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US digital nomad: ‘I’m glad I chose Vietnam to self-quarantine’

14:30 | 20/06/2020

Tasha Prados, a digital nomad who was traveling around Asia when the COVID-19 pandemic first broke out, decided to fly from Thailand to Vietnam to avoid the effects of the novel virus, instead of returning the US.

expat in vietnam vietnams beauty leaves me speechless Expat in Vietnam: ‘Vietnam’s beauty leaves me speechless’
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us digital nomad im glad i chose vietnam to self quarantine
Tasha Prados is a digital nomad (Photo courtesy of Tasha Prados)

“I'm immensely grateful to the government of Vietnam for the privilege of being here, and for their smart and fast action — in such contrast to my own government”, Prados told Business Insider, recalling her safe stay in Vietnam during the COVID-19 pandemic. "I don't have any regret deciding to stay in Vietnam", she said, referring to her decision of staying in Vietnam instead of flying back to the US before Viet closed borders and halted international flights.

Prados is an entrepreneur, digital nomad, and founder of a marketing consulting practice who was traveling around Asian countries before the advent of the coronavirus. In early February when the COVID-19 first detected in Wuhan China and started to spread outside the border, Prados was on the small island of Koh Lanta in Thailand, spending most of her time working as a freelancer at a tropical coworking space.

But as things began to look more serious in Thailand, she wanted to get off the island and “go somewhere that was handling COVID-19 well” and chose Hoi An, central Vietnam as the destination. Upon her arrival in Vietnam on February 24, the country only had 16 COVID-19 cases and all the patients had recovered.

us digital nomad im glad i chose vietnam to self quarantine
Tasha Prados kept herself busy during the social-distancing period by working (Photo courtesy of Tasha Prados)

“It turned out to be a great choice: Vietnam has had one of the most effective responses to the coronavirus so far thanks to early action, preventative measures, contact-tracing, quarantines, and public education efforts”, she told Business Insider.

A few weeks later things get more serious, when the Vietnamese government closed borders and stopped issuing visas then issued the social-distancing order, Prados had had a tough time weighing the pros and cons of staying in Vietnam or going back to the states and finally decided to stay.

She found a shared villa with five other digital nomads: another American, a Spanish woman, a Polish woman, and a Dutch couple. The six foreigners started to stock food, daily necessities and began the three-week-long socially-distanced period. They worked, played, prepared meals together to stay busy inside the villa. Besides going out for groceries every other day, Prados also run in the rice fields, trying to work out every day and took advantage of the swimming pool.

“Vietnam made masks mandatory early on, and I always wore one whenever I left the house”, she wrote.

us digital nomad im glad i chose vietnam to self quarantine
Prados went out for a run with face mask on (Photo courtesy of Tasha Prados)

According to Prados, the 24-day social isolation in Vietnam is such a juxtaposition with what’s happening in the US, where many of her fellow countrymen were still under strict lockdown, desperately trying to file for unemployment or take care of and teach their kids while doing their jobs. The contradiction made her feel guilty about how easy my experience has been compared to folks back home.

When the strict isolation measures were lifted in Hoi An on April 23, Prados went for an overnight trip on a nearby island. She was able to celebrate her birthday with a night away, beach camping with friends on the nearby Cham Islands, which were recently reopened to tourists.

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