So, About Those Grand 2020 Plans…

Oh hey guys! Well geez, things have changed since my last personal update in late January.

It probably goes without saying that I’m not in the US right now as originally planned. I thought I’d be based in LA for the month, attending my events (which have been postponed), and then making my way east to visit my family for the first time in two years.

But NOPE. All my travel plans have been put on hold ever since the Coronavirus took over the world. I’m technically still nomadic as intended, though have been based in Sydney ever since the Coronavirus restrictions started. I literally have no plans for the foreseeable future, except for the very loose plan of laying low in Sydney until it’s safe/allowed to travel again.

Here’s a little update on how the first third of the year has gone for me (spoiler alert: NOT AT ALL how I imagined it would).

australia coronavirus
I miss the NSW South Coast.

Life Just Before COVID-19

So 2020 kicked off with a couple of road trips:

First, I flew to Perth and road tripped around Southwest Australia for 3 weeks and it was nothing short of glorious. I’ve already blogged the %^# out of it, but the short story is: BEACH ADVENTURES EVERY DAY.

Then, I returned to Sydney and stayed at an Airbnb in Manly for a couple weeks before embarking on what was meant to be a 3.5 week road trip around New South Wales. The first half of it I had my bf with me (uh yup, that happened! 2020 is craaaaazy) and we went down to the South Coast, spending most of our time around the Sapphire Coast (5-7 hours south of Sydney). We camped right next to the beach most nights and it was BLISS.

Then for the second half of the road trip, I was planning on heading north of Sydney and ending the trip with a weekend away with my adventure babes – but then Corona hit, so I ended up returning the campervan and hibernating in Sydney instead.

sapphire coast camping

Where I Was When The Outbreak Began

I was on my South Coast road trip when Corona hit, and honestly I’m so glad for this because it was so easy to tune out all the noise and remain ignorant of how quickly things were changing because I wasn’t on my computer.

Occasionally I’d check social media on my phone and see some obnoxious posts about it, but I’d just roll my eyes and think pssh, whatever, surely it’s not THAT bad.

THEN my two business events in the US got postponed, due to the state of California banning large gatherings until further notice. That was when my carefully-laid plans started to fall apart. I was pretty bummed, but I figured I would still fly to the US as planned and wing it.

As we got further into our trip, cafes started refusing to serve me coffee in my takeaway cup. Y’all know I HATE using disposable coffee cups, so that really killed me.

By the end of the road trip (~22 March), cafes had switched to takeaway-only and people weren’t allowed to eat inside anymore. Still, Jervis Bay seemed to be running as normal apart from that, with plenty of folks still at the beach and picnic areas.

Shortly after we returned to Sydney and before I was due to set off for the second half of my road trip (26 March), state campgrounds and national parks closed, which I took as my cue to return the campervan and abort mission.

And that was about the point where I knew sh*t was getting real, and that I probably wasn’t going back to America anytime soon.

jervis bay australia
Blissfully unaware that this would be my last beach day this summer :(

What I’m Doing During The Pandemic

I’ve been living with my bf in his studio apartment in North Sydney for the past 6 weeks. Originally I had booked a stay at the same Airbnb in Manly for 3 weeks in April, just before I was due to fly to the US – but the government was urging everyone to STAY HOME and we didn’t yet understand how serious Corona was, so I felt like the safe thing to do was to stay where I was at the time.

In terms of location, North Sydney is very close to the Sydney Harbour Bridge and it’s quite central, so really it’s an ideal place to be. I’m loving my daily coffee run and strolls around Kirribilli (the neighboring ritzy waterfront suburb). We love to sit on the wharves with our coffees and gaze out at the Opera House and city skyline. Sunset walks on the harbour have been exceptional, too!

sub base platypus
Sunset walks at Sub Base Platypus, a new park in my backyard.

In terms of housing, well… I probably don’t need to tell you how challenging it is sharing a studio apartment with another person. I am SO grateful to have a free place to live, especially given my blog income has dried up during this time. But it’s been quite the adjustment. Not only are we sharing the studio, but we’re both at home all day working… and then at home after work… and then at home on weekends. We’re together 24/7 in this tiny space and I’m living out of suitcases that I have stashed by the door so that they don’t take up precious living space.

Given the circumstances, we’re doing exceptionally well. The apartment is old AF, with hot water that never lasts an entire shower and filipino neighbors that blast the TV into the wee hours of the night on the daily. I’m trying my best to maximize what space we have: I do my laptop work at the kitchen counter, I do yoga on the floor space between the bed and the couch (it’s like 2 square meters of carpeting), I sit against the wardrobe when I’m journaling or reading. Sometimes I take my laptop outside and sneakily work at a picnic table in one of the nearby parks.

While far from ideal, it works. We’ve adapted well and are in good spirits, feeling hopeful about life post-pandemic.

sydney lorikeets
Our new pet lorikeets! ;)

I mean look, I’m a massive introvert, I already work from home, and I’ve done loads of personal development in recent years – I kinda feel like I was MADE to endure a pandemic like this, while most people are trying on that lifestyle for the first time and maybe struggling with it. So I’m totally fine! Itching to travel and get back to adventuring, yes, but I’m embracing this unique period in time.

I’ve seen a lot of people (lookin’ at you, travel influencers) vowing to change the way they travel when this is all over, promising to travel slower and really stop to enjoy the moment rather than just capture it. And it’s made me realize: I have no regrets! I’m not looking back wishing I’d been more present on my past travels or taken advantage of my freedom when I had more of it. I really feel like I’ve made the most of my travels, spending more time in one place and constantly reminding myself to be present. Equally, I’ve also made the most of my time at home, savoring my home base while sprinkling in plenty of local adventures.

