Virus traps nomadic expat family in Lapland

Published:  27 Apr at 6 PM
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Adventurous expats are found all over the known world, although the majority possibly didn’t take into account being trapped far from home due to the pandemic’s closing of all borders.

Whilst the vast majority of commentators on the chaos being caused by covid-19 cite elderly expatriates, those who’ve lost their jobs and those who’re now trapped far from home by lockdowns, expat adventurers are being missed out due to a lack of convenient classification. Often referred to as expat nomads, these brave souls and their families are imagined by many as sticking a pin in a map and heading to the destination as did old-style nomads throughout human history.

For one British family, driving all across Europe in their motorhome should have been the adventure of a lifetime, but the virus stopped them dead in their tracks as the Norway/Finland border slammed shut. Originally from South Africa but living in Cheltenham, the couple, their two young sons and their two cats were travelling a little-known route when the border between the two countries closed without warning, leaving them in a remote corner of Finland. Having both lost their UK jobs at the same time, the trip seemed a great idea until the bad news broke and lockdown after lockdown was swiftly instigated by terrified governments.

Given that the region where they’re now stranded is totally safe due to its tiny population and remote location, the family refused British repatriation flights in order to stay where they were in their two-bedroomed, two-bathroomed luxury motorhome. The motorhome is now set on the edge of a stunning national park with magnificent views of Lapland, the local wildlife and the snow-covered scenery. The closest hospital is three hours’ drive away, the nearby village has just 117 inhabitants and its single supermarket is well-stocked and very quiet, only becoming busy during the tourist season.

Having arrived in the region to see the Northern Lights, financial issues forced them to stay longer than anticipated, with ex-chef Brett working at a Lapland restaurant over the worst of the winter until the virus hit and the venue was forced to close along with the borders, thus leaving them unable to move on to their next stop. Regretfully, they’re considering abandoning their original plans and heading for a warmer location such as Morocco. As regards changing their nomadic lifestyle after the pandemic ends, they’re far from giving up on their dream of exploring the world on the cheap, no matter what problems they encounter.
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