Sad news, guys :(

Unfortunately, Hallie and I have come to the decision to cancel our tour set for May. I had a whole post drafted to talk about how excited I was to run it and all the planning and brainstorming that has gone into it from about the time I left Suncheon in 2018, but instead I’m writing this one.

Korea is actually on the up, and the provinces we were planned to be in were hardly touched by the virus. However, given how quickly it’s spread through the world and how woefully unprepared many nations, especially the US, seem to be, we just don’t feel like things will be even remotely normal by May.

I’m actually a bit concerned with how quickly borders are closing that I may be in Vietnam a bit longer than I planned. Luckily, I have a 3 month visa, so I have until June, and something tells me I won’t have issues extending my current Airbnb stay or finding somewhere else.

What Does This Mean For Me?

Ugh, I know. Another travel influencer going “Me, me, me, me!” Literally what else is new?

But hear me out, because I need to get something off my chest, and this feels like a good as time as any.

Lately I’ve been seeing some articles pop up interviewing different travel influencers who are being affected by COVID 19. I’ve also noticed in different Facebook groups and from random people I follow that all these influencers are suddenly coming up with brand new products or services. Keep in mind this is after they’ve gone into great detail telling you how much money they’ve lost.

Now, to give you an idea of my own financial situation: As I type this, I had to ask my mom to transfer me the $3k I had left from my inheritance from my grandmother. I basically had her keep it all to help me pay for things back home, and I’ve been viewing it a bit as the start to my emergency fund.

Why did I ask for this transfer? Because I’m in the process of refunding all our guests 100%, which means things are a little tight as Hallie waits for the refunds we can get from hotels. I literally had to do the math to make sure I wouldn’t overdraft my checking since I’d JUST made a huge CC bill payment before I left the US and, of course, cash is king in Vietnam.

But guess what? This is not the part of the post where I make you feel bad for me and then sell you on something I came up with in the last 24 hours to make a quick buck.

I have not once entertained the idea of trying to sell something new just because of coronavirus. Nor have I felt any desire to whine to you about my dwindling traffic and blog income.

Keep in mind guys, most people find me because of Korea, and Korean tourism was hit massively by corona back in February. I’ve been watching my numbers drop for a while now, so I’m definitely affected.

However, I think even if my blog goes belly up, it feels extremely tone deaf and selfish of me to even complain to you guys.

Ever since I decided to pursue travel blogging and working for other bloggers, I’ve 100% known this life is a luxury. Travel itself is a luxury, and I get to make money by helping you guys do it? And the way I help you is by going on these trips myself and writing about them? What?

My friends and family are healthcare workers, lawyers, and teachers who are, you know, essential to society. My job? Not essential. Not remotely essential.

I just think it’d be so incredibly manipulative of me to ask you guys for money. And I don’t just mean putting up a Paypal donation button. I mean trying to shoehorn in money-making ventures into the next week or two because I lost my income.

I encourage you to side eye ANYONE you follow who’s suddenly pushing you to buy something with them. Especially if the way they lead you into their sales pitch is by trying to make you feel bad for them for losing money.

Guess what? We’re ALL losing money.

There are people who make what I do or less a year working shit jobs and are now laid off and wondering if they’ll be able to pay rent. Even just speaking in terms of travel, there are probably so many tour operators and guides in third world countries who have seen their income and their livelihoods wiped out.

So no, I’m sorry, I can’t feel bad for an influencer who has simply had a few thousand dollar luxury campaigns indefinitely postponed or lost their ad revenue and is now essentially asking you to donate to them.

I’ll be fine. Your fav influencer will most likely be more than fine. If everything truly goes tits up, I have about a million other backup plans I’ll pursue. Heck, even right now, grocery stores are hiring extra employees to keep up with demand. I’d happily work at one before I guilt you guys into paying for some shitty product I pooped out in a day for quick cash.

All in all, I’m staying put and social distancing in HCMC. I hope wherever you are, you’re taking this virus seriously and staying both safe and secluded. Look up the memes, watch trash tv, and try to remain both healthy and sane!

And if you’re really in the mood to give your money to someone or something, I encourage you to look into charities and organizations that are helping those who have been hit hardest by COVID 19.

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  1. Hi Samantha! Just felt like commenting here after reading this post. I’m so happy for you to seem so positive about the whole situation going on, and you seem to be really grounded and kind. Traveling is a luxury for me as well, and the reason I found your blog was because I was planning on going to South-Korea as well back in March. I loved your in-depth posts and reviews and also used them to plan some of my own trip (which I’ll definitely do when timing feels right)

    In all honesty, thanks for not going “me me me” when it seems like every other influencer is, and thanks for voicing out your real and honest. Take care. Love Ingvild

    1. Hi Ingvild! Thank you so much for your comment. I’m so sad you didn’t get a chance to go to SK in March; it would’ve been such a pretty time to go with the plum and cherry blossoms! I hope you get to go in the future once all of this is over.

      Yes! Being deeply irritated by the “me me me” comments I kept seeing from fellow bloggers/influencers may have been some minor motivation in writing this haha.

      Hope you’re staying healthy and safe wherever you are!

  2. Amen, Sam! I’m sorry you are having to rethink the trip (cancel :-( ) and go through refunds and inheritance. I’m like you – I would sooner work at a grocery store than play victim and ask people to feel sorry for me. There are people who have it far, far worse who are also not playing victim or asking people for money. And yes, give that money to charities instead!

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