Covid and Travel Dreaming


 One of the big themes emerging from the past 18 months has been the general sense that people have missed the opportunity to travel for adventure, pleasure or to visit family and friends. Having a vaccine passport is seen as a big step forward towards returning to that big Aussie love: travel. Meanwhile many have been “making do” with seeing their own backyard. This has been offset by the recurring lockdowns, closed borders and anxiety about cancellations.

Some/most of the flights we’ve done over the years.

What covid has given me, is an opportunity to stop, think, and reassess how much travel I/we still need or want to do. We’re very fortunate that we started travelling in our twenties and have managed to visit many countries and explore on the ground by car or train. Not only have we been overseas many times, we’ve also had the opportunity to visit many of Australia’s spectacular sights. We’ve ticked off most of our remaining bucket list places in recent years: Canada, Morocco, India, Vietnam. So, overall, as discouraged as I’d be if overseas travel became a diminishing opportunity, I could survive on memories of grand adventures and amazing sights and experiences. My main bucket list wish now is to travel business class not on the increasingly cramped, shorter pitch seating of cattle class.

Our Moroccan desert camp with our tents in the background.

We’ve been luckier than most, too, with our big celebrations during and around covid. We arrived in Darwin for our 50th wedding anniversary celebration with family just as the first cruise ship passengers were being brought to the successful Howard Springs Quarantine Facility. We were able to have the low-key family-only dinner we’d planned and get photos of all our mob together. We then headed off to Singapore where Covid was being monitored and successfully managed, so that every venue we went into had temperature checks. At no point did we feel anxious about our health and safety.

Gardens by the Bay, Singapore.

Our travel celebration for the anniversary was the Golden Triangle of India, especially the Taj Mahal which we’d missed in 1977. And what a great time we had! So many amazing sights and experiences. As we toured, we laughed often at the shenanigans happening at home with supermarket depletion and toilet paper scuffles. By the time we got home and found we had two rolls in the house, it wasn’t quite so amusing. As we left India, there were mentions of some tourists having been infected with coronavirus. Sadly, our tour guide has not had work since we left in early March 2020. And of course, they’ve had such a terrible experience with the Delta variant which is now proving to Australia we’re not as safe as we thought.

We remained mostly at home on our return as a precaution for my mother’s health as she’s in Aged Care. Shortly after we went into an official lockdown. Our birthday celebration for eldest daughter was seated at our pre-sanitised picnic table by the Mooloolah river, socially distant, and eating separately wrapped packs of prawns from the co-op.

Interior of the palace in Jaipur. We were blown away by the architecture and design in India.

We’ve had two short breaks regionally. One in June 2020 when we had a very much needed breather on the Darling Downs where the weather was brisk and the fireplace much appreciated. Then, in March 2021, we headed to Stanthorpe where we hadn’t been since a long-ago camping trip. We did get caught a bit with that short-stay as we had been in Brisbane for a few days en route so couldn’t investigate Stanthorpe’s well-known wineries. Still, it was no hardship as the place where we stayed was wonderful and tranquil, and the fireplace was a welcome indulgence.

Autumn leaves are special when you don’t typically see them.

Eldest grandson struck it in a lucky gap when he travelled to Canberra for a special basketball comp and returned safely. Unfortunately, the national junior basketball championships to have been held in Perth in June this year were a casualty of a multi-state lockdown and closed borders.

Sunflowers en route between Stanthorpe and home.

It was not being able to visit our Darwin family again until December that was the hardest pill to swallow as we usually travel up a few times a year. Still, the quarantine gods were on our side, and we were able to spend Christmas together with the “kids” and grandkids, after having a memorable Christmas Eve dinner with our Brisbane daughter and partner. It’s always a whew moment when you get to and from your destination without any lockdown glitches these days.

Our trip in June 2021 to Alice Springs, Uluru and Kata Tjuta also successfully dodged any lockdown issues and it was a pleasure to see these quintessential Aussie icons again after so long. Tagged onto this sector was a flight to see the family again in Darwin which was lovely, and busy as always with the grandchildren’s activities. No sooner had we returned home than Darwin had its first lockdown, closely followed by Alice Springs, and border gates slamming shut at each state and territory. Once again, we had been lucky.

Sunset at Uluru, June 2021.

So here we are, double vaccinated, in a tight lockdown for a week (touch wood, no more), and staying at home apart from food and medical appointments. Mum’s Aged Care has been locked down for six of the past seven weeks so that must get lonely for her. She can no longer cope with the phone so I’m very reliant on the care of the staff who’ve been wonderful.  I bought her this robotic-type cat a few months ago and apparently, it’s been a great hit, as it gives her something to cuddle, fuss over and chat to.

