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Speculative fiction writer, wife, mum, and adventure seeker who just wants some sleep. She lives in sunny Queensland, but often fantasises about snow capped mountains in cooler climates.

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Last Holiday Before the World Changed

Friday, August 21, 2020 by Sarah Hegerty

My family are snow people. Snow makes our heart sing. Summer is not our friend. It turns out it's not the only thing that isn't our friend.


In January we travelled to Canada in an effort to escape the Australian summer, instead replacing it with delicious below zero temperatures and mountains full of amazing champagne powder (snow). This was our second trip to Big White and we were falling in love. We were on the verge of finding a way to make this an annual trip, or even something more permanent. We just couldn't get enough, even when the temperatures dropped to twenty below. 

It's like stepping into another world, especially coming from Queensland. We can't get enough.

We went dog sledding (again), did lots of snowboarding and skiing (daughter skis currently), ate at a bunch of yummy restaurants, and generally had an epic time. Well, until our daughter got sick. She had a very high temperature and wasn't eating and was very lethargic, she said her throat hurt and her body ached. She just slept all day in a semi-comatose state. Only a couple times, ever, had she been this unwell, the last time she ended up overnight in hospital. We took her to the GP (which is all there is up on the mountain) and he said she seemed to have a flu. She was unwell for the rest of the holiday. A couple days after her, my other half started to get sick too. To top it off, I'd fallen on my thumb and it was incredibly painful. Before that trip we hadn't given much thought to needing health care in another country, now it will be one of the major considerations when travelling. We're so used to living in a city with easy access to emergency healthcare that we'd never really given much thought to access to healthcare in general.

When we came back into the country though, there was hints something was off. We still didn't know China had started lock-downs in an effort to contain a rapidly spreading virus, but there were health warnings everywhere when we went through customs. Our daughter was still a little off colour, but had not had a fever for a couple of days and was on the track to recovery, she had been given a medical clearance to travel home. They only really cared about people coming from China. We never in a million years could have predicted that it was the start of a pandemic. The beginning of everything changing, everywhere in the world. If our holiday was a couple of months later it would have been cancelled, because we wouldn't have been allowed leave the country. Something we've never seen in our life before.

Fast forward three months and now we live at home, all the time. My daughter does online learning, my husband works from home. The thumb of my dominant hand is in a splint. It got too hard so I deferred uni. The global economy has basically crashed overnight, it will take a long time to recover. I'm reconsidering what to study at university to improve my employment prospects at the end of the degree.

This Australian summer has been so hot, and the catastrophes have kept rolling in like the opening scene of a dystopian novel. Going to the supermarket for food is like stepping into The Handmaid's Tale, but I don't feel like uttering the words, 'praise be.' We're still lucky. Australia is in a better position than most of the rest of the world at the moment, but no one really knows what the other side of this will look like. It's hard to imagine everything going back to the way it was before. Confined to our Queensland home makes me really miss the snow though. Whatever happens, I think a snow change is going to be on the cards for our family. 

Dreaming of a cooler climate right now.