I went to Queensland for lunch and stayed for three months
I went to Queensland for lunch and stayed for three months

I went to Queensland for lunch and stayed for three months

Sydney (CNN) – My journey has been smooth. I’m going to have lunch for the Australian Tourist Writers Association in Ipswich, on the outskirts of the state capital. Brisbane.

The period coincides with the lifting of the state border closure, after four months of limited freedom movement. Excited to go anywhere, I booked a 90-minute flight on July 29th and arranged to stay with a friend.

But then the business trip turned into a nightmare: I would soon cross the border from my home in New South Wales to Queensland than the door was locked behind me. Sydney Residents – like me – have been officially welcomed. The government declared Sydney a stop for Covid-19, and barred its people from entering Queensland from 1 a.m. that night.

The airline canceled the flight, and the shortage was significantly increased from $ 75 (US $ 50) to $ 1,200 (US $ 900) for me to return home. I would like to buy a one way ticket.

Technically, I wasted no time leaving. However, once I leave I will not let myself come back. Expectations of spending the rest of the year at home do not appeal – a travel writer’s nightmare. So, my decision was simple: I would stay in Queensland, a sunny Olympic island. Australia winter.

There are only two challenges: I have no warm clothes, no car, no computer, no income and no shelter. But I still have no partner, no children, no pets, no plants, no work obligations. Do not worry!

Flights here do not depart from Sydney, Australia, and return to Sydney. Tourists find it difficult to board a plane that flies across the country, with views including Uluru and The Great Barrier Reef. For CNN reporter Kim Brunhuber.

Kindness of strangers

Danielle Lancaster, another lunch writer, offered me a place to stay while she was moving to the remote town of Charleville. Inspired by her abscesses, I spent half a week planning a trip in a different way.

Borrowing her hiking boots left in a half-empty closet, I rented a camper van and drove eight hours to Carnarvon Gorge National Park. My first stop was the charity shop to buy second-hand adventure gear; Then weave a hat, socks, and underwear.

Almost all lodges were closed due to the epidemic, but Takarakka Resort – a “bush resort and a large park” – has one place. I held it for four nights, taking long walks through the valley to discover the original rock art on the sandstone, and examining the ghost plates, quail eggs, and gallons, before cooling off with a quick dip in the icy creek.

From there, I drove without a plan or map, explored the country towns during the day and slept on the edge of the freeway each night. I felt like an absent runaway. Along the way I met many Aussies who lived a similar life, taking the opportunity to see their own backyard while they could not go abroad.

As I was thinking about my next step, my friend Mel allowed me to spend a month in her new apartment on the outskirts of Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley. After two weeks of living in a car, my bedroom felt like heaven.

Determined not to give me too much hospitality, I used it as my base, coming and going up and down the coast, visiting every Queenslander I ever met.

It is time to call in some favor. No one is safe. I called my sister’s sister’s about Kham district, Two hours south by train; My brother’s high school buddy in Surfers Paradise near; Former colleague in Noosa, half day by public transport; And my dad on the small beach town, just a few minutes away.

Freelance colleagues have stepped up, too, now they are on another journey – one’s asking me to take care of her cat; Someone gave me the keys to his Airbnb studio.

This stagnant swimming pool flows surprisingly easily through August and September. Not quite a holiday, it has become a game of transport and acquaintance. What saves me hotel bills, I spend on the train, taxis, and refreshments and dinner with all the hosts.

Wrinkles in the plan

In October, the Expedition Company invited me to visit the company Great barrier reefs The first cruise report since the global industrial suspension. The return of sailing, and the employment, made me think that normalcy would follow soon. The bolt of my cheek to freedom immediately lost its non-witness feel.

But that is about to change. Arriving at Cairns Airport, I brought my ID card, driver’s license along with my Sydney address, and sent it to the Australian Federal Police for proof of my status in Queenslander.

Burying my passenger passport since July is not good enough; That did not prove that I did not leave and returned within the last 14 days. I have not yet received a receipt from the accommodation, with three months of free accommodation. Fortunately, they accepted a banking transaction that represented my local purchase, and I was eventually released.

On my last day in Brisbane, to celebrate my adult breeding, I hosted a farewell party at the Felon Brewery, inviting the same people who attended the event in Ipswich. Eighty-eight days later, on October 24, it was the last time to wrap the world’s longest lunch.

Louise Goldsbury is a writer, editor and columnist who specializes in adventure and solo travel.