Isle away the hours: YouTube star spends lockdown stranded on remote island off the Somali coast
A Polish blogger and traveller is spending the lockdown stuck on the remote Yemeni desert island of Socotra. Located off the coast of Somalia and with only 60,000 inhabitants it’s a perfect spot for self-isolation and introducing the incredible isle to the wider world.
Eva Zu Beck, aged 29, along together with a small group of other international tourists arrived on Socotra on March 11, just before most countries introduced travel bans. Faced with the dilemma of a long and complicated journey home or remaining on this almost forgotten piece of land, Eva decided to stay.
In a video blog posted on YouTube on March 22, she explained her reasoning: “I decided to stay because I thought it would be better than to fly across four countries and several international airports to a place I don’t even call home because I don’t really have one.
“Staying here, on this island with no cases of coronavirus and so isolated that all the flights to and from the island have now been cancelled nobody new can come here. Seemed like an interesting idea for a quarantine.”
Socotra is a dream for any off-the-beaten-track explorer. Due to its location and limited influence from the outside world, the island boasts a unique ecosystem with plants and animals not found anywhere in the world. The unworldly landscape is emphasized by the peculiar dragon blood trees.
For the first part of her stay, the Polish traveller who became a social media sensation after her solo journeys in Pakistan, stayed in a tent on the coast of the naturally isolated island. With no cases of coronavirus, and thus no curfew or quarantine, together with the few remaining foreigners she lived a simple life of hiking and eating fish bought from the locals or ones they caught themselves.
Now, Eva has moved to the mountains in the centre of the island, staying with a host family and even attempting Ramadan fasting with them. However, after two and a half months on Socotra, the situation is not as idyllic as before.
On May 19 she wrote on Instagram: “Currently, many cases [of coronavirus - TFN] are being reported in mainland Yemen, and with some boat traffic to the island, not all of it properly quarantined (as it seems), locals have concerns. People (not tourists) have continued to arrive on Socotra. (…)
“Before, it felt safe to travel to different places around the island, but that’s no longer the case. Over the last three weeks, I’ve been spending the majority of my time in a family home in one village and intend to keep it this way.”
Apart from discovering and sharing the local culture with the wider world, using the weak internet connection the Pole can get, Eva decided to aid her new friends. Living off her savings, she is using the income from her YouTube channel to help local NGOs.
“We’re extremely lucky and privileged to be here. Personally, I thank the universe every single day for allowing me to come here and stay here on this beautiful island that is filled with such incredible and kind people,” Eva declared.