I am writing this post to document my experience during the pandemic of COVID-19 in 2020.
Looking back, my earliest memory of the ‘coronavirus’ was early December 2019, hearing about the Chinese whistle blower who bravely came out to the media to notify of an outbreak in Wuhan. At the time, I was blissfully relaxing on holiday travelling around Europe, unaware of the catastrophic impact that was to come for the world as we know it.
Fast forward to February 2020 as 50,000 infected in China and a rapid increase in Italy, globally the death toll was well into the 100,000s, resulted in Australia to take harsh actions in order to protect our borders. By March the country was in lock down, closed borders to international flights, closed domestic borders, enforced social distancing, closure of offices and any gathering spaces, saw the height in working from home and many stood down from their jobs. With no sight of a vaccine, the virus had put a pause on the world.
Australia’s figures were substantial but nowhere near the high figures of the USA, Europe, China, and India. Our government made the right decision to protect Australians, there were some political bumps along the way, but the results speak for themselves.
In the first three months of the strict lock down, meaning all businesses were closed unless they were essential, meant you were limited in activities and movement. You were not allowed to gather anywhere more than 5 people at a time. Fines were handed out if rules were breached. We all agreed now was not the time to be socialising. I went 2 months without seeing my friends, if I didn’t have a partner, it would have been the loneliest 2 months of my life (as I live on my own).
We did everything you would typically do when you’re under quarantine, we renovated, redecorated, practiced our cooking skills, watched a lot of Netflix, pottery, hiking, and gained weight. We used a lot of Uber Eats then slowly the restaurants would reopen and we found ourselves using the phrase “support local” a lot more. One of my highlights from quarantine was revisiting my love for food and the art of food (not cooking, I’m not there yet). Completely found a new appreciation for food, and the service of it being served to you. I don’t think I will ever take for granted the hospitality industry, ever again.
Sure, quarantine plays on your mental health as to be expected, any form of change would. The world had a soar in anxiety and depression this year, amongst other chaos of a financial depression, drop in shares, international businesses closure, massive impact in the tourism industry, not to mention Australia had its worst bush fire in history, a soar in unemployment and homelessness and of course the start of the presidential election in the US. All within the first 6 months of the year.
Personally I was challenged at work, as everyone else around the globe, had to adapt to a virtual way of working. But we made it work. Some days I was loving working from home and sleeping in because there was no commuting time into work. Other days I felt depleted in energy and often question myself, what’s the point of getting up? Brene Brown recently spoke about Surge Capacity, on her podcast, where our adaptive system is only built for short term survival mode, however during a pandemic we have exhausted to its entirety. Nothing has ever been so relatable. We have to be honest to ourselves and to others, that going through days like these are okay. Taking time out to reflect and heal is the only way forward.
I can harp on about all the negative affect of the pandemic but that would be pointing out the obvious. Instead, I choose to hold on to the positive memories and lessons I’ve learnt this year, as I’m sure this will continue to carry through to 2021.
Because I’ve been restricted from travelling outside my state, it gave me the opportunity to explore my own backyard. To go to those places on my wish list that have been pushed to the back because of its ease in accessibility.
Beautiful spots an hour away from home that I have never been to, really surprised me why it took me so long to visit.
The recently built resort within Taronga Zoo, offering a more luxury experience with the animals. We even had a koala outside our window.
I have resisted posting too many photos of new food and cafes I’ve visited, but needless to say most of my weight gain and money have been spent on eating out. The hospitality industry ,though was suffering at the start of the pandemic, is now thriving from local consumers.
A weekend escape to the Blue mountains. How lucky am I, to call this beautiful state home? Nowhere in the world would you have 20 plus degrees beach days in winter and snow on the mountain tops, in the same state. We are spoilt for choices.
Experiencing the change in seasons in Autumn at Mount Wilson.
Grabbed my friends for a short getaway to the wine region of Orange.
Ventured further north to Newcastle. Again, another place I haven’t been to properly but have always driven past!
Continued north to Port Stephens and checking out the bays surrounding the valleys. I don’t know who is suffering more, us for taking this landscape for granted or international tourists who are dying to get here.
Stayed in cosy Airbnb’s which offers views like this.
Exploring sleepy yet eclectic towns like Bellingen. FYI, voted the best ice cream at the Easter Show 2018!
Long hikes into the rain forest at Dorrigo National Park.
Appreciating all the natural wonders that we are so entitled to, yet aren’t preserving.
Spent an afternoon at South West Rocks with our natives.
How are we so lucky? And it took a pandemic for me to explore my own backyard and forced myself to slow down and reflect more.
The biggest lesson I’ve learnt this year was, it’s okay to live in the moment and take time to process it. As well as looking out for each other, a small gesture or text message can sometimes be life changing, or at the very least brighten their day just that little bit more.
As the world is going through a second wave of aggressive infections, we (Australians) are definitely in a better position and know not to take freedom for granted.
I’m looking forward to continue my love affair with NSW.