Melbourne to London: Flying Half Way Across The World In A Pandemic

There’s been a few big life changes since my last post on the blog. Most importantly is the news that I moved back to the UK. As you all know, I love Melbourne and my friends there to death. After three years living in Australia, it genuinely felt like home. However the ongoing lockdown, the inability to travel and to see my family just got too much. I made the huge decision to pack up my entire life, quit my job, leave my house and my friends and come back to England. It’s a hard decision in normal times, let alone in a pandemic in which once I leave Australia, I cannot return.

For those of you that are wondering what flying halfway around the world in a pandemic is like, it’s a weird experience. It was strange in itself, to dust off my passport after 18 months without use. I could barely remember what the inside of an airport terminal looks like, also the sheer lack of people was not the norm. Leaving Australia amid its sixth lockdown meant that the airport was near deserted. About five flights were leaving from the international terminal and the majority of people in there were police. Upon check-in, you are questioned about why you are leaving the country and asked to provide all relevant documentation for your travels, in my case being my negative PCR Covid test and a passenger locator form for the UK. After checking in, I was stopped by police and questioned again about my time in Australia and why I was leaving. Inside the terminal, all of the shops were closed and there was just a little stall selling hot drinks and snacks.

My 14-hour flight to Singapore was pretty normal apart from one obvious difference, there were only about 15 people on it. The obvious benefits were food came pretty quickly and I had a whole row to myself; negatives were the whole thing felt like something out of ‘Lost’.

In Singapore, those of us connecting to other flights are escorted off the plane. We are given coloured wrist bands and are walked in groups, to a closed-off gate where we wait for our flight. Once I was on the plane to London, it was a lot more full and everything felt more normal.

I can’t explain how surreal it was to be on British soil after what has felt like so much longer than three years. The whole world has been rattled, and still is in the case of Australia, by the Pandemic and I didn’t know what kind of UK awaited me through those double doors after customs.
After reuniting with my parents, I tried to take in my new surroundings. The motorway that I had grown up driving on between London and Brighton suddenly felt much smaller everything had the strange effect of looking the same yet different all at once. Driving back into my hometown of Brighton didn’t just feel like I had travelled but rather had travelled in time, going from my new life to my old one, from the heart of a Pandemic to a place where Covid no longer seems to exist.

As happy as I am to be home, adjusting hasn’t been easy. I have been incredibly homesick for Melbourne, my friends and the personal freedoms that I had there, despite the lockdowns. Simultaneously, I am overjoyed to be reunited with friends and family and to enjoy more obvious freedoms like free travel, dining out and not having to wear masks or check-in everywhere I go.

In many ways, returning to my home country had put me completely out of my comfort zone and has forced me to look at things in a whole new light.

I have now started a new coffee job up in London and while getting back into some work has given me a little bit more normalcy, everything is still very up in the air. I am now trying to take some breath to reevaluate. To adjust and mentally rest after a defeating lockdown and an unsettling life change. I’m trying to work on some things that are important to me; my health, people and my passions. As the days go by, I feel more clear-headed and a little more insightful than I have in a while. Now that I can take a step back and see the bigger picture, I guess the question is, where do I truly see myself in the future and what do I do when Australia’s borders finally reopen?

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