Campers Unable To Leave Forest During Covid-19 Outbreak, Decide To Stay & Live Life On The Wild Side

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Campers live in forest to stay away from Covid-19

With Vietnam suffering from a heavy Covid-19 outbreak, recording thousands of new infections daily, it’s probably a good idea to minimize social contact for now. Many people have joked that they might as well retreat into forests and mountains and live life as a hermit until things calm down.

As it turns out, that’s exactly what a group of campers did. As the pandemic hit while they were on a camping trip, they decided to stay in a forest for over a month to stay safe.

Here’s how they managed to survive.

The campers had to feed on mushrooms in the forest for a time as shops were closed due to Covid-19 restrictions

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They set up camp inside a forest to stay away from Covid-19

Image credit: VNExpress

Last Sunday, VNExpress reported on the case of Nguyễn Huy, a 33-year-old tour guide and experienced camper in Saigon.

In late May 2021, when the Covid-19 situation in Vietnam had yet to worsen, Huy took a group of tourists on a trekking trip to Trị An Lake – Đồng Nai Province.

After the tourists returned home, Huy then went on to a long camping trip with 3 of his friends across several destinations in Vietnam. But by the time he was prepared to go home in early July, Saigon had entered a state of strict social distancing to curb the spread of the virus.

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They could buy groceries at first, but later had to forage from the forest

Image credit: VNExpress

As a result, the group of 4 decided to set up camp in the Dinh Mountain in Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu Province, 80km from Saigon’s center. They stayed deep inside the forest to minimize contact with strangers and remain safe.

At first, they could go to the nearby town every couple of days for groceries. But starting from 17th July, the social distancing order extended to Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu and shut down all shops there as well.

Unyielding, the four turned to foraging for whatever food they could find in the forest, from mushrooms to bamboo shoots to freshwater crabs.

According to what Huy shared with VNExpress, his entire group consisted of seasoned campers, and they came well-equipped with tents, cooking tools, and clothing, so they didn’t encounter many difficulties. As it was rainy season, mushrooms were ample as well.

They later got support from a local pagoda

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They were well-equipped with tents and tools

Image credit: VNExpress

After two weeks, Huy’s group met a forest ranger who urged them to come down to make health declarations to authorities. They complied, and were then recommended to take refuge at a local pagoda on the mountain, 3km from their original camping spot.

Mushrooms gathered from the forest

Image credit: VNExpress

The pagoda had a lot of supplies in store, and the monks were all too ready to welcome them. As there were no visitors due to travel restrictions, the campers didn’t have to worry about Covid-19  either.

Since then, the group has been staying with the monks, helping them with chores.

Huy told VNExpress that he felt lucky to be able to live so close to nature and enjoy plenty of fresh air despite the pandemic. The special trip also gave him the chance to obtain new experiences that’d be helpful in future camping trips.

Let’s hope we can all go on our own adventures when this is over

After months of being cooped up at home, most of us probably feel envious of Huy’s story. But let’s not stray too far from reality here: life in the wilderness is not easy, and it probably won’t suit most of us city folks.

Nevertheless, we’re happy for the man and his friends. No doubt this will be an adventure that they can look back with fondness for years to come.

We hope they stay safe for now, and hopefully, when the pandemic is snuffed out, we can all go on camping adventures of our own.

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Cover image adapted from VNExpress

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