When Rachel and Tyler Torres arrived at their Irving home Monday morning, they’d been gone a total of 48 days.
The couple had been on their honeymoon when passengers aboard their cruise ship, the Diamond Princess, were diagnosed with the coronavirus. That meant they, along with the others on board, ended up quarantined.
“Whenever we start to think back to the start of the quarantine, it kind of shakes us up just a bit. It’s not every day someone takes complete control of your life for the unforeseeable future and you don’t know what’s going to happen,” said Tyler Torres.
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In the beginning, the couple said they worried whether they’d get enough food or clean water. But eventually conditions improved, and they began to count down the days until their release.
Then just three days before they were scheduled to return home, they were notified they’d be evacuated by the American government.
They were loaded onto a charter bus and then a cargo plane.
Twenty-six hours later, they touched down in San Antonio where they were told they’d be held by the C.D.C. for a second 14-day period locked away from the rest of the world.
Throughout both quarantines, they did what they could to stay connected to the outside world.
“You don’t have any choice over what happens in your life pretty much. The only choice that we did have was starting the blog, starting whatever Facebook she was doing, starting all of the interviews. It kept us busy. It gave us a sense of purpose,” said Tyler.
After gaining a following answering people’s questions about what was happening in quarantine via Reddit, the couple started their blog, thetorrestravels.com.
So far, it’s had 50,000 visitors.
The couple now hopes to use the platform to shake the stigma they say they’ve felt upon their return.
“Our hope is that we’re able to help keep some of the stigma away, just keeping a human face on people who’ve been quarantined and keeping a human face on people who’ve been exposed to coronavirus,” said Rachel Torres.
They also say they’re now preparing for a possible coronavirus outbreak at home, which both the CDC and Dallas city officials have warned is imminent.
“We’re happy to be home and we know how to protect ourselves from it. We’ve been through the quarantine. We know the drill. What we’re just going to aim to do is just keep educating people and hoping to prevent some of that spread,” said Tyler.
Though they plan to enjoy their time back home with their dog Remy for now, they’re already planning future travel including a cruise using credit from the Princess Cruises.