"We don't learn much when everything goes right. We learn the most when things go wrong."
~ Simon Sinek
An update on our situation.
Like everyone else in the country/world, Covid-19 has turned our world upside down.
It looks like our #derrygoround is over.
Seven months into our trip, we had about three months left to make our way up the coast of WA, head across the Kimberly, back to Kakadu and then on to Townsville, starting the painful process of selling everything up and getting ready for our next adventure.
After an incredible month on the south coast of WA: Albany, Esperance, Lucky Bay (Feb update coming soon), we started heading north. We got as far as Coral Bay (about half way up the WA coast). The next two weeks of accomodation was already booked, Cape Range National Park, Ningaloo Reef, Exmouth and then out to Karijini National Park to sit out the dreaded Easter holidays. Coral Bay was everything we expected. We had a beachfront site, you could snorkel the fringing coral reef off the beach, it was tropical, warm weather and incredible sunsets and scenery..
While we were there things got more serious with the virus and the way smaller communities were reacting to visitors. We decided to bite the bullet, cancel our reservations and head back to Perth. We already had Galen booked into a dentist to get some work done, so we had to head south anyway. Our plan was to stay in Perth for a month or so, get his teeth sorted and head back north, following our original plan, probably just going a bit quicker than we had hoped.
We planned on taking three days to get to Perth (1200km) when, about an hour out of Geraldton on the second day, we rang the dentist to see if we could bring Galen’s appointment forward. They gave us the bad news that they were cancelling all appointments. A few tears and expletives later, we needed a new plan. It was no use going to Perth if we didn't need to be there, that was where all the WA cases were, it would be getting cold and we wanted to head north so why go south?
We rang a caravan park just out of Geraldton and they said they could take us for a fairly decent rate, it looked ok and was on Sunset Beach. We paid for a week to wait and see what was going to happen. We knew Geraldton has supermarkets, hospitals, dentists, and more.
We have now been here two weeks. We moved to a site with a view of the water with grass in front of us (a mini playground for the kids). We have power and water and the services we need. There is a supermarket and bottle shop five minutes down the road, the beach isn't WA's best but it's a beach. We have a semi-routine now. We have spent heaps of time at the caravan with a few runs to Aldi, Spotlight, Bunnings and Woolworths for essentials (only one adult at a time) and spent some time on the beach.
While here we heard stories of small town hysteria against people traveling in vans. Driving around a state with interstate number plates on the car and van began to make people with no home to go to targets for anger and abuse borne out of fear. We watched as WA restricted travel among its regions and then closed down its border to people coming into the state. Even caravan parks closed down to all but travellers with no home to go to (that's us). We have felt relatively safe here in Geraldton in our bubble of a caravan park. There are two cases in the region, but they are contained and no one has had to go to hospital. It is a safe place with all the amenities we need.
By the end of the first week, with much of northern WA closed, we realised we wouldn't be seeing Exmouth, Broome, the Kimberly and all the other unexpected places that have become so much of our travelling routine. There is so much we have missed that we didn't even know we were going to see.
When we arrived here we thought we would probably be here for a month or so, and that prognosis doesn't look like changing anytime soon. We have resigned ourselves to the fact that our trip is over. We can't put it on hold and continue in six months time. We most likely will need to be in Poland in August (but honestly we don't know what might happen there. Will international flights start again? Will we be able to leave the country? Will Poland be ready for arrivals?).
We kept holding on, started formulating new plans, waiting for things to calm down, thinking we might be able to wait here for four to six weeks then head back east seeing some of the sights we missed in SA and Victoria on the way across. It is now looking like we will have to make our way back to the east coast via the Nullarbor and get back to Queensland virtually without stopping, then quarantine, sell everything and get ready to head overseas or wait it out somewhere with jobs and rent an AirBnB.
While we know we have it so much better than many others, it is hard to lose a job if you don't have one, it is not too cold (yet), we have all we need, we are healthy and safe. It is still a time of mourning, at times we all get a bit depressed and down, thinking about what could have been and wondering what the future will hold.
I am sure many will think we are still "living the dream" and would rather be at a beach than stuck at home. To be honest, it is not all it is cracked up to be. Two weeks in limbo, stuck in a caravan, It is frustrating having the means and equipment to travel and not being able to.
We are making the most of our time together staying positive, playing, learning, gardening, cooking, creating, beach time and swimming. Yesterday we even found a secluded beach that we had to ourselves. We are saving money, we haven't put fuel in the car in two weeks. The people of Geraldton have been great, we haven't experienced any of the negative behaviour and abuse other people in our situation have.
It is tough thinking about what we have lost and I am sure we will continue to find it hard for a while. It is almost impossible to start thinking about moving to Poland in the current climate. We are counting our blessings while planning how and when we will get back to WA and finish our #derrygoround.
No matter what way we look at this global crisis and our own situation, there is always hope.