Why I still went to Asia with my parents for 3 weeks during the Coronavirus scare

hree weeks is a lot of time to take off from life, and away from work and husband and friends. Some might consider it a disruption. And going to Asia where Coronavirus case numbers are being increased daily, can make you question about moving forward with plans.

Our Japan cruise was canceled two weeks before departure, the same line and boat that was quarantined (with a total of 542 cases). We missed hopping on that cruise by three weeks.

Have I been emotional about going? Like anyone else Who consumes the media would be, yes. I experienced anger, annoyance and fear, waves of different emotions but not enough to consume me. My parents said they were still going, and so I decided I was still going. Friends have calmed my fears, equipped me with health suggestions (you know who you are thank you), some expressed fear for me, and I know for certainty my best friends are praying for my safety and health. All those things don’t guarantee anything of course, but in this life we aren’t guaranteed anything when we get into our car or even walk outside. So to not live life and miss out on an adventure of a lifetime just because it feels unsafe, isn’t a life I want to live.

Grand hotel balcony in Taipei Taiwan Diana Elizabeth Phoenix travel blogger wearing white dress looking into city

It’s a bit unusual to have family – aunties and cousins that life in another country. Most of us have been long time American citizens with a long history of immigration that happened hundreds of years ago. But for me, my family legally immigrated to San Francisco when my grandma was a baby, and my dad’s father (who I unfortunately never met because he passed away before I was born), was born in SF. I am the fourth generation, Chinese American.

My mother’s family is from Taiwan and she studied in SF where she met my dad in her twenties and stayed. She was also a famous Asian pop star. She married my dad and applied for citizenship, passed the test and now has dual citizenship in America and Taiwan.

Anyway, I have to first say I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for my best friend Meagan. To make a long story short I got invited on the trip, then disinvited 😆 because my mom and I can butt heads and my dad said he didn’t want me to ruin his trip hahahaaa. But because Meagan logically explained how this trip would be one I needed with a list of reasons, when I was home visiting my parents, I marched back down the stairs in my old house in Northern California and made my case and point (thanks to Meagan) and reinvited myself and had to make a pact with my mom we wouldn’t fight on the trip.

This trip was planned last summer. Once the coronavirus was announced however, boy did that change how I felt a bit. We couldn’t get a refund on hotels or flights, plans were made and it was either go or stay home. Meagan swooped in, along with Brenna, Heather, many of you on Instagram who have messaged me, the RN who gave me an immunity IV, and my aesthetician Vicky who reassured me I’d be fine and to go.  Oh, and yes, hubby who though isn’t a doctor but works in medical device sales said to go.

After reading there are 25 cases in Taiwan and 2 million people, I laughed when I read I had a higher chance of getting hit by a motorcycle!

Balcony of the grand hotel in Taipei Taiwan

These are a few reasons why I’m traveling to Taiwan and Japan during the Coronavirus outbreak

  • I haven’t seen my mother’s side of the family for over 20 years. I want to be reintroduced to family members. It pains me to say this but who knows when I will see them again.
  • My mom will be 70 and my dad will be 71 this year and I haven’t lived by my parents since I was 17 and left to college. I think some might take having their parents close by for granted.  I am glad I made the decision to attend college away from home for the growth it gave me, which propelled me to live in other states and cities before I settled down to a city of choice, but the downside is I don’t get to be by my parents and do life with them anymore. I’m sure my parents are fine with this, haha, and the point of parenting is for your kids to fly the coop of course, so the older I get, the more I treasure them and my time with them. I am sure whether you live by your parents, don’t, or have lost your parents, if you love your parents and are close with them, you understand the weight of this reason alone.
  • There is a very good chance I won’t see some of these relatives in my lifetime again…
  • I’m meeting cousins I haven’t met before.
  • Because as the waitress in Vegas told me (when we saw Mariah few days before I left), “What are you supposed to do, stop living?”
  • I will never ever have such an opportunity in life to do this again.
  • I know what I’m experiencing now will one day be a treasured memory. Ok brb crying.

