social distancing

Online Book Clubs and Pickled Vegetables: People Share What They’ve Been Doing at Home

When you’re self-isolating, you have all the time in the world.
01 April 2020, 9:52am
Self-Isolation Projects, Coronavirus Pandemic, home quarantine
All photos courtesy of the subjects.

Normally, staying at home for weeks on end would leave us with a bad case of cabin fever and serious FOMO. But with the coronavirus outbreak, home isolation, as a matter of choice or not, has become the leading lifestyle for many.

Ages ago, I bought a watercolour kit with the aim of learning the craft as my weekend pursuit. But this artistic endeavour took a backseat to tempting outings with friends, and never really took off. Little did I know, the boredom of social distancing would be the ultimate motivator for me to pick up a paintbrush and finally start creating. Since then, I’ve been happily filling pages of my notebook with brushstrokes of watercolour on the weekends and it has kind of turned into my own little quarantine project.

For many others, this period of self-isolation is also a period of self-improvement. VICE spoke to some people about their pet projects during home quarantine.

Debbie, United States

“I started making wreaths. I will be making one for friends and family once my Amazon shipment gets in.”

Jyotirmoy Gupta, India

“Coronavirus has put India on lockdown and we are under self-isolation. I did this photo project where I took my imagination a little far. We consider our homes the safest of all places, here we are free from all of our worries — physical and mental. But I imagined a dystopian world where we are not even safe in our homes. We can't let our guards down even in our homes. Through my work, I want to show the normalisation of panic, how we accept even the most absurd realities. The past few weeks have shown us that it takes very little time for an imagined dystopia to become a reality.”

Dara Villonco, Philippines

“I’ve been making clay COVID-19 beads into earrings. I plan to sell them to raise money and donate a chunk of the proceeds to a relief agency. I can’t sell them during the quarantine period because I don’t want to endanger the life of a delivery driver for a non-essential item. It’s frustrating not being able to help right away but I’m trying to do my part.”


“For my self isolation project, I’m trying to make the most with limited food supplies by cooking from scratch and dusting off old memories of recipes from my grandmother. First up, pickling vegetables! This is my first attempt — pickled carrots.”

Pauline, Mexico

FC Barcelona’s Riqui Puig appears to have started the 10-touch toilet paper challenge which turned into a viral trend on social media.

“So, I started football juggling because of the toilet paper juggling challenge. I was nominated by my friend and practised a little bit to post a decent achievement online. I ended up loving the practice more than the workout and seeing my progress makes me feel good about myself and definitely is a great distraction during quarantine.”

Sammie, Singapore

“Due to the coronavirus situation, many of the book reading circles I am part of have turned to online sessions. That actually allowed me to join my friends in Amsterdam, where I spent a semester on exchange, for their book club online over Zoom. I thought I would never be able to do that again after leaving the city. The time zone presented some challenges (discussing books at 3 AM, anyone?) but I was honestly just grateful that I could ‘meet’ them again. The discussion went as well as any physical one, and I am planning to host more of such book reading events in the upcoming weeks!”

Interviews have been edited for length and clarity.

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