; and since I am a happy single man, I don’t see anyone outside of my work place (none of my colleagues have tested positive or got sick before or after my diagnosis). I am one of those people who follow the social distance rules to the extreme, yet I got the virus anyway.

Following my diagnosis of Covid-19, I had to isolate for 10 days. After the initial shock came the anxiety: I am a 45 year old man, without any known risk factors, yet the knowledge that 15% of patients affected by symptomatic Covid-19 ends up in hospital (a minority of them requiring intensive care with ventilation) was not a reassuring thought. Also, Covid-19 is known to take a turn for the worse in some patients between day 5 and 10, so I had no clue at all what the virus had in store for me. This knowledge, combined with absolute loneliness for 10 consecutive days and the presence of Covid-19 symptoms, was truly a mentally and physically exhausting experience. It were 10 very long days.

I am lucky though that my symptoms were mild. I had a light fever and dry cough for a few days; I suffered from extreme fatigue for a week or two (they really need to invent a new word for Covid-19 induced fatigue … it’s something that I’ve never felt before); and I also lost my taste, smell, and appetite three days after the onset of my symptoms. The nights were the worst part of the ordeal: I was reluctant to go to bed (no matter how tired I was) out of fear that I would wake up with dyspnea (shortness of breath). I am lucky that this never happened. And I am extremely lucky that my friends, family and colleagues took care of me and supported me (from a distance) by doing necessary shopping and getting in touch with me (online and by phone) multiple times a day.

It’s been one month now since I got Covid-19. Needless to say it changed my perspective of the pandemic as it became a very personal thing. My heart goes out to all those who’ve lost a loved one due to this disease. Let’s never forgot that more than 2 million people have died across the planet because of Covid-19 and that’s an understatement since many countries don’t keep track of their Covid-19 deaths. Every day, I am also thinking of those that are fighting the disease, at home or in the hospital, and I am hoping for a speedy recovery for all those affected. In addition to the symptoms –whether they are mild or severe – the mental stress of the having to go through Covid-19 is something that cannot be underestimated and I wish everyone in this process all the support, strength and love they need.

The stress of having Covid-19 is real. But so is the mental impact of all the restrictions that governments have imposed on their populations across the world. In my home country, society has been closed for almost one year now (apart from a brief break in summer). Restaurants & barbers are closed; we are not allowed to mix social bubbles and households; surgeries and patient care were temporarily postponed (to avoid a crash of our healthcare system); a curfew is in place from 10 pm to 6 am; high schools and universities are closed with online education being offered instead; and there’s also a ban on leisure travel (we are not allowed to travel abroad anymore). It’s all mentally exhausting since there is not much perspective anymore (apart from the vaccines, since they are our way out of this crisis).

Face masks, social distancing and extensive testing have proven to be effective in fighting this pandemic. However, I am not sure if I can still make sense of all the other measures. IMHO, travel can be done in a responsible way with Covid19-proof protocols; restaurants can operate safely with procedures that minimize the risk of viral transmission; and schools should be open to take care of our future generations. Yet, virologists and politicians keep insisting that the borders must stay closed to avoid the import of viral variants (they are here already and the virus – which does not stop at the border – will keep mutating for years to come because that is what viruses do). The experts also insist that restaurants and schools are viral hotbeds, but so far, there is no conclusive scientific proof to support this argument. Could it be possible that the decisions of the experts – which affect entire societies – are sometimes based on assumptions and fear rather than science and facts?

Although there are many unknowns in this pandemic, I do know for sure that the impact of these measures on the wellbeing of our society will be catastrophic for years to come. One day, we will pay the enormous price for this prolonged period of lack of social contacts, the learning deficit of the youth, the staggering amount of people losing their jobs, the enormous financial consequences, and the postponed healthcare for non-Covid-19 related health issues. Without wanting to be controversial, one has to wonder whether the consequences of the measures will not cause more harm than the virus itself. Numerous public health officials and economists have stated that lockdowns and restrictions will cause at least five times and, more likely, as much as 50 times more harm than benefit.

