Before I left the US, one of the scary recurring thoughts that I (a hypochondriac) had was: “what if a major health situation happens to me or a family member and I’m unable to return home in time?” I had no idea my thought would be realized in the form of a global pandemic named COVID-19 or Coronavirus.
And honestly, I can’t believe this is happening.
Every day, borders are closing, people are losing their jobs (mine and almost everyone I know included), businesses are closing, flights are being cancelled, and the world is possibly on the verge of financial and societal collapse as the virus ravages entire countries. Australia has now closed borders to the country for all-noncitizens. Airlie Beach, my home for 5 months, is shutting down as one of Australia’s major tourist locales.
But life is pretty cruisy at the exact moment. I began writing this from a hammock on my balcony with a pair of friendly cockatoos perched on the railing. The sun was shining, birds were chirping, and the sea breeze was rustling giant banana tree leaves. But when I left, Airlie was nearly a ghost town.
Today, I spent the day drawing outside, went for a run, and worked on my tan. Honestly, it would be easy to forget that there is currently a global pandemic.
The United States has issued a Level-4 advisory which states:
The Department of State advises U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19. In countries where commercial departure options remain available, U.S. citizens who live in the United States should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period. U.S. citizens who live abroad should avoid all international travel.https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/ea/travel-advisory-alert-global-level-4-health-advisory-issue.html#.XnPHGUBrXPM.twitter
I’m somewhere in the middle as I’ve lived in Australia for the past year and my visa ends in February 2021.
Honestly, I hate being away from my family right now. This is one of those situations where my decision to uproot myself and plant my life in Australia is challenging.
While this is one of the scariest and most gut-churning moments of my life, I have decided to remain in Australia until the chaos of the world calms down. Purchasing a last-minute ticket home was an option I strongly considered, but the risks of my flight being cancelled, getting stuck, being potentially exposed to the virus in international airports, and needing to self-isolate somewhere away from family back home would be too much. And knowing that people can be asymptomatic carriers is scary as well. Distance is the best way we can protect our loved ones right now.
I am lucky enough to be able to join my partner in Perth and it’s a good feeling to be back in the place I first began my Australian journey! The cases in Australia are relatively low, and the country has a great healthcare system. My partner and his family are some of the kindest people I’ve met in Australia and I feel so lucky to have somewhere safe to stay.
The government is also taking more proactive steps in preventing the spread than the United States, which helped me make my decision to stay.
And maybe we all could take advantage of the quiet and stillness to recharge. Call your family, do something creative, do that thing you’ve been putting off due to a busy schedule…
I created an infographic with some tips 🙂
So, wash your hands, be nice to each other, and stay the f**k home because that’s all we can do right now. And hopefully by socially distancing, watching Netflix, and obsessively disinfecting and sanitizing, normal life will resume in a few months.
PS: here are some uplifting recent articles regarding the virus: