What a difference a year makes

And yet, in these troubled times, what a difference a week can make.

How are you holding up?

Being unemployed for a month now — or, more to the point — being in lockdown for two weeks now, I suddenly got the urge to write again.

And with my birthday just around the corner, I’ve found myself thinking a lot about the year that has been.

Last year, I spent my birthday cycling around one of my favourite cities in the world: Salzburg. It’s funny. It was our fourth trip to Salzburg, but this time around we saw and did so much more than we ever had before. Usually when we visit, it’s the dead of winter. Snow on the ground, a chill in the air, the streets busy but not bustling. It’s a peaceful city.

This time around, we visited during Spring. It was warm enough for short sleeves and bicycles. The sun was shining, the sky a gorgeous blue, and the streets were packed full of locals and tourists alike.

During our first ever visit to Salzburg (10 years ago now) we did one of those Sound of Music bus tours of the city and surrounds. It was magical! We sung along to the soundtrack in between stops, and got to see some of the most iconic locations from one of my favourite movies of all time.

Last year, because the weather was so glorious, we decided to spend my birthday re-visiting some of the locations ourselves. It was so much fun cycling through the fields, with the alps towering over us.

We had never realised just how close so many of the locations were, given that we’d only ever been there by bus before.

It was such a wonderful day, and a birthday that I’ll remember for years to come.

Fast-forward to now, and the world is a different place.

And this birthday will be completely different to any I’ve had before.

Life is different. Times have changed. And we’re all dealing with it in our own way. Trying to get by. Hopefully looking for the light at the end of the tunnel. We don’t know how far away that light is, but we do know, someday, things will go back to how they were.

Or maybe they won’t.

Maybe the world is forever changed now.

Maybe we’ll all appreciate what we have, and who we’re connected to, on a deeper level.

Maybe we’ll stop taking things for granted.

Our goals might change. Our life choices might change. What is important to us might change. We might change. For the better, I hope.

I don’t think things will “go back to normal” in the traditional sense but, eventually, restrictions will ease up. The virus will be contained, if not eradicated. And we’ll slowly trickle back to jobs, to family, to travel, to the things we’ve missed during this difficult time.

It might take months

Years. But we’ll get there. Eventually. If we all do our bit.

It’s funny really. When I was coming to the end of my contract at work, I was thinking how nice it would be to have a couple of weeks off before starting a new job. Just some time to myself to do nothing. Maybe check off some things I’ve put on the backburner these past few months. You know, things that can wait for a rainy day.

My contract ended on February 28, and then I hopped over to WA to spend a few days with my sister, who is pregnant. I thought when I got back to Melbourne, that I’d either slot back into my job – but with a permanent role this time – or I’d find something new.

I applied for a few jobs, and even had a couple of video interviews, as companies started working from home, and reducing visitors.

But then that all changed. I was lucky that I had booked my trip to WA when I did. Because, if it had been even a week later, I might not have been able to fly.

As it was, on my flight home I was a little nervous. People had started wearing face masks, the panic buying (of toilet paper, of all things) had really ramped up, and the world was already starting to change.

Then slowly but surely, any job prospects I might have had, disappeared. Businesses had to shut up shop. Employees were let go. Recruitment was put on the backburner. And now, new jobs have dried up completely.

So here I am, with all the time in the world. It’s what I wanted, wasn’t it?

But no. Not like this.

This time last year I was in Salzburg

We were 5 months into (what ended up to be) a 6 month adventure, with no real plan or timeline. We knew what places we wanted to visit, but hadn’t booked anything beyond a few days. The world was open to us, and nothing but our dwindling budget and sense of adventure could hold us back.

I just keep thinking how lucky it was that we planned our trip for last year and not this one.

Who knows when we’ll be able to travel again?

One of my favourite quotes is “Not all those who wander are lost” [J.R.R Tolkien]

And right now, I’m unable to wander, and I feel a bit lost.

I’m not really sure what to do with myself these days.

Of course, I’ll work through my “rainy day” list, and feel a sense of accomplishment there.

But in terms of this space, I’m not so sure.

I want to write again. I do. But, do I want to write about something I did a year ago? Would you even want to read about that?

And if not, what else is there?

We can’t travel right now. And may not be able to for the rest of this year, at least.

Instead of ‘In Transit Life’, it’s more akin to ‘In Limbo Life’. And that’s okay. I’m happy to do my bit to help save lives and protect the community. Stop the spread.

But what do you need from me?

I’d love to hear from you! If you enjoy reading my blog posts, please do let me know. Tell me what you want to read about. What would help you get through this difficult time?

Do you want to see pictures from our adventure? I’ve realised I’ve barely shared any!

Do you want to hear stories about the hardships of long-term travel, or is that too insensitive right now?

I have a couple of post ideas that might work, but I’d also love some input from you, too.

I hope you’re doing well. I hope you’re getting by. I hope you’re doing the things you haven’t had time for, before now.

Thank you for being here. We’re all in this together.

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Author: Michelle

Michelle Harvey is a kiwi traveller, writer, photographer, list-maker, coffee drinker, and wanderer. Winter holidays are her favourite kind.

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