The unprecedented health crisis has also led to relentless and sensationalist media coverage across the globe. Of course, the role of news media in the pandemic is crucial, not only to increase our understanding of the disease, but also to communicate sanitary measures and to maximize the impact of any governmental policy. Nevertheless, it (sometimes) feels as if the news cycle is amplifying the public distress and undermining our mental resilience with daily dramatic coverage of the pandemic, which includes never ending stories of tragedy, countless deaths, and Covid-19-related statistics. In addition, the media have created inappropriate star status for virologists and are ridiculing anyone who questions the existing Covid-19 rules implemented by authorities.

That said, what happened to me, in combination with the never-ending travel ban, will also have an impact on my social media. This week, I was supposed to be on holiday in the Maldives, but evidently, that did not happen. My ski holiday to Switzerland in January was cancelled as well. So it looks like I won’t be able to meet my travel goals for 2021, although that is an irrelevant first world problem of course. I still have a few trip reports left, but after that, I will have to wait for the travel ban to be lifted and for international travel to resume before I can publish new trip reports of hotels and planes.

  • My Instagram account (almost 100,000 followers) won’t be affected. I will continue to upload one video or photo per day, most of them featuring highlights of my past holidays.
  • My travel blog (100,000+ subscribers) won’t be affected. I will continue to publish 3 articles per week, and may re-publish some reviews of my favorite hotels and airplane products to fill the gap.
  • My YouTube channel (700,000+ followers) will be temporarily affected (for a month or two) as I won’t be able to upload one new video per week featuring either a dreamy hotel or fancy airline product. I haven’t decided yet whether I will temporarily pause my YouTube channel for a few weeks or whether I will fill the gap with a couple of videos featuring the travel highlights in my own home country. Alternatively, I could also upload some videos featuring my favorite top 10 travel lists. Any input is appreciated. Once I am on the road again, I will produce videos in 4K quality, so that is something to look forward to.

I do hope that things will get normal again very soon. Meanwhile, stay safe, stay strong, and follow the Covid-19 precautions: be good about social distancing, wash your hands often, follow the recommendations to stay home and not gather (even if it feels safe), and get the vaccine when it becomes available for you.


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57 Comments

  1. Sorry to hear that you had Covid but pleased you’re feeling well again. Your travel videos have really helped me to get through the lockdowns and it’s also helpful to hear your own personal experience of dealing with the infection and the symptoms. I’ve been lucky in that I’ve been able to shield and have received the first dose of the vaccine this morning so feel very fortunate. Thanks again for your videos and for opening up about your own experience, which I’m sure will be helpful to many. 😊

  2. My life without TLTE would be poorer. You have brought so much travel joy to so many. So happy you made it through this scare. All of us will rejoice when you and TLTE are back at full speed. PTL on your recovery!!

  3. Thank you for sharing your experience. I hope that one day we can all travel safely and enjoy some of the many places you have shared. Stay well and safe

  4. Thank you for sharing your experience. I am thrilled to know you are on the mend and one day we may all return to the lives we have so enjoyed but perhaps took for granted. I enjoy your blog, your spirit of adventure and your desire to help us all see the world. Stay well and stay safe , all the best.

  5. I wish you health and happiness! As we are locked in our house-garden for 10. months now due to our health problems, avoiding the virus, so we have been traveling with your videos only. Thank you for sharing all these relaxing, great experiences!

  6. I am very sorry to hear of your awful experience with COVID, but am grateful to read your perspective as a survivor, and your opinions on how you think its being handled throughout the world. I know I speak for many who have used your YouTube videos and blog posts as a getaway when homebound during these changing times. Please do continue to be safe as much as possible, and take care of yourself. I will appreciate no matter what you decide to do regarding changing things. But I will definitely miss your videos that I have not made my way through yet. They are amazing, and truly give us the feeling that we are traveling along with you. All the best!