Who knows when we might next be able to dust off our passports and venture beyond Australia’s shores. So, roll up people, get your vaccines and let’s get on with it. It was so frustrating too, to know there was an amazing Chihuly exhibition on at Garden by the Bay in Singapore which would have been an easy short jaunt normally but sadly not at present. Next on my wish list is a business class flight to Scotland to do a drive around the coast then visit the Shetlands. I’d love to see the gardens of Japan but will survive if I have to do that as a virtual trip. Meanwhile I’ll be satisfied with family visits and regional short stays. Overall, I’m very grateful for the many travel opportunities I’ve had in my lifetime. Never in my wildest dreams as a child would I have imagined how many wonderful places I’d see.

How about you? Are you chafing at the bit to travel overseas again or are you exploring our own backyard?


15 thoughts on “Covid and Travel Dreaming

  1. So hard to believe that we chose similar topics again for our week 2 posts in the Genealife in Lockdown challenge. I note that you have written a more positive post than I. We both have so much to be grateful for, we live quite charmed lives in beautiful environments with our best mates beside us.

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    1. Indeed we have so much to be grateful for incl beautiful places and wonderful partners. I’ve done four of my five NFHM posts…will we duplicate again? Great minds and all that….lol.

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  2. Great blog Pauline. India, and Sri Lanka are on my bucket list. I was born in the latter when it was still Ceylon, but as parents returned to Australia when I was 6 months old, I tend to say I’ve never been there! Where to begin with India? You really managed to weave deftly between lockdowns in the last 18 months. Missing travel, but like you, grateful for all that we have done in the past, and for living in a relatively safe and privileged environment. Re the robotic cat, video watched and existence of such kitties duly noted, both for 93 year old Mama in Melbourne, and possibly me, but don’t tell anyone!

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    1. Thanks Rosie, we’ve been lucky in a number of ways. I can see why you’d want to get to Sri Lanka. And yes, the cat has been a good buy even if it does seem a bit strange.

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  3. Well done picking the right times to travel in this past challenging year. Overseas travel is indeed looking like a dream, Unfortunately, our daughter lives in the UK so we are keen to get over there again otherwise am happy to do without it having travelled extensively in our past lives. Here’s to a cheerier outlook now the current lockdown is over.

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  4. A very timely post Pauleen. How funny that you and Jill should match this week. You have inspired me to do some planning for travel this week. I feel at this stage that I can only plan internal travel at this stage and possibly limited to Queensland. So frustrating because I would love to get to the UK at least once more before I leave this mortal coil and Japan and NZ too. But yes I feel very lucky to have had the experience I have had in my life in terms of overseas travel.

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    1. Jill and I are both travel junkies, so I suppose it’s not so surprising we hit on this topic. Meanwhile we can all dream of where we can go…one day. We enjoyed our short breaks and they were refreshing having a change of scenery.

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  5. I enjoy ‘travelling’ with you… great photos and love the details. I finally took time and looked at that cat… it is beautiful. What a lovely comfort for your Mum and others…❤️

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  6. You’ve done well to visit such great places before the pandemic struck Pauleen. Your 50th anniversary trip sounds wonderful. I’m also pleased to have done lots of travel before the pandemic. I really don’t think I will be going overseas again. The thought of squashing into a plane doesn’t excite me after the problems of Covid. Now if only I could get up to the Sunshine Coast to see my son and grandchildren. It’s been almost two years since I’ve seen them.

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  7. Wow you guys certainly are the travelers! Hubby isn’t interested in traveling do much unless he can drive but we do spend time on the road but mostly driving to the states of Ga and now Florida as my son moved there few years ago. We did travel there last year and survived safely. Hopefully we all get through safe this year.

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  8. Enjoyed your travel post and beautiful images. We are probably in a similar position. Due to leave on a train trip up to the Capricorn coast- so fingers are tightly crossed 🤞 Managed to fit in a driving journey from here – Gold Coast – to Tassie where we used to live over March/April to Victoria where daughter and partner live in central Melbourne, and up to Central Coast NSW for oldest daughter, SIL and grandkids and home again jigged jig. We were so lucky to see the family, as they have all been in lockdown often since then. Our planned O/S trip to Japan for the cherry blossom time was cancelled last year. We have tried to fit in jaunts around regional parts of Oz to help a little with those struggling. Still some places O/S we’d like to explore- but it’s all so uncertain.

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  9. Just made me a bit melancholy seeing all the images and reading about travel. Beautiful summary. Hoping we will get to travel again. Your pictures are wonderful. India does not appeal to me however Jaipur would perhaps. At least you managed to squeeze in some Aussie trips. I have been more of frightened hermit not going anywhere since getting back from RootsTech in early 2020.

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