Again, I’m in Taiwan, not China and there is a travel ban on China so no one who is there or goes in pretty much can’t leave. This is of course an incredibly sad circumstance but helps keep cases from spreading.

We still have plans to go into Japan if it doesn’t get canceled – no cruise ship this time. All my friends are thrilled I’m not on the ship where it would be harder to avoid if it was on there. *Update the tour to Japan has been canceled the day before due to 8 backing out due to the scare. It seems like the Lord doesn’t want us to be there right now.

How I prepared myself a bit for the trip packing  – as recommended by friends

  • Keep the gut and immune system healthy. I packed enough vitamins, wipes, and disinfectant. I weighed it and it was 5 lbs. That was more than my toiletries.
  • Thieves oil with lotion on the bottom of my feet (thanks Lauren and Jodie).
  • D3, charcoal tablets, apple cider vinegar, probiotic gummies, B12 tablets (thanks Bren and Tal). Colloidal silver spray and droplets (hubby).
  • Lots of liquid hand sanitizer which we use, and disinfectant wipes we haven’t used except for on the airplane.
  • Wash those hands and be as hygienic as always – just a bit more cautious!
  • We packed masks but we haven’t really worn them. A majority of locals are, and pretty much all business employees are.

I did emailed a will of my belongings to Benjamin before I left. We already have a trust in place. The will is just for my belongings like my grandmother’s fur coats, my beauty supplies, heirloom jewelry, camera equipment, who writes a blog post or social media post to tell everyone why I have disappeared. It sounds morbid, but it also is preparation and avoiding it in order to be comfortable doesn’t prevent it from happening. Truthfully I’ve had this in the back of my mind for a while.

Night view of Taipei on Yangmingshan National park

Observances of traveling in Asia with the coronavirus outbreak

  • When we landed we had to fill out a card for the Coronavirus – if we have been to China in the last two weeks and if we have a fever or cough. We were then asked again at immigration and they checked the passport for any China passport stamps.
  • Lots of businesses are scanning foreheads for fever temperatures before you can enter. Hand sanitizer is right by the entrances as well.
  • Businesses are hurting. It is very slow everywhere, hotels, restaurants – the government issued precautions to stay home unless necessary. No tourists from China due to the travel ban.

Of course all of these precautions won’t guarantee anything (such is life) and both sides can debate which is best to avoid any risk like simply stay at home, but my goal is not write an argumentative essay but rather explain why I’ve taken a “risk” if you would consider it that. *wink*

Calla lily field farm in Yangmingshan national park

My goal is living in the now, spending time with my parents while they are here and now, while being safe and aware, make memories, and knowing the risk was worth it in the end. YOLO!

Here at some of the aunties and cousins I’ve been able to connect with so far!

Thank you for being along on this journey with me, I have certainly enjoyed sharing all these amazing experiences with you on the blog and social media. I am looking forward to sharing a summary of the trip and my experiences when I return. xx

Diana Elizabeth saw Korean beauty products and she might try some and attempt the look? If she sees it she might go back and pick out some things.


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Diana Elizabeth Steffen setting the table for her annual garden party


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Diana Elizabeth is an author, photographer, and obsessive thrift shopper. You can typically find her in the garden wrist deep in dirt, at a local estate sale or planning her next creative themed party. She continues to blog weekly.


  • Carmen

    Beautiful post, Diana! The most important thing is that you are living in the moment and making great memories with your loved ones. No one really knows about tomorrow, except the Almighty. Just wrap yourself around Psalm 91, trust in Him, and He will take care of you.

  • MK

    Di I’m sitting here, it feels like a world away, wishing I could hug you. Tears in my eyes, so proud of your heart, perspective, the treasured memories you’re making & just being the bold, beautiful person you are. This is one big adventure & I love how you’re totally aware & present about that truth. Thank you for being open enough to let me talk you into going all those months ago I love you so much, my kindred spirit. I’m so proud of you! MK


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