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Hi everyone! My name is Larissa Pagán and I work as a Social Media Marketing Specialist at Nativa. Recently, as part of another project outside of Nativa, I had the chance to take on an important assignment outside of the country, in Bali, Indonesia. While it felt like a dream at first, it quickly turned into a nightmare…

Business Travel in a Pandemic is like a Telenovela

My business travel trip to Bali was full of suspense and drama with a constant plot twist. Let’s start from the beginning. In early July, I had a scheduled trip to Bali, Indonesia, to work on a full month film production. I knew that is was going to be a long shot, but we were a team of five people, and we prepared ourselves for every situation that we could imagine. We even had a suitcase full of medications, masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, and medical certifications that we did not have COVID-19. Everything was planned thoroughly, and we were ready to work and of course, enjoy Bali.

business travel in a pandemic - bali

Goal destination – Bali.

It wasn’t going to be easy. We set off from San Juan, Puerto Rico, arriving in Boston for a one day stop to catch our next airplane to Abu Dhabi and our final connection to Bali.  We made the most of it! Our day in Boston was incredible; we ate at Mike’s Pastry, a Boston favorite since 1946 full of the best cannolis in the world. I highly recommend it! The city felt like a ghost town however; very few people walking around and only occasional cars on the street. It was perfect for a bicycle ride, and so we did. The next morning we woke up ready to go to Bali! We got to the airport, got into the 3-hour long line and when we were finally ready to drop our luggage…

Drama! They had canceled our flight and rescheduled it for two days later.

business travel in a pandemic - mikes pastry

Mike’s Pastry in Boston

Usually, when flight cancellations happen it is not that bad, but in the middle of a pandemic, it is an ordeal. The difficulty was further complicated due to the fact that because of newly imposed health regulations, many hotels and even Airbnbs are not accepting last-minute guests. So for readers considering ad-hoc traveling, be prepared to struggle to find a place to stay last-minute. The stress intensified but we eventually found a hotel to crash for the night. As you may imagine due to the eleventh-hour rush, it was very expensive for one room in a, let’s just say, ‘not that good’ hotel.

Time (Continues to) Pass in Boston

After that struggle, two days passed, and we were still in Boston praying for our flight not to get canceled. We journeyed back to the airport, excited to get on the plane, full of imaginations of ourselves on a beautiful Indonesian beach. But, drama again took the stage. This time, the regulations had been replaced, and now a visa was required to gain entrance to Bali. In only two days, everything had changed, the borders were closed, the airport was stricter, and again we did not have a place to stay.

business travel in a pandemic - airport

Me. Slightly frustrated…

Pivoting to a New Venue: Miami

Long story short, the whole team ended up going to Miami to create the production in a charming apartment near the beach. In the end, it wasn’t that bad, but sadly, I will have to wait a bit longer to get to those golden beaches in Bali.

From this experience, my advice is that if you are thinking of business travel, it is better to wait for another time. Take it from me, right now is not a good time. Stay home. Stay safe, and if you’re going out, wear your mask.


Check out Nativa’s new podcast on Spotify for a discussion of race, culture, and business.

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