  7. Glad to hear you are already recovered. And wishing everyones safe.
    Looking forward to watch your video from 2021!

    (BTW,It doesn’t matter but, I thought you are younger than your age and have a partner… you must get a lot of winks from all over the world.. lol)

    Love from Canada.

  8. Thank you for sharing your experience with us.
    I agree with every word.
    Take care of yourself. We will be here whenever you are ready to travel again.
    In meantime, we can always watch all the amazing videos you have posted these past years.
    Thank you! ☺️

  9. So thankful you are here to have shared your personal experience! Know that your continued contributions to the travel industry are well-loved and respected, and provide moments of enjoyment during this pandemic. Keep up the fantastic work as best you can, and continue to take care!

  10. Thanks for sharing your experience. I went through the same thing last month too. In that time watching your videos and reading the blogs kept me and my family hopeful for a brighter future when travel will more or less return to normal. Keep up the good work! We’d also love the top 10 lists of your favorite destinations, or best things to do in a specific destination, or top 10 bad or unexpected experiences in a destination, things to look out for when traveling (regarding safety or just tips and tricks that only and expert would know 😉 etc. We look forward to your 4K videos very much! Stay safe!

  11. have been following you religiously and have use d some of your suggestions
    stay safe and be well

  12. For YouTube videos, how about more detailed, every-day type info? How well do various airlines and hotels deal with stuff like, people who don’t speak the local language (mostly hotels, of course)? Allergies? Handicapped folks? What is the bug situation like in various locales? How friendly are locals, typically? Are staff easy going? Do they expect everyone to be wealthy, or do people taking once-in-a-lifetime trips get the same experiences?

    If you are willing, of course, I am sure I’m not the only one who would like to know more about you personally. Only what you are comfortable with, of course!

    I’m glad you are safe and got over your run-in with the rona. I’ll go wash my hands and live vicariously through your videos until I get my jabs (and a little after that too!)

  13. Thank you for sharing your touching story, so eloquently expressed. I do hope you will bounce back fully very soon from the effects of Covid and go on to once again enhance our lives and enchant us all with your wonderful travel reports. Tashi Delek.

  14. stay safe. keep recovering. harrowing story as we are also vigilant maskers.
    i love following you.

  15. I echo Francis below. TLTE is a wonderfully produced, visually stunning and inspiring voyage. I’ve found, especially during this pandemic, when everyone’s travel plans are on hold, I’m able to “holiday” virtually through your many travel adventures. Thank you for this, I’m so happy you’re on the road to recovery, and I look forward to more TLTE soon.

  16. Wellcome to the Covid19 Team. I’m 2 yrs younger the You and i got Covid past October. You should take care of You.For sure travelling in Your Country could be a good idea. Support local business, at this point, is really important. After that you can restart with short trips in the countries near You.

    Take Care my dear

  17. I am so sorry to hear what happened to you! I hope you will recover soon! And that you – and we – can travel again, not only in your/our home country but everywhere you/we want to go. Such a pity that you missed your Switzerland skiing trip! Here in my home country we do not have not such a rigid Corona regime as in the UK. My husband and I were lucky enough to have skiing/winter hiking vacations in Switzerland over New Year and at the beginning of February. But unfortunately we also had to postpone our Bhutan trip a second time, and this to 2022 (we originally booked it vor 2020). But to you again, why not posting about your domestic travel. So far, I only do know London quite well, all the rest is more or less unknown territory for me. I am sure there are other places well worth visiting, too! I look forward to hearing from you again, and take care!
    P.S. Not that it is any business of mine, but I thought that you had a wife and two children, I saw you traveling/hiking in your video about Aosta valley 😉

  18. As someone over the age of 75, I have been extremely cautious since March 8th, 2020. We know several people who have died and have been sick. It only takes one bad experience to perhaps change your mind about Covid. My wife and I just got our second Moderna shot and look forward to doing some slight -out of of bubble – meetings. Needles to say, all your admirers are so very pleased that you are better.

