Editorial – May 2022

It wasn’t till the Boeing 777 put its nose into the air and reached for the clouds, that I believed that I was actually off to see son number two and family in Australia. So many Covid hoops had been crawled through. You do not jump at my age—that I was convinced I would never get there. Coming back five weeks later, things were much more relaxed. The faces of many travellers were visible for a start.

Outward bound the Thai official at Zurich airport made me line up all my documentation proving I was fit to fly, before he would let me board the flight to Bangkok. He also asked if I had the requisite amount of travel insurance should I be taken ill. All this conversing of course being done behind dumbing masks. He asked me too how I felt and I nearly said “Hot”, but stopped myself.

Bangkok Airport was functioning at 25% capacity. A wall of metal grills over the retail outlets meant I kept my baht in my purse. There were few people about but in the one airport lounge that was open, I met two Swedish ladies. We discussed world affairs and what to do about Putin over a glass of red and some green tea cake. I do not recommend the latter.

Covid was still a concern in Sweden, and also their adopted country, Australia. However both felt the situation was improving and welcomed the arrival of the Autumn Booster (Spring Booster for us).

Travel broadens the mind

The saying is that travel broadens the mind. If this means you no longer see the world through the tunnel vision of your own nationality, then it is true. You soon realise that humans in every country, not just yours, share the same concerns: the cost of day to day living, their family’s health and safety, their children’s progress in Life and at the moment, Covid!

Geography however, meaning the remoteness of Europe, means that while we were anguishing over the war in Ukraine, Australia was more focused on raising funds for those in the north of New South Wales and Brisbane who had lost everything in the floods. Fourteen metres of flood water had swept away homes, schools and libraries. Twenty two people died, three thousand six hundred homes became uninhabitable and many of those had not been insured due to past floods and rising premiums.

Human kindness meant that soon too many books had been sent to restock the library in Lismore. Human kindness meant also that money was raised to help the homeless in war-torn Ukraine. Some Ukrainian children had also arrived at the local international school where their English and knowledge of life in Australia was being addressed.

Compassion is one feature of being human. Creativity is another. When I went looking there were many examples of artistic creativity. Galleries showcased the vibrant paintings of vivid landscapes and the indigenous fascinating patterns of aboriginal art. But where was the local newsy free paper full of well-written articles, colourful adverts and photos, news of future events and readers’ letters? None to be read.

Next time I visit you know what will be lining my suitcase.

Ros Ousey (Editorial team)