Who would have thought that the words, international travel, would cause so much consternation? Yet, here we are, over a year later since the start of the global pandemic and, for Australia at least, those two words incite a raft of reactions.
I look at the photo of my Italian parents, circa 1961, in Southern Africa: my older sister is just a toddler, on my father’s shoulders with my mother bringing up the rear. It is obviously a posed picture, but they enjoyed experiencing new cultures, trying different foods, chatting with the indigenous people. Opportunities such as these are now restricted, and I wonder when my family and I will get to go travelling again?
For us, with a daughter living in Germany, it is a prickly matter. We had hoped to go overseas this year to catch up with her and vice-versa, as she has mentioned getting back here to visit with us. But, of course, it is just not going to happen unless some substantial changes take place to government law. Understandably, it is just too risky and, even if you are able to travel the one way, you have no idea if your return flight will be cancelled or before then, you might be required to go into a two-week isolation (financial costs), or other. So, international travel … two words that will be juggled about and discussed for a while yet.
Even in ‘un-pandemic’ times, international travel engenders a mix of emotions. I know some that have never travelled out of their own state, never mind out of the country. To be honest, Australia is a big continent, and, in a way, I can understand that mindset. Being an immigrant, however, I have come to know the value of travel is and how immersing oneself in another culture can be such an eye-opener. It is illuminating seeing things from different perspectives and as a writer, it certainly electrifies those stimuli in my brain. I’m the kind of writer that uses experiences from around me and researched facts upon which to develop a story. Of course, my mind then expands upon that much like a flower opening, petals gently unfurling, floral perfume wafting, colours deepening, and invariably, bees come a-buzzing; at least that is what I hope.
But, back to international travel … and thankfully, we can, of course, take those journeys through the internet. We can join online groups, listen to international podcasts, view 360-degree angles of our longed-for travel destinations … and it seems that is what we must do for the time being. This is especially current, as the chilly temperatures start to embrace us in the southern hemisphere, and as areas start going into lockdown, once again.