    One way that I have dealt with the isolation is planning for the future. I have made three detailed trip plans- from NYC to Dallas and LA in December, to Jordan & Jerusalem in March and to all the Baltic Capitals in August.

    Stay safe and do your planning.

  19. I am very sorry to read about your ordeal and glad you have recovered! I read your reviews and watch your videos with great pleasure and, truth be told, some envy, as I love to travel, and would travel so much more if time allowed. Now I think I will need to take a sabbatical in 22 to recover all the tickets and vouchers I have accumulated: Colombia, Chile& Argentina, South Africa, Namibia and Tanzania/ Rwanda. Plus Bhutan postponed twice, and
    Java and Bali this August, hopefully!
    Please keep safe and hopefully travel again!
    Best regards!

  20. Good to know you are doing well. Maybe some videos of local hotels and favorite local restaurants to fill the youtube gap until your travel adventures return.

  21. I am really sorry about this situation. For all of us and we travel because we must to travel or because we like to travel, life has changed a lot already one year now.
    Anyway there is many posts from your side and never enough to watch again and again.
    Even the oldest videos gives one nice pleasure. You don’t must apologise for nothing.
    This days is important to stay safe and enjoy as much we can for anything we can.
    For my side i just wish and soon this bad days will over and soon we start to enjoy our trips in the way and we know well and we like.
    One more i would like to wish you the best and stay safe.

    Krikor.
    Greece.

  22. Thank you for sharing your experience with Covid – Too many people don’t take this seriously enough. I am so sorry you had to go through this. Thank goodness you are OK. Sincerely, Cathy Pieters, Miami FL USA

  23. I’m so sorry to hear about your diagnosis. Please continue to stay safe.

    Whatever you post on your YT channel we’ll read. Even if there’s a pause, I’ll remain subscribed. An FAQ would be nice. 🙂 (Not about yourself, but for example your favourite places or destinations.)

  24. Thank you for sharing. Here in Ontario we have been shut down for weeks, still have cases, we cannot understand why so many people feel it is all a hoax. Please keep showing old clips or insights into places, they have made so many peoples lives enjoyable…thinking we were in those places! Take care and stay safe, and hopefully happy travelling in the future.

  25. While I understand your anxiety about catching the virus, much of it was probably based on fear, not reality. I came home from China in November 2019 with it. I was down with a “bad cold” for several days; it took several weeks to regain that last 10% of health. It was really a non-event, no worse than colds I’ve contracted every few years. I am “old” but always have enjoyed robust good health. The politicians, bureaucrats and the media thrive on everyone being terrified of the virus. That’s causing 80% of the problem. People who are risk from other causes should be super careful. The rest of us should take common-sense precautions and get on with life. The thought of being innoculated with an untested vaccine scares me far more than the virus itself.

  26. I am so glad that you are well. During these cloistered times, I depend on your blog for hope as I plan my next trip (whenever that may be!).

  27. Thank you for your update. You have a good head on your shoulders (balanced outlook on life). I’m glad you are recovering and I pray that you (and me) get back on the road traveling soon. It’s driving me crazy I haven’t left the country since Octover 2019.

  28. Thank you for sharing this news with us, Doctor. I wish you a complete recovery and once again to be back out there showing us places in this world we might otherwise never experience. And for the kids, another chance to zipline through the jungle; for him another chance to have a baby gorilla try to steal his boot; for her another elephant ride (and resulting smile); and for you a chance to give them, and us, new experiences.

  29. Thank you for the update and glad you are recovering. I am watching one of your videos right now. And I for one truly appreciate your style of travel vlogging. It’s thorough and I don’t have to listen to inane chit chat while looking at someone and not the location.

  30. Never give up my friend
    All of us were so unprepared to such a pandemic but human beings have always won against all the pandemics arrived in the past and so it will be also this time
    Will miss your videos which were incredibly well done….

