Contribution From Peter Solomon

After spending close on 3 months in both hotel and self-quarantine this past 2 years, I have realized that knowledge is power, and power helps you rise above adversity. The experience I have endured has empowered me to be able to pass on to others, what I believe are simple and easy-to-follow ideas and structure to help you through the quarantine process, most of which will be extremely foreign to you, as it was to me.

I am an extremely experienced traveller (in fact once I worked out that the number of hours I have spent in the air exceeds two entire years) and have spent many nights in countries and hotel rooms alone, so I have developed a sense of what is needed to survive lockdown on an extended basis. The least of which is being able to write this “survival manual” to help while the hours away with purpose.

As I moved from one lot of quarantine to the next, I managed to fine-tune the things that I needed and what worked previously and what didn’t. I write this on Day 4 of my current quarantine and have found these first four days have literally flown by.

Good luck and I hope this helps anyone in quarantine to cope. I will however preface all this advice with the fact that it’s based on my personal experience and is not based on any scientific or medical facts, but it works for me!

Planning ahead

One thing that is imperative is to plan your lockdown ahead. Knowing you are heading to quarantine should give you the chance to plan how you will spend your days and what will keep both your mind and body active, both of which are equally important. It is from this that you can create a schedule or plan, that gives you discipline and purpose and will get you through the hours.

Doing this alone or with a friend, family member or a child is fundamentally the same, with the differences being that some of these need to be adjusted to work with others.

The areas that you need to plan are broken into a few categories: Documentation, Health and fitness, Other activities, Food and drink, Clothes and packing, Communication and entertainment, Shopping in advance and during lockdown, Cleaning and sanitization.

This refers to your daily schedule, which I highly recommend you print and have at least two copies of to put up in two places around your room. This forms the basis of your routine, and it doesn’t matter if you break it, but try to stick to it, as best as possible. That way, each day just flies past.

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Daily planning

I have attached an example for reference of one I produced for myself and my son that incorporates individual time for both of us and joint time that is important for children.

Health and fitness

It is very important to think of your physical fitness during this time as you will be limited by space and the opportunity for exercise. With some creativity you can do as much as you could in a gym (within reason). A few basics will make all the difference to how you feel daily and upon exit from the quarantine.

The tools I have used are listed here:

  • Yoga mat
  • TRX (Be careful not to rip the door off)
  • Elastic resistance band set
  • Small resistance band
  • Training program
  • Exercise bike

I purchased all the small items before I entered quarantine and downloaded an app which I found amazing. I used Chris Hemsworth’s “Centr” which is excellent for non-equipment workouts. I rented the bike through the hotel but not all propose this service (Editor’s note: Some quarantine-related Facebook groups exist where quarantiners buy and sell bikes and/or treadmills). In this case a skipping rope will suffice.

Activities

games and puzzles

If you are alone or with a child, it’s great to have other things to do. A good set of games will help the time go by as will a jigsaw puzzle or a model you can build. They are relatively cheap and the more complex the more time it will take to complete. There are numerous brands or types so choose one that suits your interests.

Food & drink

This is an area of much debate depending on where you are in quarantine. The food delivered is mostly uninspiring and due to the Covid restrictions, comes in disposable packaging, so it can be disposed of as if it was toxic waste. I together with a friend, who was also in quarantine in the middle of last year, set up a challenge to re-plate the food delivered. We had a heck of a lot of fun seeing what our artistic talents could come up with. 

Not only did it make it more appealing to look at, and arguably more appetizing, but it helped kill some more time.

I have advanced this time to having a few cooking items that I purchased to help both warm food and cook extras. You must however make sure that these are for boiling and heating only, so as not to create smoke or fire hazards. I also have a handheld Nespresso machine as I’m a coffee addict.

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Here is a list of the equipment I brought with me:

  • Handheld coffee maker
  • Coffee cups
  • Glasses
  • Kitchen knife
  • Small cutting board
  • Sandwich maker
  • Egg boiler
  • Milk frother (also great for hot chocolate)
  • Cutlery
  • Plates and bowls (melamine are best)
  • Tongs
  • Spatula
  • Swiss army knife (comes in super handy)

All of this took very little space and really makes a huge difference to the experience. You feel as though you’re eating a proper meal. Not one from a paper bag and cardboard box.

On top of the utensils and equipment you will need some basic food items (Editor’s note: Many grocery stores, restaurants and food delivery services deliver to quarantine hotels). These will vary according to tastes, but I will tell you what I purchased:

  • Coffee pods and tea
  • Small UHT milk cartons
  • Sugar or sweetener
  • Crisps
  • Savoury biscuits
  • Sweet biscuits
  • Ham and cold cuts
  • Cheese slices
  • Cup noodles (Indo Mie is great)
  • Energy balls
  • Spreadable butter
  • Vegemite and peanut butter
  • Bread rolls for paninis and bread slices
  • Fruits
  • Nuts and cheese for snacks

Clothes & packing

This is very much up to the individual but also depends on where you are going. If you have the space, I will pack two cases. The first for all the fitness, food, equipment, and utensils etc. The second for personal items of clothes and any games.

You are not going anywhere, so you don’t need much. Maybe a shirt and tie for those business Zoom calls, but that’s about it. Dress comfortable. Shorts, T-shirts, hoodie if it gets cold and track pants are a good idea. A pair of flip-flops and running shoes are enough. One outfit for leaving and arriving is ample. Don’t overpack clothes. Leave space for the stuff you really need.

One thing that I did buy and bring, is a foldable bucket to wash my clothes in. You’re in a hotel that potentially has had guests with COVID-19 (Editor’s note: Antibacterial wet wipes, a dishwasher, sponge or toilet bowl cleaning stamps might be handy too). You may wish to wash your things in your own container as I do. I brought a small bottle of clothes washing liquid, so all is very easy to clean.

Communications & entertainment

I hate being out of touch and not being able to watch what I want, so this is an area I really put a lot of focus on.

Hotel Wi-Fi is notoriously bad as I have experienced before. As a result, I brought my own mobile Wi-Fi router (D-Link) with a mobile data SIM card and I attached this to a high-powered mobile arial. These can be purchased in many specialist stores and are normally used for vehicles where Wi-Fi is needed.

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This whole setup has been amazingly successful and allows me to do video calls and stream everything from Netflix (Editor’s note: Find inspiration in 10 Hong Kong Movies On Netflix You Must Watch), Spotify to Sport. I also brought with me my Apple TV and a long HDMI cable to connect all this together.

Make sure you also bring with you extension leads with at least 4 ports for AC outlets. You will need all this. This time I purchased a multiport USB hub also to charge all my items at once. It might look messy, but it’s out of the way and functions seamlessly.

I have since done another quarantine since writing this, but to be honest this has been the easiest. This time my challenge was weight loss and fitness. Meal replacements and exercise and I have lost my goal of 10 kilos and managed to stay healthy and fit throughout. Please seek medical advice before attempting this as it’s very severe. It gave me a goal of NO alcohol for the whole time and weight loss which daily gave me a huge boost to my morale. (Editor’s note: Read our article The Mental Toll of the World’s Longest Quarantine And How To Deal With Negative Effects.)

There are many ways to approach quarantine but fundamentally if you look at it as a disciplined time of purpose, you will take away more from it than you will lose! Go get it!


Peter is a dynamic Executive, with a very strong track record in the retail value chain. He has extensive experience working internationally with excellent knowledge of and relationships internationally and in wider Asia. He is a Global Executive Director with a track record of successfully turning around, repositioning and growing businesses through product development, brand marketing, improving sourcing and supply chain strategies and developing customer accounts.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of The HK HUB.

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