In January 2020 my life was in my hands –
I was the Master of my own Destiny.
I made plans and decisions that were up to me to fulfil – bringing desires, dreams and wishes to fruition.
But then… in the blink of an eye Covid-19 decreed All Change…
Plans to go interstate…. or bigger plans to go overseas….. were thwarted as borders slammed shut.
Smaller, simpler everyday plans to pop out for a yoga class, go to a theatre production or visit an Art Gallery… Meet up with friends at a cafe or even get a haircut were all off the radar as small businesses were forced by the Government to close so as to reduce the chance of community transmission…
Life as I and the global population knew it, was put on hold.
2020 was a year of accepting new rules and adapting – changing life long habits to fit in with newly imposed draconian regimes.
We changed our shopping habits – setting out on a mission to keep potential contaminants at bay by deftly dodging up and down supermarket aisles.
We changed the way we went out for a walk – giving other walkers a wide berth to avoid their exhalations!
We changed the way we worked – staying home to avoid crowded commutes and/or office space not designed for social distancing.
The dynamics of family groups changed – either by spending 24/7 with them – or not being able to touch and hold them at all, with greetings and catch-ups made via a screen.
Routines, the security blanket to our lives, were thrown to the wind –
And with that change came an unsettling uncertainty.
We had time on our hands to review our pre-Covid life and question its validity –
And for those, where the fly in the ointment to making a change before Covid had been the fear of loss of income – With incomes now jeopardised – Covid potentially provided an opportunity to take that unknown leap.
When Covid-19 struck Australia in March 2020, my husband and I were caught out –
Supposedly just visiting Tasmania for a 6 week camping holiday, prior to taking a trip to Scotland for the northern hemisphere summer; when Australia’s International border and then State borders closed, not only were we unable to leave – but we also had nowhere to go…
Our status changed from tourist to itinerant!
With winter coming we bought a caravan and ensconced ourselves in a government designated #lockdown caravan park in the verdant valley of Gunns Plains in the NW of Tasmania ~
10 days later, my husband had a stroke… which I wrote about here.
All change again
The Tasmanian lockdown lasted 10 weeks from the end of March to the 15th June 2020 –
But rather than pulling up pegs and scuttling off into the sunset with glee, we then needed to embark upon my husband’s stroke rehabilitation, which during Covid-19’s lockdown had been forbidden due to no face-to-face appointments being permitted.
We attended a weekly 2 hour session over 6 weeks at the local hospital with a wonderful neuro-psychologist who guided us through memory retention techniques and how to best process, plan and problem solve after a haemorrhagic stroke, with fun homework sessions involving Phil one week having to plan and prepare a Lhaksa (yum!!), and on another, pull together a complex recipe for a Christmas fruit cake (delish!) 🙂
Our Changed Life
Realigned and revitalised we finally flew the coup, embarking upon a previously unimagined life of slow-travelling Tasmania in our new home – our caravan.
Having got ‘stuck’ in Tasmania in the first instance – had a life changing incident – we are now loving this unplanned life!
Every week or so we change our location, following the road ahead to move on between 50 to 100km; setting up camp to explore the area wherever we find ourselves, we bushwalk into woodlands, hike up to waterfalls and plunder through national parks.
We’d been advised that hiking over uneven ground is great for neuroplasticity -reconnecting areas of the brain that have been affected by stroke – so we spent two weeks at Cradle Mountain hiking up past Crater Lake to Marions Lookout returning via Wombat Pool. Walked around Dove Lake via Glacier Rock and the Ballroom Forest. We took an easy wander down the boardwalk from Ronny’s Creek via Snake Hill back to the Interpretive Centre. Then went down the Dove Canyon Circuit which involved scrambling up a precipice, before enjoying the Enchanted Forest with its wonderful decorated shelters for children to discover.
We went to Philosophers Falls near Waratah, Dip Falls near Stanley, which cascades over hexagonal rocks making the water fly – particularly when in full flood after rain; and then the tallest waterfall in Tasmania – Montezuma Falls, near Rosebery, which involved a 10km return hike along a disused mining tramway lined with tree ferns.