  31. Totally agree with your views. And I encourage you to share travel highlights in your country as well as top 10 lists. Yours is a very good travel channel and my wife and I try to follow your recommendations – thanks.

  32. I also agree with your standpoint and am glad that you are well again. Your reports are the best I ever found on the internet. Since I had to cancel three times my travelling plans in the last 12 months I find kind of compensation watching your best videos again and again. E.g. Armani Hotel Dubai or Chedi Hotel Andermatt and the like.
    Thank you and may the panic end soon…

  33. I was shocked by your diagnosis. Thanks for sharing your experience and hope you have no lasting effects. Meanwhile, I will look forward to any of your insights into travel as they are always enjoyable and enlightening. All the best.

  34. So glad you are recovering. Look forward to watching many more of your luxury journeys! Stay safe

  35. Intentionally or unintentionally, you never leave an experience go untouched, do you? I’m glad you got a mild case of it and recovered. But what’s more important in this is that now you know first hand what it’s like to have Covid and are even better equipped to filter out most of the second-hand reports and panic-inducing “news”. You are right in saying that this fear and panic is doing us more harm than the virus itself.
    Anyway, I look forward to seeing some new twists to your reports, thanks to the limitations and constraints on your regular travel plans.
    As for some inputs that you asked for, here’s one: As I shared it before also, you can add a page to your website where all places you’ve been to, are listed in one (sortable) table with the marks you assign to them. It can be a very good resource for people trying to shortlist hotels/resorts while planning their trip to a certain destination.
    Wishing you well and a speedy recovery to your 100% own self.

  36. Wprompts Excellent suggestions. Plus I’d like TLTE note at the beginning of his YT clips the date of his journey.

  37. Hola! me alegra que estés bien, me encanta tu canal, amo tus videos. Todo lo que reproducen tus videos trato de crearlo en mi mente para ver si algún día pueda cumplir mis sueños, amo viajar. Pensé que tenías esposa e hijos. También soy soltera y feliz, podría acompañarte en esos viajes maravillosos hahahaha. Bendiciones para que puedas seguir pronto con lo que tanto te gusta, estoy también anhelando poder hacer un viaje lo antes posible.

  38. So glad to hear you recovered from COVID-19. Being a doctor and microbiologist I’ve been living and breathing this pandemic since the day one. What helped me recover my mental strength and rebuild the willpower to carry on from day to day was planning my post-COVID trip and watching your videos and reading your reviews. So please, don’t stop – videos and reviews of places in your country will do just fine since your country might be an interesting travel destination to many of us.

  39. So sorry to hear you caught covid but glad to hear you’re now recovering! I agree whole heartedly that some of the measures taken seem to do more harm than good, compared to the virus.

    Like many others on here, our travel plans for 2020 were cancelled and I’ve lived vicariously through your YouTube channel – both the hotel videos and flights have helped lift my spirits and made me look forward to the dawn of international travel again!

    I’ll stay subscribed to your YT channel, whether you pause it or continue but the idea of top 10 videos does sound appealing. One commentator here had mentioned how these luxury locations treat those making ‘once in a lifetime’ trips & that would also interest me. Also videos covering your home country would also be interesting, anything beyond your own front door is always of interest as it’s new but also viewed through the eyes of yourself makes it interesting as you do focus on the location itself and what it has to offer – the fact you’re so honest is also appreciated!

    Well wishes and a speedy recovery to you!
    Zara

  40. Very sorry to read about your unpleasant experience. Glad to know that you’re doing better now. Always look forward to your very inspiring blogs & vlogs. Stay safe, stay healthy, keep traveling & keep narrating. God bless!

  41. Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear that! I hope you recover soon. Stay safe, sanitise and stay awesome, like your channel!

  42. It is so good to read that you have made it through the virus. What a scary shock it must have been. Blessings to so many out there who have been through the same. It’s a scary and stressful world out there.

    It would be fantastic to see videos from your home country too. Believe me when I say that your travel videos add light into a sometimes lackluster day and help ease some of the stress. Looking forward to them.

