While my motorcycle, and 6 other bikes, are on the way to Australia, the covid-19 pandemic gently sneaks into the world. Having first heard of it while rock climbing in Laos, I didn’t think much of it and was convinced that it wouldn’t be too much of a deal.
Mid February 2020
I entered Malaysia and enjoyed a regular holiday. Nevertheless more stories reached the news, rumours became facts and I soon realized there is something going on pretty close.
While booking my flight tickets to Australia, Singapore decided to close its international borders and put the whole country on a halt. Luckily I could re-book my flight to a direct one and Singapore can wait for another holiday visit.
Something of greater concern was the cargo ship containing our motorcycles had a stopover in Singapore and could be stuck there because of the pandemic. I quickly checked the status of the freight and read the latest update: It left Singapore 3 days ago and is on its way to Brisbane. What a relief!
As I arrived in Australia, they literally almost closed the doors behind me. Little did I know but if I would have arrived 1 week later, I would have faced a locked set of doors in front of me. After a good 2 months I was really stoked to pick up the bike in Brisbane. I worked a couple of days on it and happily rode southbound to visit some friends in Sidney. Some days later breaking news announced border lockdowns of multiple countries all over the world. Starting to really feel the Pandemic crisis, soon I realized how lucky I was being united with my bike and being able to keep on travelling in a huge country like Australia.
Riding south to Sidney was a funny experience. Having suffered from huge bushfires, the Australian forests and nature was far from normal. Riding through black and burned forests became the new standard. Nevertheless I saw new life shooting up, sprouting from trees and creeping up out of small cracks. Fantastic to see nature is coming back!
Arriving in a hostel near Bondy Beach, I got trampled by people…. leaving the city, leaving Australia. The free-to-take-shelve is chockablock with goodies from backpackers desperately trying to return to their home country as fast as possible. This was fantastic for me: free food, cooking gear, wetsuit, clothes, even a six pack of beers!
With COVID 19 kicking in and new regulations appearing, the hostel offered us a 4 person dorm per person (so private room!) for heavily discounted prices in an effort to keep some guests. All the COVID things are not too bad after all…
Unfortunately this didn’t last long. I desperately searched for jobs in and around Sidney but every single recruiting company was closed, construction sites were closing down and soon the whole of Sidney became a ghost town.
Time to leave.
After having climbed with some friends in the Blue Mountains and not finding a job near Sidney, it was time to leave and just start riding south-ish.
I found some sort of a job as a maintenance guy on a horse stud but only for free accommodation and food. At least I wasn’t spending money and could in the meantime search for some other work…. Which was hard to find those days. Two weeks went past and I finally found a great opportunity, living in Jervis Bay near the Beach, doing some maintenance on rental houses and working a bit on a farm. Since holiday renting wasn’t allowed anymore due to regulations, I could stay in one of the Villas with sea side view, which I didn’t mind at all!
7 months work
A good month went past and it was time to move jobs. I found a nice mixed farm on the west side of the great dividing range and settled down for a bit. This little bit became 7 months, since the pandemic didn’t just fly over. On the contrary, it only got worse, with more lockdowns, regulations and restrictions.
I was staying in a little town called Dunedoo, bordering the outback of Australia. Luckily, that tranquil town got spared from all the chaos and frankly, life just moved on as usual (apart from some small restrictions). Mask and social distancing was not always followed since there was not too much foreign traffic anyway.
Without realising, those 7 months flew past like nothing. In the meantime, I could save a fair bit of money, explore the local countryside and even rebuilt my whole motorcycle, making here ready to shred again!
State borders are finally starting to open up again and it is time to move on to the next adventure south!
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