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Karün Messengers and the Coronavirus: experiences and reflections

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We interviewed 9 Karün Messengers, located across different countries in Europe and also spread around Chile, to talk with them about the different experiences that the world health contingency has brought to their lives and also the reflections and lessons they have learned from this situation. (Cover: Emeliee Persson)

Among the first observations that we have been able to extract from these months of social distancing -or in some cases quarantine- we can see that: yes, we are scared and with a lot of uncertainty; This makes us realize how fragile the system that has been created over time is; We continue to feel the tremendous injustice of not correcting the social inequalities that are making large groups of the population extremely vulnerable; And, last but not least, we are witnessing incredible phenomena due to mankind historical debt to the planet.

The quarantine -mandatory in many places- has affected many people and athletes are not exempt from these complications. Our Karün Messengers are around the world: in Europe, passing through England, Portugal, and Sweden, until reaching Chile, where they are distributed throughout the country. And since in each place the health contingency due to the coronavirus has been lived in a different way, we wanted to talk with them to find out how they have had to adapt and what difficulties they have had most of not being able to be in contact with nature.

Read below the interview of 9 Karün Messengers -5 from Europe and 4 from Chile- to learn more about their experiences and the reflections that these times have brought them!

Bernardo Freitas

(Sailor - Portugal)

I’m a professional sailor and this virus took my job away for an undetermined time, and that translates into what affects many people around the world: no income. This also made me readapt my life to be home and stay mentally healthy, so I decided to take an online course on private banking to keep my head busy.

Due to the quarantine, I have no access to a gym anymore, so before the lockdown, I went to a shop and bought some elastic bands and some other training accessories. I’m using a lot a TRX, dumbbells, bands, and pillages ball and I have a road bike on a roll. Trying to work on my fitness and doing my best with the help of my personal trainer who adapted my sessions to this new reality. Also, my life turned 180 degrees: from one day to the other all my competitions were canceled and got confined at home, no more sailing since the end of February. Lots of Netflix, cooking, and home workouts. But this different moment has not been without things that I miss: By far one of the things I miss the most is the ocean! It is incredible to see how it affects me.

We are always learning, this ‘hill’ teaches us a lot and will make us give the right value to things we think are given. Everything happens for a reason and this as positive impacts too, not only negative things.

Annelie Pompe

(Freediver - Sweden)

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My training routine for the quarantine has been training every day! I start each day with yoga and a cup of coffee. Then I go running, kayaking, some Stand-Up Paddle, or I go to the gym. Also, I do at least one hike each day with my training buddy, Douglas, my dog.

My routine hasn’t changed, barely at all. I was supposed to train more free diving at this time originally, but the contest got canceled, so I’m just keeping up with my regular everyday routine. But, the sanitary contingency has affected me in a different way: All my jobs and events are canceled, and I’m being very careful whenever I’m around people because I have sensitive airways and lungs.

A positive outcome of this situation? That the world’s climate gets a relief and recovery phase, and that people value nature and free time more than money and stress.

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"(...) the world’s climate gets a relief and recovery phase, and that people value nature and free time more than money and stress"

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Adam Holm

(Outdoor Life - Sweden)

To train these days I have gone to nature and I've had to change my exercise routines to go from group sessions to solo training. Also, many of my habits have had to change suddenly and obligatorily. For example, now I move a lot less in public areas.

If there is something specific that I miss at the moment is to see and hug my friends and family. However, I feel that a positive result that we can get out of this situation is that more people will understand how everything is hyper-connected.

Emeliee Persson

(Mountaineering - Tavelsjö, Sweden)

Fortunately, I have not been much affected by the coronavirus until now. I’ve been working from home for the past 1 and a half year so my everyday life looks a lot like before. We have canceled some trips we had planned to the mountains, but we’re instead looking forward to taking those trips next winter — as a small family!

Ever since I moved out of Stockholm city and into a little town in the North, outside of Umeå, called Tavelsjö, my training has mostly taken place outside. Activities such as running, skiing, ice skating, and biking, among other things.

As mentioned later, I mostly exercise outside in nature, so Corona has not really had any interference with that. However, my training has changed a lot lately, not because of the sanitary contingency, but because I’m halfway through a pregnancy! In the beginning, I did a lot of skiing and running, but right now I’m at a stage where I want to find a more suitable type of exercise for the pregnancy. I’m looking forward to the snow thawing form the trails and roads here so that I can start biking a lot. It’s probably gonna be too bumpy for me on the terrain trails right now, but hopefully, the gravel roads are gonna do just fine for a while. I’m also looking forward to taking long walks in the woods here.

Whoever, one of the things in one of the areas that have affected me is to not being able to visit my parents and siblings now during pregnancy, it’s sad, but I really hope we will get to spend time together this summer.

Regarding the current situation in the world, I hope the economic consequences won’t be too big, but it’s definitely going to be interesting to see if there are any positive outcomes in regards to the environment. I also believe that there are many health benefits to working from home more and that people are going to see that after this.

Henry Bomby

(Sailor - Exeter, England)

I am super lucky to live in a little village in the heart of the Devon countryside just outside the city of Exeter. I have therefore been getting out around the roads and villages near me. I like to train for something outside of sailing and normally that is long-distance swimming but it has been difficult. I recently started running again which for anyone who knows me will know it something I normally hate! It's good to challenge yourself and embrace your weaknesses though and actually I have loved exploring where I live at a slower pace which has been amazing!

My routine has changed massively due to the Coronavirus. Normally when training I will spend Monday to Friday on the water, long days, testing different setups and ideas. Now I am at home supporting my wife who is pregnant and playing with our dog Ava! Ava is loving having us both home and Soph and I love gardening so we have been doing some big landscaping projects and sorting out the veg garden ready for the summer. The seedlings are growing and the compost is nearly ready, we will not quite be self-sufficient this year but we are working towards it!

Similarly, much of my sports career has been affected, with all the races canceled. The qualifier for the World's will like to be canceled so everything is up in the air. We are using the opportunity to lay a strong foundation for the campaign, lots of planning, and talking with potential project partners to help the performance side of the campaign. We can still be productive! What I miss the most is the sea. This will be the longest I have ever been away from the sea since I was a kid I think. It's not normal for me. But when we can start to train and race again it will likely be a very intense period before the World's so we will be refreshed and ready to attack it with everything we have!

Despite what is happening in the world and without denying the negative aspects, I think when I look back it will be a special memory. We will soon start our own family and I am sure life will never be the same again. We are enjoying the peace and quiet and preparing the house as best we can. It's really great to have something so exciting to look forward to in this, both personally and professionally which I think really helps. I hope everyone is okay, staying safe, and looking forward to seeing all of them out in nature very soon!

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"The seedlings are growing and the compost is nearly ready, we will not quite be self-sufficient this year but we are working towards it!"

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And what about the Karün Messengers in Chile?

Nahila Hernández

(Trail Runner - Santiago, Chile)

The quarantine has changed my routine in many ways: my daughters are not going to school so that means that they are with me 24/7, also they are buried in homework and have a thousand questions so they are constantly asking for my help and that has made it difficult for me to focus on work. Work-wise it hasn't changed much since I already worked from home but as for my training goes, which is trail-running, it has changed.

These days I have been doing cross-training, mixing disciplines, boxing, martial arts, and also military training with yoga. I also do vinyasa yoga which is a quite complete workout and I add some stairs; I live in a ten-story building and I manage as best I can.

This is going to be a complicated year for sports. So far I'm still enrolled to go to India and get a certification as a teacher. This course is the main pillar of my sporting project this year since I´m still injured and decided to lower the lift on competitions. I wanted to give more time to yoga as I´m focused on designing a system to mix the discipline with runners but the quarantine stopped everything. I work as a freelancer and that means I don't collect unemployment and I don't have a fixed income.

The sanitary contingency has led me to miss a lot of things: cold air on my face, certain smells, sounds and the freedom to move. Luckily earlier this year a got to be in a lot of outdoor events so there I had a good dose of nature.

I hope that this experience will serve us as a species to change the way we interact with nature and how dependant we are of the economic model in relation to others.

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"I work as a freelancer and that means I don't collect unemployment and I don't have a fixed income"

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Pedro Astorga

(Kayaker - Cajón del Maipo, Chile)

I live in Cajón del Maipo so I have many hills around me, that make it really easy to climb and not bump into anyone. The same goes for the river if I decide to go and row. But yes, it has been a little more difficult having less contact with people because of security reasons, I can't train alone in the Maipo River. As for training goes, I've managed from home, I do push-ups, pull-ups and I go jogging with Newen, my dog.

The quarantine in Santiago and Chile has changed a lot of things. I was going to the south of Chile for some projects frequently and that allowed me to travel a lot and I´m not doing that anymore. When I have the chance I go and “escape” to the hills and that is my moment of relief. Because even though I´m really lucky to be able to live in the situation I´m in, you still feel the stress of not being able to be with and hug the people you usually see, your family.

Coronavirus has made very difficult the situation for the sport I practice, river kayaking. In order to train harder I´m always traveling, in Chile or out of the country so practicing in the same river is not something I'm used to. One of the most important aspects of my training is to discover new rivers with different characteristics. Nonetheless, I never stop being grateful for being able to live so close to nature.

Constanza Orellana

(Functional Training - Santiago, Chile)

Quarantine in Chile has changed many things for now: I used to move everywhere to do classes and now I do them all online. Being honest I feel calm with my situation, taking full advantage of it and doing a lot of things. The bad side has been not being able to see my family, friends, and loved ones.

As for my training, I don't have a fixed schedule but I do workout every day, I go to the hills since my backyard has direct access to it. So the context has not affected me so much in that sense. I´m very focused on training for when this all ends I can go back to the mountain and practice as much sport disciplines as time allows.

Diego Señoret

(Climber - Santiago, Chile)

The quarantine has limited our movement to other places in the country and that forces us to find motivation in our home to stay strong and train for the future projects that may come. These days I´ve been doing some exercise routines in my house, some boulder, and jogging to the hill.

I´m in a very fortunate situation living in the hills and also having a group of friends in which we can train and be together every day. Just like as many people, the fact of not being working is affecting our capability of paying bills but we are trying to be as respectful as we can over the situation, avoiding crowds and taking health precautions.

What we miss from being close to nature is similar to human touch, the connection, consciousness, peace, and beauty. I think that our mission is to value and take care of nature.

I hope that this global situation becomes a moment for all human beings to be more conscious and realize how small we are in this world and that we have to be in harmony with our surroundings, respecting every living creature and earth that gives us so much. In my case, I hope to be a better person, learn every day, and learn from my mistakes, always get up.

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"Just like as many people, the fact of not being working is affecting our capability of paying bills but we are trying to be as respectful as we can over the situation (...)"

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If you have questions or suggestions you can write to us at info@karunworld.com or contact us here.



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