People

Confined and yet connected

With 3.5 billion human beings confined to their homes, how can we remain fully engaged with the outside world without leaving the house? Here’s a selection of initiatives that we find inspiring.

Together at home!

It is said that music soothes the soul, and this saying is more relevant now than ever. Social media is abuzz with gestures of sharing, and artists are joining in to help their fans keep their spirits up. On St. Patrick’s Day, U2 singer Bono performed a new song on Facebook in tribute to health care workers. Every day, Coldplay’s lead singer, Chris Martin, plays some of the band’s biggest hits live, taking requests from his fans. James Hetfield from the group Metallica is uploading the group’s old concerts and posting performances from their European tour.

Singer Chris (Christine and the Queens) performs a show every evening at 7 p.m. on Instagram. At the same time, Mika offers a musical cooking session in English.

The world of classical music has not been left out. Among the most popular are French violinist Renaud Capuçon and his brother Gautier, a cellist, with their daily offerings for music lovers, each from his own living room. Russian-German pianist Igor Levit also gives daily recitals for his followers, with the motto « No Fear ». The famous French actor Fabrice Lucchini has taken to reading out La Fontaine’s famous Fables, a French literary classic, on Instagram. It’s hard to keep up with the number of famous comedians around the world posting sketches about their lives under lockdown.

Other initiatives from less well-known sources have had global success. For example, the DJ D-Nice started playing live sets for several hours at a time on Instagram, to overcome his boredom and to provide some entertainment for others. By word of mouth, his #ClubQuarantine has now brought hundreds of thousands of people together for a global party, including Janet Jackson, Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama and Drake.

From the balcony with love

In Italy, videos of the tenor Maurizio Marchini performing from his balcony in Florence have gone viral, as have videos of the soprano Laura Baldassari, singing from her window in Milan. Windows and balconies have also become a prime spot for people to express their solidarity and gratitude to their caregivers, who are on the front line in the fight against the pandemic. The Italians, Spaniards and French now gather at their windows every evening, singing together and applauding to show their support. So many moving moments of collective emotion.

How to avoid becoming sedentary

Being sedentary does not mean being immobile. Under lockdown, exercise is essential to keep your spirits and fitness up. Many sports clubs and coaches are offering online classes for their members. The world’s greatest athletes are also getting involved. For example, boxer Sarah Ourahmoune, Olympic silver medalist at the 2016 Rio Games, offers training programmes on her Instagram account. Her programmes include beginner level, advanced level, and a level for seniors and complete novices, and even parent and child sessions with fun exercises, including plank rock paper scissors!

Some free apps, such as Freeletics, a personalised online coaching app with built-in AI, create a customised program for you, according to your profile and your objectives (muscle strengthening, weight loss, cardio, etc.).

Keeping the kids occupied

Governments and teachers are mobilised to ensure that education carries on, and home schooling is now the norm for millions of families. But it’s not always easy to keep children occupied the rest of the time. While teenagers, already very much connected, remain in touch with friends, entertaining the little ones can be more complicated…Hollywood stars are reading to children via the Instagram account @SaveWithStories. Margot Robbie, Laura Dern, Pink and many others have already taken part. The same initiative is in place in France with « Une histoire et Oli », a series of podcasts recorded by authors and celebrities and broadcast on national radio. For astronauts, lockdown is their daily reality! We also want show our appreciation for the initiative thought up by the Cité de l’Espace (Space Center) in Toulouse. The amusement park has decided to continue entertaining children remotely, posting 15-minute #AstronauteChezSoi (#AstronautAtHome) missions on YouTube. Fun challenges about the constraints of living aboard a spaceship: proving that you grow when in bed at night, like Thomas Pesquet does aboard the ISS, why astronauts eat spicy food, how to cut your hair in zero gravity, etc. A chance for kids to have fun while learning, and to walk in the footsteps of great astronauts. Other favorite hobbies of little ones: arts and crafts. For a change from colouring and other painting-based activities, give origami a try. The paper aeroplane remains a best seller across all generations, a safe bet that entertains all children, everywhere! The Internet has numerous folding tutorials, from simple demonstrations to much more sophisticated ones. Perfect for introducing kids to the notions of aerodynamics and who knows, maybe help them find their future calling?

Organise your future travels

Keeping up the #intolife spirit is all about looking to the future, by preparing your next trips for when normal life resumes. How about using this momentary interruption to our lives to improve a language, or to learn the basics of the language of your future destinations? There are many free language learning apps available; you have no excuse not to give it a go!

It is a difficult time, but the Covid-19 epidemic and forced lockdown is giving people the chance to invent new ways of communicating, exchanging and sharing to help combat isolation. At ATR, our mission is to connect people and communities responsibly. For the time being, the most responsible way to connect might be remotely. Support healthcare workers by following WHO advice, self-isolating and practicing social distancing. Our operators will be ready to fly you to some amazing places when it is safe to do so. Until then, stay safe and take care!

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