Week 28 – 29 2020 #afterthepen

It’s odd, being in limbo. I’ve been finding it quite difficult to settle to anything for long or any type of routine, although as always I have found that having a habit tracker does help immensely in terms of daily goals to achieve.

Apologies in advance, as this is not going to be a hugely bullet-journal related post, more of a personal update and, for a change, I’ve finally got some good news on the flight front. For a fee, I’ve finally been able to get upgraded seats which means I’m far less likely to get booted from my flight (as Sydney is currently restricting every flight to fifty passengers.)

While it is irritating that seats are essentially going to the highest bidder, I have to say that I don’t hold the airline to account. Even with only inflated business seat tickets being sold, I doubt that fifty seats plus freight are giving them much profit- if any!

What I really think, is that in the sudden introduction of strict passenger limits, the Australian government has really hung any citizens left overseas out to dry. While I’ve seen plenty of people bang on about ‘us’ having plenty of time to return already and if we haven’t it’s our own fault, it honestly feels like individual circumstances or the fact that when restrictions do lift there will now be a rush of people have not been thought about at all.

Personally, I made my plans to return to Australia after four years of living in the UK (as a dual citizen) in December. The plan was always to move back at the start of July after my year-long lease had run out and I had given the required notice at my job. I made a quick trip to Australia and back in January- February and returned just as the COVID crisis was starting to affect global travel.

At the time, I was just very pleased to have a whole row of seats to myself on my flights back to spread out across! In hindsight, I have wondered if I should have stayed in Australia then, but as that would have meant breaking contracts which would lose me references in the future, leaving behind a lot of possessions and essentially abandoning my partner of three years with no warning, I decided against it.

When a return to Australia notice was announced in mid-March, according to some I should have had bought tickets immediately and fled the country with no notice. As mentioned previously, I had contracts holding me back but I wasn’t just thinking selfishly. At the time, it didn’t make sense for me (as a citizen of both the country I was residing in and Australia) to take up a seat that could have been put to much better use by retirees on holiday, a student on exchange or a youngster on a gap year- who all lacked the benefits of residency or public health cover that I am privileged to have  in the UK.

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve read numerous stories from people like me; stuck overseas fighting for plane seats while members of the Australian government waggle fingers and tell us we’ve had plenty of time and it’s our own fault we’re now being hit by thousands of dollars in extra charges.

Like them, I feel let down by a country that used to pride itself on the percentage of its citizens who own a passport. I completely and utterly agree with compulsory hotel quarantine, I think it is the reason Australia has been spared the devastating scenes that have and are occurring in many other nations. But I also feel like placing hugely restrictive passenger caps on arrivals will do more harm than good in the long term as they will cause a build-up of demand that will make quarantine and contact tracing more difficult when restrictions are lifted.

Personally, I know I am very lucky. I can afford the additional charges that I have had to pay to secure a seat and I’m travelling alone so it’s a lot easier to fit onto a flight. I do however wish that I was heading back feeling like I was going to be welcome in a country I call home.

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