For many of us, coronavirus has put a stop to many of our plans and life has come to an abrupt standstill. Holidays have been cancelled, schools have been shut and in the UK our daily life has changed dramatically. Instead of going out, we’re having to find comfort in our own homes, but for Colm Lynch and many other young Brits who were abroad when coronavirus struck, being stuck at home in the UK would have been a dream compared to what he’s had to endure. 

On the 14th of March, 22 year old Lynch from Reading left the UK for what was meant to be a trip of a lifetime. After working tirelessly since he graduated from Cardiff University last year, Lynch had planned to spend the year travelling South America, however once he arrived in Argentina, the country followed others around the world and went into lockdown. 

Lynch had hoped to witness the beauties of Argentina but instead, was confined “in a tiny hostel room for 22 hours a day”. His misfortunes began when he flew from Buenos Aires to the city of Bariloche, the very day the country decided to go on lockdown on the 19th March. 

“When I got there no hostel would take me as I hadn’t been in the country for 14 days”. 

“Following instruction, I was told by the police to get a flight back to Buenos Aires and try and get back to the UK.  But this proved difficult as airlines were selling tickets on flights that had already been cancelled”. 

With reports of Europeans being discriminated against whilst In different countries, I asked Lynch whether he had experienced any animosity from the locals of Argentina and he seemed to concur “there has been some aggressive behaviour from police and local businesses”. 

In terms of Covid effecting the rest of his travel plans, Colm said ‘it’s pretty much cancelled my trip’ 

‘I’m now stuck in a hostel for the next month at least; maybe even longer’

“The worst bit about it was that when the country went into lockdown they closed the embassy making it almost impossible to get a hold of anyone the only way you can speak to someone is through either fb or twitter”.

Unfortunately, Lynch’s story is becoming more familiar, and it’s impossible to know whether gap years will be able to take place for the class of 2020.