What began as a dream trip has turned into a nightmare for a couple as the coronavirus pandemic has put the brakes on their world tour, forcing them to be holed up in their car in a parking lot in South Florida, according to news agency AFP. With their tourist visas set to expire on Tuesday, the couple is growing increasingly nervous.
Aldo Giaquinto, a 38-year-old Italian, and his wife Vera Kozlovskaia quit their jobs in 2016 to set off on a global expedition in their car nicknamed “Toto.” “We had a dream,” said Aldo, “and our dream was to drive around the world with a car.” For four years they were able to live that dream. They travelled through the Nordic countries, Russia and China and then down to Southeast Asia before touring through Australia. In 2018, they drove through South America to Panama and spent 2019 driving through Canada and the United States.
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When they reached Florida, the coronavirus pandemic stuck. The travel restrictions imposed by country after country felt like doors slamming shut around the world. And now, Giaquinto added, “We’re stuck here in Florida.”
Parked in front of a Walmart store in Hallandale, the couple’s “Toto” has now become their home. They sleep and wash up in it. The “kitchen” is a stove in the trunk. Internet connection comes free from nearby stores. The couple normally relies on public facilities, like restrooms on public beaches, but “right now everything is closed,” Kozlovskaia said. That, fortunately, does not include the nearby Walmart store.
They are especially thankful for the support of locals who drop by to chat or offer food. “We are overwhelmed by the amount of people trying to help. It’s amazing how many good people are around,” Kozlovskaia said. “It is a little difficult, but we try to keep positive, hoping for the best,” she said.
The couple had next planned a trip to Africa and then were looking forward to settling in Italy. But for now, everything has come to a halt and they are forced to stay in Florida till the infection subsides. “We will wait,” Aldo said. “Like everybody is doing.”
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