Covid-19 travel bubble: My Australian trip was for family, not the beach or Instagram

James Dobson went to Brisbane to meet his niece and celebrate her first birthday.

JAMES DOBSON/SUPPLIED

James Dobson went to Brisbane to meet his niece and celebrate her first birthday.

OPINION: Fortunately, for the thousands, if not tens of thousands of New Zealanders stuck in Australia, they can finally return home.

I was stuck in Brisbane, but spare a thought for those in the state of New South Wales who have been left in the lurch for some time on when they can return to New Zealand.

Fortunately for me, it only meant two-weeks of lost wages. Thankfully, my sister who is living there provided food and a roof over my head to minimise my losses.

There will be a number of fellow Kiwis at home watching from their sofas and having their two cents worth.

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I know first-hand about the opinions of Kiwis toward their fellow countrymen and women stuck across the ditch, from comments made through social media. I can assure you that they aren’t very supportive.

Nobody I know has made this trip to go and lay on a beach, to upload photos to their Instagram.

This is about much more than that. It’s about people and family. Isn’t that the most important thing?

As for my reasons for travelling, I came to visit my first and only niece for her first birthday. I’d never met her in person before because of the Covid-19 restrictions that started last year.

Another friend, who is also stuck here, came to visit a nephew who has also just turned 1.

Additionally, one of her friends came over for four days to support a friend whose child needed a serious operation. She was advised halfway through her flight to Brisbane that the travel restrictions were taking place in a few short hours time, meaning her four day trip was now indefinite.

We had no idea that these restrictions were coming into effect. There were no warning signs, alerts or anything to suggest we should be concerned.

I missed my flight back to New Zealand by 14 hours, and if I had an inkling of the restrictions about to occur, I would have taken the first flight home.

I have returned home with a slightly different perspective on the travel bubble, and compassion for those who have suffered far worst than my relatively minor setback.

On a positive note, I was able to spend some valuable time with my niece, who I probably won’t see again for some time.

What is the most important thing in the world? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata.

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