EMAIL SENT TO OUR SUBSCRIBERS 22/03/2020
What a crazy & surreal 10 days it’s been.
I’ve started writing this email several times this week and each time not made it to the finish because the situation just keeps changing every day.
Since the coronavirus was officially upgraded to a pandemic by the World Heath Organisation just over a week ago, there has been a frenzy of activity from Governments around the world to try to slow the spread of the virus.
To ‘flatten the curve’ so as to reduce the peak load on our health services and save as many lives as possible.
To achieve this we’ve been asked to minimise contact with other people through social distancing and self isolation (staying home).
International travel has been severely limited with many countries quickly imposing bans on all non-citizens/residents from crossing their borders.
This has left many people stranded on cruise ships and in countries that are not their home.
Our eldest daughter Savanna has been living and studying/working in England for the past 18 months.
But with the situation changing so rapidly and the prospect of her being there by herself over the coming months and not able to fly out, we put her on a plane on Thursday and she is now safely back under our roof.
A massive relief.
People have been scrambling to cancel overseas trips, including us.
We were booked to fly to the UK to visit Savanna and to attend Jen’s nieces wedding in May but that trip is now cancelled.
We’ve seen the progressive banning of large public gatherings to the point where virtually all organised events have been cancelled.
Including all upcoming Caravan, Camping & 4WD Shows for months ahead.
In order to protect the indigenous communities who are more vulnerable to the coronavirus, the tip of Cape York is closed to outside travellers and most other indigenous communities across the country have also limited visitor access.
Travellers intending to visit the Kimberley are being asked to reschedule their trips.
It’s absolutely gut wrenching when I think about the tourism and hospitality businesses that are being impacted by this - and of course other business’s as well.
As if the drought and bushfires were not enough, now we’ll have no inbound tourists into Australia for at least 6 months and probably more.
And to make matters worse, states and territories are now closing their borders and enforcing a mandatory 14 day self isolation for new arrivals with only a few exemptions (health care workers, transport drivers & other essential services).
Tasmania has already closed it’s borders, the Northern Territory has confirmed theirs will be closing next week and as of this morning, South Australia is looking like doing the same.
This will have the effect of creating a wall in the middle of the country and make it practically impossible to travel outside of our home states.
With the inevitable drop in visitor numbers this will bring we’re starting to see caravan parks and campgrounds announce that they are closing or at least considering it and waiting to see what happens.
Many tourist attractions have also announced in recent days their intention to close.
If you were planning to start your Big Lap any time in the next 6 months then it would seem at this stage that postponing it is the only practical decision to make.
Staying closer to home with so much uncertainty at the moment is likely more appealing for most people anyway.
For travellers currently on the road and with no home base to return to and no friends/relatives close by to stay with, then I’d be actively looking for somewhere to setup a longer term base camp where you can ’self isolate’ and wait it out.
Somewhere in or near to a major regional town so you have access to supermarkets, facilities, resources, mobile phone range and the Internet.
There is light at the end of the tunnel
We will get past this and the tougher it is in the short term the less the loss of life and the impact on the economy will be in the long term.
The China turnaround has shown that committed action early can make a big difference compared with Italy which was slow to react and is paying the price.
The coronavirus may mean you have to delay your Big Lap trip for a year, or maybe two.
If it’s any consolation we had many hurdles to overcome before our Big Lap and it took us 7 years to get from ‘We’re doing this’ to the first day of our trip.
As we’ve seen many times in history, adversity brings out the best in people.
Most people are inherently good and want to do the right thing and help each other.
While there will always be a minority of idiots stockpiling toilet paper ensuring others miss out, the vast majority are not like that.
We will get past this initial ‘panic’ period where it seems like the supermarkets will never be restocked and the world as we know it is rapidly coming to an end.
And things will settle down to a new normal.
It’s times like this when we need to count our blessings that we live in Australia with plenty of open space and no shortage of resources.
We’re one of the most self sufficient countries on earth so we won’t starve and we won’t run out of toilet paper!
There are tough times ahead for all of us.
But having an end goal to focus on can help pull you through the tough times.
If your end goal is to take a year or two off and do your Big Lap then keep your Big Lap dream alive.
Recalibrate your plans, change gears and keep going.
The big question on my mind this week has been ‘What can we do to help?’.
What can we do to help Aussie Big Lappers and what can we do to help Aussie tourism and hospitality business’s?
And we have a few ideas.
With Expedition Australia we have a platform that reaches up to 100,000 Aussie road trippers on a regular basis.
Through our Big Lap Film Series, Big Lappers Guide Book, email newsletters, Facebook posts, blogs on our website and our videos on our YouTube channel we do what we can to inspire people to get out and see Australia.
And we’re going to keep going with all of that.
So that when this coronavirus pandemic is over and the country opens up again, we have thousands of people ready to hit the road.
After all with all the self isolation we have ahead of us, we’re all going to be desperate to get outside for a while anyway!
We also want to help travel and hospitality business’s as much as we can.
To do this we’re going to open up our blog, our newsletter and our Facebook page to help promote (for free) Aussie travel and hospitality business’s to our road tripping community.
We’ll be working on the details & logistics of this more over the next week or two so stay tuned, but the gist of it is we want to use our platform to help connect Aussie travel and hospitality business’s with our community.
In the meantime if you are one of these business’s, know someone who is or have any ideas about how we can best achieve this, hit REPLY and email us your thoughts.
The world is pretty dark right now but there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Our goal is to do what we can to make that light as bright as possible.
We’ll all need to be armchair travellers for a while but having something great to look forward to will pull us through.
Stay tuned. There is lots more to come.
See you on the road (one day soon).
Steve, Jen & Girls