In March earlier this year, I was eagerly planning my travels and was overcome with excitement at the mere thought of it.

It fed my soul, and I had lofty plans to spend the time blogging on my experiences and offering travel anecdotes to my prospective followers. I had walked the Camino de Santiago twice before, but I was going back a little wiser, with a whole new mindset and with a great shiny new career, ready and waiting to support me.

I was heading into the crux of my online existence, and nothing could stop me. I was packed to go, passport and visa ready, and armed with my iPhone ready to video my whole experience.

The crushing news hit me, and all my plans were not just postponed but canceled. We were being quarantined, and I had no plan on what to do next.

My first thought was to get closer to people who love me. I have never felt this driving force so intensely. So I packed a small travel bag and pushed my backpack and my passport and visa into the back of my cupboard.

We were in quarantine, and moving into a friend’s house to be surrounded by her two young boys turned out to be the best antidote to my sadness. It’s a place that I find solace.

It’s a place that I turn back into my youthful self and build lego and pretend that dinosaurs are still roaming the earth. It was a place that turned out that I could offer a helping hand too with some homeschooling and babysitting while parents tried to forge a productive working space in their home. Looking back on that, it turned out quite well.

Still in the back of my mind, the fact that the whole world lived out history in the making startled me. I am not afraid to admit it. I started reading all the news that was heading my way. Every single bit of it. I read intensively, and it was like I was making up for all the years of avoiding the news.

I was hoping beyond all hope that this situation was going to right itself. I quickly realized that I was in denial. It was an uncomfortable place to be, and I knew that I needed to stop and check things that I was reading and move into a more positive mind-frame to accept the situation that we were all in.

I stopped to think. I became far more introspective, and a notion came across me. It engulfed me like wildfire. What is this future that we were all holding onto, and how would this future change for us all?

It was, and still is, my belief that we could not expect to pick up from where we left off and head into the sunrise following the same trends. That’s naive to think that we can do that.

At the time, governments were changing laws to manage this new present. Finance houses and monetary funds were focusing on funding an unprecedented situation. Seasoned brokers were saying things that made it clear that this virus, and the result of it, had caught them all unaware.

It was talk of a global recession. Even more concerning, for me, at least, it demonstrated a changing world. Historically speaking humans are quite adaptable, yes, but no-one knew what was in store for us. We couldn’t plan for the future because our future was unknown. Everyone was being affected in some way.

Looking back on all of that now, and as we are slowly moving into our “normal” lives, despite news coming up of the dreaded “second wave,” I wonder if we might be missing our opportunity? Are we so desperate to go back to what we knew, our comfort zones, and not heed the lessons presented to us during the “lockdown”?

I don’t put myself out as a conservationist, but I care very deeply about the earth we all call home. From reports that we were given, some areas of the globe experienced a renewed energy. Pollution was down; gas emissions were lower, some wildlife even returned to areas they hadn’t been to in years. Penguins were walking around in the streets of Cape Town!

Aside from the good that came from our global quarantine, I think we can agree that the earth restoring itself to a small degree is a good thing, the projection of job losses and downsizing made for a very bleak 2020.

As the quarantine and lockdown progressed, we noticed small businesses, travel outlets, and service providers having to close their doors. Even the larger corporates had not come out unscathed, and downsizing and cutting back on hours seemed to be the talk of the day.

Unsurprisingly then, an article I read on the nature of e-commerce and digital marketing suggested that in the aftermath of COVID-19 and the unprecedented job losses and downsizing, this new digital lifestyle was and remains a saving grace.

It offered up a space for those subjected to downsizing, an opportunity to create a passive income, and closing the gap on their reduced salaries. It provided a haven for business owners who were adept at changing their focus into online products. It has offered those of us, who despite lofty plans at the beginning of the year for travel, an alternative to earn while learning some much-needed skills in the digital arena.

With “social distancing” being the buzz phrase, which is still being practiced worldwide, it supports this new online world and is an opportune time to get involved in this ‘not so new’ industry. If we must look at this with a positive mindset, and we must, it is not letting this crisis go to waste.

While the online world has been with us for some years, it’s a new mindset needed to take us all to the next level. Although some somber stories result from the pandemic, there are also some really uplifting accounts of experiences.

Dads have had the opportunity to play with their children because working from home has allowed them to do this. Mom’s have spent more quality time with their babies because they are close enough to do it.

Companies have enjoyed far more productive hours and input from their employees. More work hours have been given because no one has been subjected to time-wasting in traffic and unproductive face-to-face meetings. We all know about those!

Are these the lessons that we should be learning from this pandemic? Are we brave enough to be changing our “normal” into something that can be far more productive and far more enjoyable for us all?

For me, my focus is now, not just blogging and writing. I now can call myself a Digital Marketer. My hours spent in lockdown have not only been building lego and doing fun stuff. I spent my time honing skills. Learning from online entrepreneurs and investing in my self-development. It’s been about focusing on my lofty goals, despite at the beginning of quarantine being so afraid to look forward.

It’s been about creating my future, now.