COVID, Travel & Quarantine – Part 1: 8 Months Getting to the Airport

For the past 21 years I’ve lived for experiences and usually been able to satisfy that with lots of new places and lots of new people. When that tap was turned off in February 2020 it was going to be a new era of experiences…

What could have been a new era of experience for me in maybe settling down a little and committing to a wonderful person in my partner, Serafina, it seemed too daunting and so I chose independence and ‘freedom’ to continue to remain untethered to be where I wanted, when I wanted – to which Serafina had provided me that for a long time in our relationship and finally she also deserved something different if I wasn’t going to commit to things so it was a completely mutual decisions in love and respect for each other to end our exclusive bond – anyway that’s another blog another time or not!

So ahead of me was the prospect of a few months back in Australia to enjoy the liveability of the place and spend more time in my self-sufficient Happy-Simply tiny house. It was a couple of months and not long into it I landed a dream job of being the Group Head of Sustainability and Global Citizenship for the Dulwich group of schools and was to be based in Shanghai, China. My contract was due to start in August and I should be there soon after with likely a few delays at the start.

What conspired was an 8-month visa process and delay that I increasingly didn’t handle well nor the intimate separation with Serafina.

From mid-October I finally hit the wall of appreciating being back in South Australia and was growing tired of the two-week window of my visa being ready and then not. Really everything fell apart like I’ve never experienced before. Nothing to stand on or feel normal about, sleep insomnia and levels of anxiety I never imagined I could harbour. So I did the work – meditation, physical activity, sought support and perspectives from friends and family and kept believing it will get better sometime soon. The visa delays embedded themselves till late December when it seemed I would be on my way in early Jan. I pretended to feel better, and maybe did on some days, but then visa delays and flight rebookings became crushing news and constant resetting. Eventually the visa issues got sorted out but it would mean at least a month or more to turn it around. Finally knowing I wouldn’t be leaving for at least a month or so I was able to shift my focus towards acceptance, flexibility, no expectations and being in what was here and now, not what could or should be…

Things improved with that kind of attitude with a few rollercoaster highs and lows and gradually, despite of, or because of, visa delays I worked out how to ‘be’ in the situation.

Throughout this time I did have the incredible support, ears and generosity of people close to me and found ways to live as best I could with big bike rides, a few adventures here and there and some excellent meditations and courses on Insight Timer – I highly recommend it if you are looking for a meditation and perspectives app.

Then in mid-March the opportunity to get to China became a little more real – not that I was expecting much just in case it went south again but I did some fingerprints, paid for my visa, was able to watch it track online and started to think it might be making progress 😊

Finally in late March the call came to go to the visa service centre in Adelaide to pick up my visa which meant booking a flight to Shanghai and believing I would be on my way to China. A few tonnes of pressure was lifted off my shoulders and I put in place my exit plans with a few catch ups, some favourite Aussie food to eat before going and my favourite part – packing my bags!!!

The last week or so was better each day closer to leaving without wanting to seem ungrateful or disrespectful to a place that other people were happy to reside (or better at dealing with it than me). I had some lovely farewells with my family, some friends and Serafina – a BFF.

I put on my mask at the Adelaide airport for the flight to Sydney with my hidden grin growing stronger with each movement dedicated to me getting closer to China. A brief overnight at my brother’s in Sydney with his family and the next morning I had no more sleeps to countdown before going to China!

The international airport at Sydney was a little surreal being so vacant and this is where this blog ends to be continued on the experience of travelling internationally during the time of COVID-19…

About Living Geo d'Arcy

Experiences are the richest thing in life. Love them and live them.
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2 Responses to COVID, Travel & Quarantine – Part 1: 8 Months Getting to the Airport

  1. Pingback: Part 3: First Impressions and Days of Quarantine | Living Geography with d'Arcy

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