After over a year in Aus...
June 3, 2021
Wow… well over a year ago, I jokingly wrote, “watch us get stuck here for a year and become part Australian.” I guess you could call that some serious foreshadowing.
Because we got “stuck” here in Australia for WELL over a year (and well over their max visa limit)! And now I just can’t believe it’s finally time to say goodbye. I never thought I would even get to visit Australia, much less stay here for so long. And I am so, so incredibly grateful for this country allowing us to stay throughout the worst natural disaster the world has faced in a very long time.
Australia became this little (or rather big) safe haven for us. It was a space where we felt safe, happy, and relatively free of the problems of covid. After the initial lockdowns, the country was essentially open, and we even got to continue our (mostly) normal traveling and exploring – an absolute rarity in the world during this time. Sure, we did not get to meet as many people, and a lot of things were closed, but it wasn’t the time for these things anyways. And as nature lovers, we honestly could not have imagined a more perfect place to be during all of this… and I feel like we just got to know Australia in a very intimate and unique way. We got to see and do things we would have never done otherwise.
Anyways… I’m just so grateful for being able to stay here during all of this. I’m so grateful for all of the experiences we had here. And while I am excited for this chapter to close and to start something new, I am also so incredibly sad to be leaving. (I might have cried more than once) Australia really just pulled some of my heartstrings and became home during this time…
So to update you guys… we decided to finally return to the United States. We were going to stay longer, but decided that between the hassle of getting our visas extended even further (which was becoming increasingly difficult and requiring more and more paperwork) and things now settling down in the USA, especially with widespread vaccine availability, that it was time to finally return.
So we planned just around 2 more weeks in Sydney, basically the only place offering flights to the USA from Australia. We stayed in a lovely little unit, visited with my friend Kate again, did some last-minute souvenir shopping, got our covid tests, and got prepared to leave.
And then after some confusion with the gate agents (normally you do NOT stay over a year on our type of visa hahaha) we got on the plane. I was so sad and excited all at the same time. There were only 17 people on the entire flight. It was actually the best flight I had been on because of that, long but we all had our own rows and plenty of room to lay down and sleep.
We arrived at LAX where we had hired a friend of a friend that we knew was covid safe to drive us to our family’s home. And we were so warmly welcomed!!! For the first time in over 2 years, we got to see our family. We decided to self-quarantine (minus a trip out to get our vaccines) and waited to see friends so that we did not spread covid or catch it ourselves.
And then our two-week waiting period was up! It was AMAZING to see family and friends again after ~2 years. Some even longer. We had missed everyone SO much. We were only expecting to be away for around 6 months! It finally feels like a light at the end of the tunnel in all of this.
We have some exciting plans coming up in the future, but we’re soaking this all in right now!
Anyways… Thanks again, Australia! We’re so grateful to have been somewhere that handled covid SO well. Somewhere that allowed us to continue traveling. Somewhere so perfect for us!
Catch ya later mate!