Isolation Around the World: Melbourne

Name:  Heather
Location:  Melbourne, Australia
Workplace:  Program Development Manager at Educational World Travel, cleaner at Box Hill Hospital, private tutor
Socials:  @traveloneblockback


ISOLATION CONDITIONS:  Restrictions are slowly being lifted around the country, however Victoria is being more cautious than others.  We currently have two clusters of infections associated with a meat packing centre and a McDonald's.  Travel between states may be possible again soon, as might travel to New Zealand or island nations in the Pacific.


Number of people in isolation with me:  Two housemates (though it is rare to see one of them so maybe I should say 1.5 or even 1.25 people).
Do I have any pets keeping me company?  No, I wish I did.  In the first couple of weeks I looked up animals for adoption (generally after a couple of wines) but I travel for work so it wouldn't be fair on them when this is all over.
How many rolls of toilet paper do I currently have?  Over 20.  I always buy in bulk from Who Gives a Crap as 50% of the profits go towards building toilets for underprivileged communities and improving sanitation in the developing world.  If you're time poor and eco-conscious, check them out.
On a scale of 1 to 10, how well stocked is my alcohol cabinet?  8 - I can make quite a variety of cocktails with the spirits I've got, if I remember to get the mixers when I head to the shops.  I usually have a bottle or two of wine lying around as well, plus I've started my 11yr old Havana Club Rum, which is going down nicely (so nicely, in fact, that I might have to return to Cuba when this is all over).
One thing in my kitchen cupboard that I know I won’t eat but is there for emergencies:  Pearl couscous - I've never cooked it before therefore it just sits there, looking at me, waiting for me to be inspired to look up some recipes...  Still waiting...
What am I binge watching/listening to/reading at the moment?  So far during iso I've watched 'Hollywood', 'The Good Place' and 'Upper Middle Bogan'.  I've also joined two book clubs, so reading is taking up a lot of my time.  Too many titles to list here, so post a comment if you want to know more.  I'm also listening to several podcasts, including The Mindset Mentor, Women Who Travel and She Mentors.
Which Hollywood star would play me in a movie version of my isolation story?  So much has happened in the last couple of months, but I'd want my film to be a comedy.  It would star Jennifer Lawrence and be called "Hard No" (based on my internet dating encounters during iso).
Who do #IStayHomeFor?  My parents and family, essential workers (in particular those in the health care, teaching and cleaning industries) and myself, because the sooner we get through this the sooner I can travel again.

What is the strangest thing I've found in my apartment during isolation?  I only moved into my unit just over a year ago, so I haven't discovered anything strange in my room.  It's not a physical thing, but I have discovered that one of my housemates (the one I rarely see) lets out a tremendously loud sneeze at some point each morning.  My other housemate and I now play 'Sneeze Bingo' and try to predict when the sneeze will occur each day.  At the end of each week, the loser has to buy the winner a drink from our local cocktail bar, Rosalita's.  I'll really miss this game once life returns to 'normal'.


Weirdest isolation meal I’ve eaten so far?  There was one night where I had left over rice but genuinely couldn't be bothered cooking anything to go with it, so I added some Thai green curry paste, whacked it in the microwave and that become dinner.  Another night I had a similar situation with mashed potato, except I added pesto to it.  Neither meal was particularly interesting, but both were full of flavour and kept away the hunger.

Random skill I would like to learn while in isolation?  I signed up for Spanish language classes just before isolation.  We only managed to get three classes in face-to-face before we were forced to move onto Zoom.  Those nine weeks went so quickly, so I've just signed up for the next class.  Now I just need to set aside the time to practice properly each day...  I've also really wanted to learn how to count cards, but I think I'm already juggling too much at the moment.

Any heart-warming isolation stories I would like to share?  Rather than share some heart-warming stories, of which there have been many, I thought I'd share some of my internet dating fails because they are far more entertaining and guaranteed to make you laugh.  The first guy I was chatting to seemed great.  Early childhood educator, similar age, similar interests, or so I thought.  He had some particular things he was keen to try in the bedroom.  When I probed for more details, I got a little more than I could handle.  Let's just say that he was hoping for more people to be involved, with others watching, while in a public place, and trying some 50 Shades of Grey s**t just to keep it interesting.  Plus he wanted to put a fist where I really don't think it belongs.  It was at that point I advised him that none of that would be happening and I moved on.  Another one seemed promising, though could guess so much about me from my profile that I was beginning to feel like a stereotype.  Unfortunately this one was also eager on sharing the bedroom with a third, so sad goodbye to him as well.  For now I'm giving it all a break, because as you can see I'm a very busy lady and I haven't got time for that s**t.  Where are all the regular guys???  Please point me in the right direction...

Best isolation/social distancing meme I’ve seen?  As I work in the travel industry and I'm missing travel a lot right now, I love this one which was sent to me by Meraki Minimalism.  It perfectly sums up how my travel plans have panned out this year...

Apart from leaving the house, what is the biggest thing I miss right now?  I miss so many things, some big, some small.  I miss going to the gym, having drinks at the pub and going to the G for the footy.  I think, ultimately, I miss the freedom to do what I want when I want.  Obviously I miss travel, but I do look forward to exploring Australia more as state restrictions lift (think there might be a new blog series brewing).  Sometimes I don't realise I miss something until I can't do it.

What’s the first thing I'm going to do when isolation comes to an end?  I'm going to go for a big walk along the beach, maybe down the Mornington Peninsula, by myself.  I know that seems strange, considering I've been away from people for so long, but I think I'll need some time to reflect and process what we've been through, and what I want my new 'normal' to be moving forward.

What I'd like to see as the “new normal” once this is all over?  I would absolutely love to see more governments focused on sustainability and harmony with the environment.  There's been a fascination on social media with the cleaner, clearer air and random animals that have returned to locations, for example pumas in Santiago (Chile), wild boar in Barcelona (Spain) and coyotes in San Francisco (USA).  I know that won't last when this is all over, but I'd like governments and people in general to appreciate that we have a chance to create a 'new normal' moving forward.  This is our chance to start again and redefine what is important to us.