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The Quarantine Diaries: 43 Days to South America

The Quarantine Diaries: 43 Days to South America

One of the prominent and ongoing effects of the Coronavirus pandemic is worldwide disruption and changes to the way we travel. While we daydream of jetting off for a Summer holiday, the complications of travel in the current climate are not to be underestimated.

As a local business with a global impact, the ROMAR team are no strangers to international travel. With operations slowly resuming, ROMAR’s Senior Technician Ross Mathieson recently embarked on a 43-day trip to South America, 36 of which were spent in hotel quarantine! During his time in isolation, Ross kept a quarantine diary to share the reality of travelling in the post-lockdown world.

Day 1 – Embarking on my Travels

I packed my bags, books and laptop, ready for what was going to be a very different journey. I’m no stranger to travelling with work. In fact, before COVID-19, I was never in the same country for long. But this trip was different, and I knew I was in it for the long haul.

I’m travelling to South America to install a ROMAR Packer Management System™ on behalf of an operator in the area. Usually, this type of job would take me no longer than a week but throw mandatory quarantine into the mix, and I was going to be spending six weeks living from my suitcase in hotel rooms.

I arrived at the first quarantine hotel in London on the 22nd of March and settled in for 14 days of isolation before travelling to South America.

Day 7 – One Week of Isolation

One week in, and it’s incredible how quickly you find yourself in a routine. I get up, eat breakfast, join Teams calls throughout the day and keep in touch with my wife and children in the evenings.

Reading bedtime stories to my kids over FaceTime has quickly become a daily highlight, and I don’t know how I would cope without modern technology.

Aside from remote working, I set myself the challenge of walking 10,000 steps per day. This isn’t particularly easy given that my room was seven meters in length, but it keeps me busy.

Snacking has become a haven, and I managed to secure myself the mother lode – a Tesco order straight to my door. ‘Cooking’ in a hotel room isn’t a straightforward operation, and pot noodles are my delicacy of choice.

Day 14 – Travel Resumes

Two weeks later, it was finally time to hop on the plane for the 10-hour flight to South America. I was excited to see other faces and get cracking with the job at hand. The views from the plane window were exactly what I needed to refresh my mind after quarantine.

Day 15 – Hello South America

I’ve made it! I was finally at my destination; I made my way onto the platform and got cracking immediately. Installing one of ROMAR’s Packer Management Systems™ takes around 4 days, and I’ll be on the rig for a week.

Our Packer Management System is a fascinating piece of kit. Developed to prevent fluid spills, ROMAR PMS™ offers clients the opportunity to avoid accidental contamination of the environment by ensuring prevention at the source. Its intelligent monitoring and fully automated response has an exemplary record and provides ongoing reassurance while protecting the marine environment.

Following my short stay on the rig, I’m sure you can guess what comes next… 12 days of isolation in a South American hotel! I miss home-cooked dinners and can’t wait to fire up the pizza oven when I get home. At least I have a different view from my hotel window to keep me occupied.  

Day 33 – The Home Stretch

Déjà vu! I’m exactly back where I started – hotel quarantine in London. This time around, I’ll be here for ten days rather than two weeks, which feels like a real treat. Being reunited with my family and friends is so close, and the finish line is in sight. I slipped back into my old routine, and the pot noodles were back in action.  Do you know how many Netflix episodes you can get through in mandatory quarantine? A lot!

Day 43 – Back to the Granite City

Finally, it’s time to make the journey back to the granite city and be reunited with my family and friends. 36 full days of quarantine has been an interesting but challenging experience. It’s incredible to think just how imperative and sought after our Packer Management System ™ is that a  43-day trip was put in place and financed to install it. I feel privileged to work for an organisation at the forefront of providing innovative solutions, and I look forward to when normal travel resumes in the future. For now, I’ll make the most of being at home with my family and back in the workshop with my colleagues.