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Covid Travel Tale

Most of us are familiar with the saying, ‘when life gives you lemons, make lemonade’. This describes perfectly what Dave and Jill Price did when COVID restrictions forced them to cancel their Queensland winter escape. Instead, they set about planning a virtual holiday that took them on a journey around the world – all from the comfort of their own home.

“We had a wonderful holiday,” Jill said.

“We used the internet to research places to go and where to stay, and as no money was involved and there were no
problems with accessibility, we could choose the best and most luxurious hotel rooms!”

The couple allocated budget to buy special treats along the way. They researched recipes from countries they were visiting, stocked the freezer with meals and made some online purchases to enhance the experience.

“To give us that real holiday feeling, we changed the house around to make it feel like a holiday apartment – re-arranged the furniture, put out new cushions, magazines and a tea-making station, stocked up the minibar with treats, put out the fluffiest guest towels and some luxurious toiletries and off we went.” Jill said.

The stress-free holiday, with-no queues delays or jet lag plus a comfortable bed every night, was perfect for someone with Parkinson’s.

“All we had to pack was our sense of fun and our imagination. We landed in perfect weather and “checked in” for our first night, where we celebrated Christmas in July with a Christmas dinner and gifts under the tree to open each day of our two week break.

“We visited a different country every day, mostly countries we have never been to but would love to see. In 14 days we travelled to Iceland, Spain, the Maldives, India, South Africa, Russia, Alaska, The Grand Canyon, Wales (for our wedding anniversary), the Greek Islands, Egypt, Austria and the UK (‘home’ for Dave’s birthday).”

It was the wealth of resources available online that helped them make it more realistic.

“We even had coffee and cake with the background noise of a Spanish café. We did guided tours on YouTube, a virtual safari in the Serengeti, a virtual trek along the Grand Canyon, virtual visits to landmarks like the Taj Mahal, the Pyramids and La Sangria Familia in Barcelona.

“We enjoyed watching movies like “Eurovision”, set in Iceland, and listened to music specific to each country, like the Vienna New Year’s Day concert or the Red Army choir.”

They also learned local dances, including Icelandic folk dancing, a bit of Bollywood, a Viennese waltz and their favourite, Zorba the Greek, which “had us in fits of laughter!” They even had a Nana Mouskouri karaoke night!

“I think the absolute privacy gave us more confidence to have a go than if people had been watching!” they both admitted. They incorporated games and art and craft, playing chess in Russia and the ancient game of Senet in Egypt; building a kit volcano in Greece, painting nesting dolls in Russia, drawing lions in Africa and making pottery in the UK.

And each day, they ate food from the country they were visiting, including Icelandic Lamb Soup, Happy Marriage Cake and Welsh cakes.

“I think our favourite night was the Greek night, when we had moussaka and melamokarona biscuits with Ouzo, then ended the evening by smashing plates, Greek style, outside. We had to explain that one to the neighbours,” Jill said laughing.

“We both had loads of fun, tried some new things, relaxed, didn’t listen to the news (apart from checking the latest restrictions) and at the end of the two weeks, felt we had had a real break. We even had that feeling, at the end, of coming home from holiday,” Dave added.

“We have been blessed to be able to travel fairly extensively over the years, even since diagnosis, and have some lovely memories of wonderful places in the world.

“We have had to adjust our expectations as time has gone on and now look forward to a more local holidays when restrictions are lifted. We live in a beautiful country and there is still plenty to explore!”

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