Today we have a guest blog from one of our customers, Billie Spencer who just last week travelled to Australia. She shares her story of what it is like moving to Australia during a global pandemic.
In early 2019 my husband and I decided to return to live in Adelaide and, with a sense of déjà vu, confidently began making arrangements to ship our house and workshop contents, two small dogs and our 1976 VW camper. It was a little daunting, but we had moved to Australia before, and knew that careful planning would take care of any concerns, or so we thought!
After a couple of glitches with our house sale, by mid-March 2020 our container was packed, dispatched, and heading for Adelaide. Our masterplan meant the dogs would be sent in early April and we would fly a week later. So far, so good.
Aware of the unfolding Covid 19 pandemic we were confident that all would go according to plan.
And then, bit by bit, our carefully made arrangements fell by the wayside. The dogs’ flight was cancelled first, just ten days after our shipment left the UK. Our flights were first rescheduled and then cancelled shortly after.
In this new and slightly unnerving uncertainty our one constant was the house sale, which completed in early April. We moved into a rented cottage and, with our belongings well on the way to Australia, and the UK in lockdown, all we could do was wait!
Our shippers and pet relocators were fabulous at keeping us updated, but there were some nail-biting moments. Finally, we left, and so did our dogs, in early June. Travel restrictions mean that we had to fly into Melbourne, rather than our final destination of Adelaide, but we were on our way.
However, bearing in that the UK had been in lockdown since the latter part of March, and how strange that had been, nothing could have prepared us for the actual journey to Melbourne.
Heathrow was almost completely deserted, feeling vaguely post-apocalyptic. We were handed face masks on arrival, check in was swift and efficient and almost everything except Boots and WH Smith was closed up in the departure hall. It was eerily quiet everywhere. We boarded our flight to be met by the cabin crew, dressed in white hazmat suits, goggles, masks and gloves.
Our arrival in Melbourne was no less surreal. We were met at the plane doors, and subsequently through the whole arrivals process, by a raft of mask-wearing officials, including federal police, border force officers, doctors and nurses and other health and government officials. We were informed that the bus that would take us to our quarantine hotel would be escorted by an unmarked police car! Ahead lay 14 days quarantine in a hotel in central Melbourne.
So, we’ve had a few days to reflect on our journey. Everyone we have come into contact with has been friendly and helpful, and we have had plenty of information from many sources. And, in reality, we have been lucky. Our departure was delayed by a couple of months and we have had to come into Melbourne rather than Adelaide. The real stresses have been caused by the uncertainty of the situation, but we are here, and soon to be reunited with our daughter, already living in Melbourne, and the two dogs.
Now all we have to do is get to Adelaide and then, following 14 days of self-isolation in South Australia, we will be reunited with our worldly goods and will finally be able to begin the next part of our adventure.
We couldn’t have done any of this without the help and expertise of John Mason International. A special thank you to Billie in the pet relocation department who has worked tirelessly to get our dogs to Australia, keeping us informed and up to date at every stage! Thank you.