Should I stay or should I go?
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has told Canadians travelling abroad that “it is time to come home.”
But as many travellers are discovering, and writing about on social media, getting home in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic is easier said than done.
Some travellers are being quoted sky-high prices for flights home, if they can find one with seats available.
Queenston’s Gail Kendall has been on holiday in Ubud, Bali, since March 12 and is scheduled to arrive home on March 24.
Bali is 12 hours ahead of NOTL and she learned early Tuesday that Trudeau was urging everyone to come home.
So she “made the decision to honour the request of my prime minister and return home, however, it’s not that easy.
When you’re half a world away in Indonesia, things can get complicated, she told The Lake Report in an interview via email.
“I booked directly with Air Canada and apparently it’s required that I speak with them, which means many hours on hold,” she said.
“I am having no luck getting through to Air Canada in Toronto and Jakarta. I think they should have a designated line for those of us abroad.”
Kendall, who works as a docent and host at the Shaw Festival, is also a volunteer with the TD Jazz Festival when she is home. She also administers the NOTL Bulletin Board Facebook group.
She is travelling with a tour group that includes a lot of Americans, many of whom have very different concerns.
“They don’t really know if they can get back or not,” Kendall said. “They don’t know what airports are open or closed.”
She really would like to make the long trip home – from Denpasar, the capital of Bali, to Singapore to London and, finally, Toronto – but there remains a lot of uncertainty.
“My concern about staying is not being able to get home. My concern about coming home is the fact I am in a healthy country with very low numbers of infection. I am going home to a dead zone and self-isolation.”
The pandemic is a worry in Bali, she said, “and tourism is obviously down, but they were proactive and were screening and testing people. Each resort we have visited or stayed at they take our temperatures first.”
Meanwhile, she said she is well aware about how serious the situation is “but the more I visited social media the more people were becoming panicked, hysterical and judgmental.”
“It’s not easy gaining proper info at the other side of the world and certainly not easy contacting the proper resources either,” she said.
She is trying hard to get home to NOTL either before or on her planned return date.
Are you a NOTLer travelling abroad or know someone who is? Contact The Lake Report to share your story. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please write “COVID traveller” in the subject field.