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The Joy of International Travel in a Pandemic – Episode 1

Jul 22, 2021 | The Grand Adventure | 27 comments

Our life in Australia is now packed into four suitcases. We have no car, no house and no Plan B. There is only one way forward.

7am: Thursday 22nd July 2021

Today is officially our last day in Australia. We’re at The Ovolo, a funky five star hotel in a hip part of Brisbane, nervously waiting for the results of our COVID-free test, which we need before we can board our flight to London tomorrow.

The last few days have been a whirlwind of packing up, shipping out, and frantic last minute calls to cancel forgotten subscriptions and direct debits to services we no longer need.

The worst moment? Watching my dog being driven away in the back of a van 3 days ago on the start of her own epic journey to the UK.

The best? Waking up to an email this morning to hear she made it safely through her Dubai stop-over and she’s on the flight to London.

We said our final goodbyes in Cairns yesterday and we’ve made it this far, which is a huge relief. The Delta strain found its way up to Far North Queensland the day before our departure and there was a moment’s panic when Cairns was put on alert, with talk of a lockdown before we could make it to the airport.

Brisbane is faring no better. It’s not in lockdown, yet, but masks and social distancing are back on the agenda.

1pm: Thursday 22nd July 2021

The Queensland Government just announced its shutting its borders to anyone from New South Wales tonight, and Sydney has reported another spike in new COVID cases. It’s increasing by the day.

Our journey tomorrow takes us from Brisbane to Sydney, then straight on to Hong Kong and London.

I feel like we’re being smuggled across borders in a war zone, with COVID bombs exploding around us as we scurry from one safe house to the next.

Meanwhile our clothes are spilling out of our bullet proof suitcase because Qantas dropped something very large and heavy on it during our flight from Cairns. We had to buy a new one today.

But will we even make it to Sydney? Will our flight be cancelled? Will the paperwork for our all-important COVID test come through in time? My stress levels are at an all time high.

4.30pm: Thursday 22nd July 2021

Good news. We both tested negative. The only problem is, they can’t email us the report until 11 o’clock tonight and we need to leave for the airport at 6.30am tomorrow with a hard copy to show the airline.

Not so good news:  I’ve just spent the last two hours completing online forms for the UK Government, unsure if I’m doing it right, but with no-one to ask. At the same time I was on the phone to Qantas and Cathay Pacific trying to get some clarity around our check in process. Both gave me conflicting advice and now we’re more confused than ever.

There’s only one thing for it.

We need to book into the fabulous Za Za Ta Restaurant in the foyer downstairs and celebrate our final night in Australia in style.

We’ll deal with tomorrow, tomorrow.


Tomorrow came and went. Things went from good to bad to worse. . .and my anxiety level went with them! You can read about it here

Za Za Ta Bar and Restaurant, Brisbane


  1. I don’t think I could survive the stress levels if my life turned into a miniseries!

  2. A new miniseries methinks!! Get writing the script!!!

  3. Don’t toss out your passport just yet. Keep it on mothballs!

  4. Thanks Monika. Watch for the next thrilling instalment. Coming soon!

  5. This is more thrilling than a movie! I pray to God you guys reach London safely.

  6. Glad you finally got did doggie… I think I might chuck my passport in the bin…don’t know that my sanity would cope. But by the time you get this you will be in the UK and hopefully doggie is too…Great adventure!! Looking forward to the ongoing adventure.

  7. Ha ha

  8. Not quite enjoying those bubbles yet. Sydney International Airport is a ghost town.

  9. Thanks, Bev and Jack. Missing you too

  10. Missing you already, fingers crossed for the rest of your journey. Molly looks so comfy. Love Bev Jack

  11. that’s blog not bog but haha you might need one of those too

  12. Love your work, but I had placed myself in your shoes as you should in a really good bog/story and I found I was stressed out on your behalf, blood pressure definitely up 🙂 Hope you are enjoying some bubbles on a plane right now, safe travels.

  13. Stay safe in Canada, Sue, and don’t go near any airports!

  14. Watch this space!

  15. Whoa after reading that Nailbiting stuff Mel it was me who needed a scotch!! And it’s only 7.30am!
    Wonderful missive, looking forward to the next update x

  16. What a nightmare – airline travel is awful at the best of times. I’ve got fingers crossed for the next part of the trip.

  17. It’s comforting to know you’re checking in to read it, Trina.

  18. That’s nail biting stuff… just have a few wines, tomorrow’s a new day. Can’t wait to read tomorrow’s adventure.
    Good luck sleep well… ish. Xx

  19. Ha! Energy isn’t my problem at the moment. I’ve got Adrenalin to spare!

  20. Fabulous blog Mel!
    I don’t know where you found the time and energy to write it with all that was going on.

  21. Thanks, Gaysie. Take care of yourself

  22. A bit like childbirth, Sue

  23. Laughing already, John!

  24. Oh my goodness what a roller coaster. The only good thing about dealing with such adversity is the pure and utter joy when you get through it. Enjoy your champagne! 🥂🥂 and 💤 love your writing Mel. Good luck you two. Xoxo

  25. Great blog. Can’t wait for next update.

  26. ” NIKE ” Just Do It.

  27. OMG, we had no idea, what a hassle, but when your sitting up the pointy end of the tin can tomorrow the bad stuff will just be the notes on your blog and you’ll get a laugh out of it as time passes by….Bon Voyage and Mel, your in charge of Wicks ‘y LOL

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