  43. Glad to hear you are doing well! We love your videos, and look forward to them on Saturday mornings! We hope to see them continue, we love to travel and it has opened our eyes to new places. We have rewatched several of your videos during this past year in hopes of vacationing at one later this year. I know we would enjoy some Top 10 lists. Perhaps top 10 resorts, spas, family resorts, beaches, rooms, or videos along those lines. Hope to see us all traveling again!

  44. Thanks a lot for sharing! I have been following your content for many years. I get inspired by your trips. Unfortunately, all travels are on hold. I am looking forward to getting vaccinated asap and be able to start traveling again. I hope you have been vaccinated or will be very soon.
    It is indeed a good idea to produce content about your own country. This is a good way to stay connected with your fans and promote your home place.
    Please stay healthy and I cannot wait to see your videos on YT, posts on Instagram and read newsletters.
    Best wishes from Namibia!

  45. Bedankt voor de “update”. Jammer dat je ziek was met Covid en egt gelukig dat je beeter voelt. Hier in New Brunswick Canada zijn we nog in “isolation” etc. Ik denk dat we elke jaar een Covid “shot in the arm” gaan krijgen. Have a speedy recovery stay well and we will all enjoy more trips soon. These days my French is getting better than my Flemish or Afrikaans :). We enjoy the trips you take and dream of where we will go next…we loved your train trip in South Africa, since I lived there many years. When we left Belgium after the Congo my parents wanted a warmer country and now here I am in -20C…lol life can be weird. I live out in the country by the Saint John River.
    Take care, stay safe and thanks for sharing.
    WE LOVE YOUR SHOW!!!!!
    MP

  46. Thank you for this article, and for sharing your personal story. So glad to hear you are recovering well. All of your content, especially your Luxury Travel You Tube destination videos, are amazing. If you decide to post a few travel highlights from within your home country in the meantime, I think that would be great. Looking forward to the day we can all get back out there and travel the world!!!! All the best!

  47. Very glad that you have made a good recovery, and are feeling more like yourself! I personally love the idea of top 10 videos for your Youtube channel, it could spark some great discussions and further travel inspiration. Thank you for your fantastic content, it has brightened what has truly been a terrible year for so many around the world.

  48. Well, Dr. LTE, got my 2nd shot this morning–at a horse racing track parking lot, no less, and came home to wait for side effects-none so far. Thought I’d poke around your vlogs, which I haven’t done for awhile, and found this account of your COVID experience. In your most recent video, you commented that you might do a video on your experience and I replied that perhaps you could write an account. And come to find this today–you’re way ahead of me. It was very enlightening to read, and I am glad your symptoms did not require a hospital stay. The US CDC just delcared that vaccinated people can now see each other in small groups without taking the usual precautions. This has caused great joy among my friends and a certain amount of hesitancy for me. You’re right–the media has caused a lot of confusion and fear about the virus, but the harm done to our lives and economy has had a devastating impact on our planet. When it comes down to it, we each have to decide what is best for us as individuals no matter what the powers that be say. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I do hope your taste and smell are coming back so you can enjoy many more servings of eggs bene 🙂 Oh, and I would love to see some “local” videos of the area where you live. Your friend in Berkeley, Sue (P.S. I’m 72, which is why I was able to get vac’d before so many others)

  49. Thank you for all your wonderful videos. I was sorry to hear you had caught Covid but so pleased to read this blog that you have been lucky and recovered. Take care, keep on blogging!

  50. Super happy that you are well ……looking forward to see some shots off your country who is also mine…..ben benieuwd…..

  51. Maybe you can publish some hotel review videos made in Belgium in the meantime. I would love to see Steigenberger Wiltchers, Dukes Palace or La Butte Aux Bois Lanaken.

  52. I agree with your every word. I prefer your videos over News Media. More real.
    Glad you are now healthy and naturally immune!
    Glad also you are not banned for your opinion.

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