Notes from a self-quarantined traveller during a pandemic

Three days ago, I returned home to Australia from a family holiday in Japan. We feel lucky to have travelled while we could, and relieved to be home, as the world has changed irreversibly since we left two weeks ago. We felt safe and welcome in Japan, where the government and public seem to be drawing on their fair share of experience with natural and man-made disasters. They’ve struck a balance between robust measures to protect public health and the economy, and a fierce, Samurai spirit determination to avoid a descent into panic.

Back in Australia, we are in 14 days of self-quarantine, a small price to pay for our privilege of travelling overseas while we could. Australia’s response seems to be reflect our inexperience behind the wheel of a crisis; putting the breaks on a bit, hitting the skids, then breaking again into a tailspin. Collectively, self quarantine and social distancing are absolutely necessary, as health experts tell us it has proven effective to slow the spread of contagion if observed and practised. I really hope they are right. There’s some seriously fucked-up behaviour of people hoarding things and causing supply chain chaos, when there is no danger of a food crisis here. Compare this with Japan, where there were no empty shelves save for shortages of face masks and hand sanitiser.

Self-quarantine here in Northern Rivers NSW isn’t so bad. We have each other, security, a large garden to walk in, our pets, internet access and friends looking out for us with shopping deliveries (the hoarders and preppers have screwed up online shopping delivery too).

Three days in, I’m already late in executing my self-quarantine productivity plan, a sign that we’re not struggling to stay occupied. Here’s the plan to ride out self-quarantine anyway:

  • Write a self-quarantine blog (tick).
  • Make creativity part of my day – routinely log in to my online guitar tuition with Tony Polecastro.
  • Tend to the garden.
  • Exercise daily.
  • Clear out draws and make a pile of clothes I don’t wear to give away.
  • Ponder the positives of a pandemic – the environment is getting a break from our daily pollution: humans might halt slaughtering each other over religion, drugs, money, sex, territory, knowing there’s a virus going around that’s taking care of that shit in a very lethal and efficient way.
  • Research bargain stocks to buy when the market bottoms out (I don’t know when that will happen, but it will, and the market will continue to rise as it has done since global trading began centuries ago.
  • Frequently lose myself in the power of music to heal and uplift.
  • Enjoy conversation and closeness with my family.
  • Re-read a book Ive already read. Love In The Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez seems appropriate.
  • Think hard about what my company brand stands for, and how I can help our clients in tourism, events, the arts and hospitality navigate through the crisis.
  • Use technology to connect with treasured family and friends, near and afar, share our experiences and remind them we love them.

Main Image: Bretignolles-sur-Mer, France, Photo by Anthony Cantin on Unsplash