I don’t often stop to acknowledge myself for accomplishments or wins, so this is me doing that now – good job, Lindsay! You know you’re doing life right when you have no regrets.

sunset sydney harbour

Sydney During COVID-19

We have it pretty good in Sydney, I must say. Stage 3 restrictions have been in place for over a month now, which means we’re only allowed to leave the house for grocery shopping and exercise – and when we’re out, we have to practice “social distancing” (a phrase which I hope I’ll never hear again after this is all over). And I believe you’re only allowed to have one house visitor at a time (though last week it changed to 2 visitors at a time). And of course, no non-essential travel, with the government encouraging us to stick close to our suburb to minimize spread.

At first, people here were all about wearing masks, hoarding toilet paper, and going out of their way to keep their distance. Lately it feels like we’re all tiptoeing around wondering, is it ok to go back to normal-ish now? There are plenty of people that seem to be out and about for leisure, sitting around in parks and standing around chatting. I’ll admit to laying out in parks to get some sun and doing a bit of work on park benches and tables. But for the most part, people are bending the rules while keeping distance from others.

Except at the beaches, it seems – which is why most of Sydney’s beaches have been closed for the past month. This KILLS me, but at the same time it means I don’t have FOMO being far from the beaches now.

Actually, Anna and I (she’s also moved from Bondi to North Sydney!) walked all the way to Chinamans Beach in Mosman a couple weeks ago, which took over an hour – but we were determined to get some sun and swim time in. We got there all hot and sweaty and managed to jump in for a quick swim before the police came and shut down the beach. What timing! I think that beach must have been one of the few still open, so it was pretty crowded – kinda not surprised they closed it.

spirituality and travel

My Hobbies During COVID-19

Yes, I’m one of those ambitious folk who’s determined to make something good come out of the lockdown.

Here are some new things I’m doing:

  • I’ve enrolled in Jim Fortin’s Transformational Coaching Program (TCP) using the funds I had allocated for my travels in the coming months. It’s been fantastic so far. Both my bf and I are going through it together and we’ve incorporated a self-hypnosis session both before bed and first thing in the morning. I’ve finally given in and started using a planner to plan my days and weeks out. More to come on this, once I’ve fully integrated it into my life! (BTW I highly recommend his podcast)
  • I’ve gotten back into yoga. Though my yoga mat is in storage, I’ve just been practicing on the carpeted floor in our studio with Yoga by Adriene’s YouTube videos. I’ve got blocks and a strap on the way, too. One of my lockdown goals is to be able to do a headstand and forearm stand (the real way, by lifting up with your core and not using a wall), so I’ve started practicing that every day – and dang it’s exhausting!
  • I watch Friends reruns every evening. Yes I’ve seen every episode about a dozen times over the years, but it NEVER GETS OLD. Who’s with me? (Also how good is season 5? THEY DON’T KNOW WE KNOW THEY KNOW!)
  • I’m pivoting (ugh I hate that word) with my online course, which obviously won’t be relevant until we’re all able to travel freely again. I do still plan on launching it at some stage, but in the meantime I’ve started working on another project which I’m even more excited about. More to come on this toooooooo ;)

australian virtual citizenship ceremony
About to click that green button to join my virtual ceremony!

Surprise! I’m an Australian Citizen!

So far the best thing to come out of this pandemic is the fact that I’m officially an Aussie citizen!

Citizenship interviews/tests and ceremonies have been on hold during this time, but to avoid a massive backlog of candidates to process, Australia has recently started conducting online citizenship ceremonies. I got an email about it and was asked to reply with whether I’d be keen to do an online 1:1 ceremony via video call, or wait for some unknown date in the future to have my ceremony in person.

As much as I’d been looking forward to that moment of glory and having a celebratory dinner afterwards with friends, I figured it was more practical to do it sooner, virtually. I don’t want to have to plan my future travels around a ceremony date like I did earlier this year (they send you a ceremony invite in the mail with 30 days notice, which isn’t really ideal when you’re nomadic).

So on April 29, 2020, I became a citizen of Australia! It was the easiest, most underwhelming thing: they just verified my identity and had me recite the pledge on a 5 minute video call. Dual-citizenship, woohoo!

Now I’m just waiting for my certificate so I can apply for my Australian passport! I’ve been joking that the main reason I wanted citizenship was so I could have a kangaroo on my passport, which is actually pretty true. I really am so excited for that!

sydney during coronavirus
View from my Airbnb in Manly.

What’s Next?

I’m not planning a THING until it’s clear when/where we’ll be able to travel again. Instead, I’m preparing for my first-ever winter in Sydney.

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve done a swell job at weaseling my way out of winter these past 5 years. This year, I’d planned to miss ALL of Australian winter, not just part of it, so all of my cold weather clothing and jackets are in storage (not that I really have much of it). So I’ve started ordering some winter clothes in preparation for the months to come. I’m also going to carry on with my lockdown hobbies and goals so I have something to show for this time spent in isolation.

There’s no telling when restrictions will be lifted, but when they do I’ll be off again for sure. The bf is keen to leave his job and travel with me long-term, so we’re tossing around some options while remaining realistic about the situation.

Honestly, I’d be happy to resume my Aussie road tripping if we’re still not able to travel internationally by the end of the year. Mostly I just want my beach weather back! We got gipped this year here in Sydney, with the bushfires smoking out the first half of summer, and then Corona wiping out the end of summer. Can we have a redo please?

Hope you’re doing well, wherever you are right now!