We saw Little Penguins at the Lillico Beach Conservation Area near Devonport, a starling murmuration as they gathered to go to roost at dusk down by the harbour in Stanley, and a baby Wombat popping its head out of it’s mother’s backward facing pouch near Waldheim at Cradle Mountain!
Below is footage I took at Stanley Harbour of starlings forming a murmuration
We were virtually blown away on the wild west coast of Tasmania at World’s End…
And felt the exhilaration of flying free when this wedgetail eagle greeted us at the top of a hike across the button grass plains in the Tarkine region…
I suspect our Australian International border will be closed both in and out (other than for repatriations) for at least the better part of 2021; and there is nothing sure about our State borders as mini outbreaks of Covid bring down the shutters in an instance.
But having had to spend 2020 pivoting to the demands of others I can’t believe anything greater than what we have had to change to date can crop up in 2021.
For us – we will continue on our unplanned journey –
A journey of gentle transformation rather than abrupt change…
Of course working on Journey Jottings as we go –
Wishing you all a year of gentle transition to the place you wish to be 🙂
All photographs taken in Tasmania by Linda Fairbairn during 2020
First, let me just say how glad I am reading about your husband’s continued recovery and new found strengths. I can only imagine how terrifying that was for both of you.
We also cancelled all scheduled travel for 2020 back in early March when flights were booked for Europe. If 2020 taught me anything it’s that sh*t happens and we all have to learn to stop looking forward and live in the present. I suspect proof of vaccination will be the ticket for all international travel.
Your photos are lovely and it’s wonderful that you defined your changing path and it worked! Stay safe and take care ~
Patti recently posted..Lessons Learned in the Year 2020
Thanks so much Patti 🙂
The main residue of the stroke is fatigue – which I should have mentioned!! We do these great hikes but then he does need to rest to recuperate – But Tassie is the best place for variety when it comes to walking – and travelling!
I so agree with you re living in the present – After so many changes of plans at the start of last year I too stopped trying to arrange my future but rather focus on the here and now 😉
That way you can never be disappointed!
I’ve been thinking of you both since I read about your husband’s stroke. I’m currently reading Bill Bryson’s A Walk in The Woods – after reading your post I believe you too would have enough material (and a riveting story) to write a book! Lots of love to you.
Awww – Holly – Thanks so much for your kind words 🙂
Here’s to living life in the present during 2021!!
Wow, Linda! I can’t believe what you’ve been thru! I’m glad to hear your husband is recovering. You are a strong woman. Wishing you all the best for 2021. You deserve a year without trauma.
Thanks Doreen ~ 2020 taught me to immerse myself in the present and not waste precious time making plans for the future that can be whipped away from us in an instant… a bit like being fully in the moment as that piece of chocolate melts in your mouth – Bliss! 😉
What I can say is that Tasmania has probably become your paradise in the pandemic. It is perfect, close to nature as evidenced by your outstanding videos. So happy that your husband is on the way to full recovery.
Yes – Tasmania certainly has been the perfect place to be both from the point of view a pandemic and a place to recuperate – We are very grateful that we got ‘stuck’ here!!
Thank you for sharing your story! It’s been a difficult and challenging year. I think that many of us have discovered just how strong, flexible, resourceful, and hopeful we can be. Here’s to a brighter 2021 with health and happiness.
I’m not sure whether its a trait of travellers to be more adept at pivoting when confronted with a changing scenario? But certainly 2020 showed us just how adaptable and accepting we are when faced with a changing horizon 🙂
A very challenging year for you. I’m glad you managed to find some positives, and hope that 2021 will be better!
Karen Warren recently posted..Why Visit Saxony? A Virtual Tour
Thanks Karen ~ These are challenging, yet changing times, offering us all the opportunity to reflect and review our futures…
I hope your 2021 blossoms fruitfully 🙂