January 30, 2021 by Chai Vuriti

How I Travelled during the Pandemic

It was December 2019 and a start point for so many disasters. Bushfires in Australia were raging and had done a lot of damage to nature and livelihood already.

I planned my entire backpacking trip during the bushfire season and moved to the North-East of Australia where there were none. I spent the last two weeks of December in North Queensland and made my way out to Gold Coast by the New Year’s Eve.

After my first phase of Backpacking trip ended in the first week of January 2020 and having returned to Sydney, things started to get difficult to reach Melbourne where I have to cross the hotspots of bushfires via southern NSW and Canberra which took a lot of damage already and persisting fires. I have been following up with the news updates and my bus service provider for cancellations and delays and luckily the route from Sydney to Melbourne was not affected to the most extent. I made it to Melbourne safely and continued with my second phase of the trip.

The Coronavirus spread started in January to most countries and measures were taken already to contain the spread of the virus and keep the people safe. Airlines were following strict protocols to stop the spread of the virus and my international travel from Sydney to Hyderabad via Kualalumpur went without a hitch. After my one month vacation in India, having travelled to my hometown 2 times in the same month, I started to Sydney via Abu Dhabi at the end of February. Now the frustrating part is travelling to the opposite side of the globe to reach the other half, I need to travel the same distance again in the next flight. Even though my experience in a Boeing 787 Dreamliner was comfortable enough to keep me active, travelling from Abu Dhabi to Sydney in a Boeing 777 was tiresome. Because I boarded in the afternoon and disembarked on the next day in Sydney. A whole day was missing from my life. A good thing to note was there were temperature tests at every location although it delayed the movement of the passengers to a greater deal. I waited for more than 45 minutes to reach the other terminal in Abu Dhabi passing the checkpoint. Good times.

I reached Sydney safely and 10 days later, WHO declared the Pandemic. Which changed the course of so many things. I lost my project that I came for, haven’t visited a beach in a very long time and my extent of travel was restricted to very few places.


After spending the days in quarantine, when the NSW government finally allowed the Leisure travel for residents in June, my roommate and I made a day trip to Oberon hoping to see some snow as it had snowfall until the day before. To our disappointment, there was no snow but the route was scenic along the Blue Mountains national park.

Mount Tomah

We made a few stops along the scenic spots and the country’s highest garden Blue Mountains Botanic Garden at Mount Tomah. I’m not the one with the attitude “If I get corona, I get corona. That’s not gonna stop me from travelling“ but travelling with all the regulations and safety measures in practice has definitely made my days refreshing and motivated during the tough days of the pandemic.

As the days passed by, the interstate travel was open between NSW and Victoria which led us to make our way into Melbourne. We immediately planned a 4-Day Road trip to Melbourne in June with so many destinations in mind. But the COVID restrictions did not seem to stop at many tourist places. Most of the places were either still closed to the public or required an advance online booking. That hit a bump in our plan to Phillip Island as there were no slots during all the 3 days of our stay in Melbourne as our plan was sudden. Twelve Apostles National Park and Loch Ard Gorge were still closed for the public which limited our Great Ocean Road tour to Apollo Bay. As I already completed both of them in my previous backpacking trip I was not disappointed.

After returning to Sydney, I had the idea of one-day road trips to nearby towns as the restriction started to ease. It unlocked so many different things and mania of Road Trips was started. As I was switching between projects frequently, I was able to make the trips on weekdays which gave us more chance of faster travel with the less traffic on road and fewer people at places we go.

I did not face much of an issue during the pandemic going on but faced 2 consistent problems everywhere I went. No Dine-in. Pre-book all tickets online. Pre-booking tickets was not much of an issue except to pay the extra internet charges, no dine-in had made my trips difficult. My goto places for lunch during the road trips were nearby malls from the charging stations. As no mall would allow patrons to sit in the dine-in area, I had to take my food elsewhere to eat. I carried my food to parks, piers, beaches and even a train during my train trip to Maitland.

But I’m still glad that I have observed safety protocols were followed everywhere I went and that made all my trips safer. Because of course, safety comes from all sides.