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Detours from home: To save our relationship, we started a podcast

[Editor’s note: Detours from home is a Rappler column where readers can share about the new things they have learned while in quarantine. This is a story about a new couple who had to be creative to make their long-distance relationship work. You, too, can share your own Detours from home story.]

Did you know that COVID-19 is not only taking lives but it’s killing relationships as well?

It’s all over the news and Twitter feeds – divorce rates are spiking, people are breaking up, married couples are on each other’s throats being indoors and together 24/7. Young couples are apart and not allowed to see each other. 

It’s especially hard on new relationships. 

Take it from me, someone who just started a new relationship at the start of this year. I’m currently based in Cebu doing business, while he is practicing law in Manila. Long-distance is tough, but we had plans to close the gap and move his law practice to my city by mid-year.

Of course, the world had different plans. 

A day before my boyfriend Ken is supposed to fly to Cebu, the nationwide lockdown (also known as Enhanced Community Quarantine) was issued. All flights canceled. All plans postponed.

Because of the pandemic, business operations have ceased. His plans to move his law practice to Cebu were derailed. Like everyone else, we’re just as confused. How would this do for our careers and our relationship?

We continued to make our relationship work by calling each other everyday. The first few months of a relationship is supposed to be the honeymoon phase. But the pandemic has somehow sped up the getting-to-know process. Sometimes it feels like we’re already like one of those old married couples.

For example, we sometimes get into phone conversations that start with a harmless ‘What should we watch on Netflix?’ but would somehow evolve into heated debates because of the polarity of some of our views. 

Neither one of us would concede very easily.

It’s either because the lockdown situation has taken a toll on us or we just have too much free time to invest our feelings in petty arguments. 

It’s dangerous when two energetic go-getters suddenly have nothing to do. It will naturally cause some friction. You’re suddenly void of activities. Days are long and your time is more than enough – there are no deals to close, no contracts to review, no meetings to schedule, no hearings to attend to.

That’s when we realize that we’re on to something here. In one of our daily phone conversations (around the third week of ECQ), we decided, why not record our conversations? What do you think of starting a podcast?

What do you think of starting a podcast?

So, we did.

And it grounded our relationship. 

We started a podcast to share our opinions and musings on anything under the sun – mostly we like to talk about the fringes of history, culture, anthropology, law, business, and economics.

In our podcast ‘What do you think of?’ we explore different topics per episode—what do you think of the Mongol Empire? …of a billion? …of bitcoin? …of salsa dancing?

Producing the podcast took a lot of time from our idle days and we became more productive. Making a podcast seemed easy from the get-go—but it wasn’t as simple as we thought. How will we record our conversations when we are 600 km apart?

We had to learn how to do a remote recording setup, how to sync and edit audio files, how to distribute it cross-platforms, how to promote, and engage with the community. There’s a lot of trial and error, and we’re still learning day by day. 

The podcast created more accountability for what we say. There’s more at stake now rather than winning an argument against your boyfriend. If before I could just get away with peppering my statements with statistics I may have pulled out of thin air (hehe) in order to sound more credible to Ken, I couldn’t do that now because the podcast will be available to the public and will be heard by others. 

Aside from learning a new set of skills together, the podcast became the neutralizer to differing views. We became collaborators, working on the same goal.

It was a great journey with my boyfriend and we still have tons to learn. But I urge others to make ‘start a podcast’ part of your quarantine to-do list.

As of now, uncertainty is still looming, and we’re taking still taking it one day — and one episode — at a time. –

Rachel Arandilla, who hails from Cebu, is a storyteller and entrepreneur. I write about travel for Sunstar and have authored one travel anthology Postcards from Elsewhere. Founder of Story Nights: Cebu, a non-profit group that promotes storytelling and organizes storytelling events, and business owner of Grafik 9, a creative agency and production company.

A poet and a quant, I maintain two blogs for the dual sides of me: one blog on travel & stories blog and another blog for business and finance

I am also a Gemini.