Lucas and Natasha Quenby left Tasmania with hopes of seeing the world about 10 years ago. They moved to England to be on the doorstep of Europe, but now in light of the COVID-19 pandemic they want to come home.
Mrs Quenby’s grandmother recently moved into aged care and the continued lockdown of global borders has changed their thought process around living away from family.
The pair made the decision to return home months ago, but getting back into Australia hasn’t been as simple as they thought it would be.
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If all goes to plan the couple will be quarantining in Sydney come mid-September, but Mrs Quenby said the process to get back to Australia had been very stressful.
“We’ve booked with Singapore Airways [and] we’ve already had one cancellation,” she said.
“At the moment our current booking seems ok … [with] Singapore Airlines every week a new schedule comes out so we are nervously checking it to see if our flight is still on there.”
It is not just problems with airlines that have caused them headaches.
Mr Quenby said they have had to prove they are moving back to Tasmania in order to be allowed to return home.
“We have had to get a lease agreement from our parents because we don’t have active drivers licences anymore,” he said.
“Even though we are Tasmanian a lease agreement is the only way we can prove it so we don’t have to do our second quarantine in a hotel.
“I’ve never lived in any other state, my husband was born in Perth but came to Tasmania when he was 15 … what if we can’t get in? That’s where my parents and family live.”
Mrs Quenby was also worried they wouldn’t be accepted when they returned due to the public sentiment around people returning from overseas.
She said when the lockdown first happened they made the tough decision to stay in London because they were still both employed full time and could afford to pay their bills.
“You can’t just pack up your whole life and board a plane. When the lockdown happen we both [thought] ‘should we pack up and desperately and go but, the advice, as much as it was get on a plane and come home, it was if you are ok … you should stay,” she said.
“We both still had full time work … we still had a roof, we could still pay our bills. So it just felt wrong to desperately get one of those seats from the governments repatriation flights.”
“We’re Tasmanians, we went out to go and explore the world, we want to come back … and reintegrate and bring our skills and knowledge back,” Mr Quenby added.
“People have jobs and leases and obligations … you can’t just pack up and [leave] it takes time.”
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