This time last year I was in hotel quarantine. It wasn’t part of my plan to be in a hotel for 14 days, when I flew down to Melbourne to visit my father.  My trip was a deliberate ‘ check-up of my dad’s place and him as well,’ to see how he was traveling; a 4-night stay, however, in the words of John Lennon, ‘life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.’  On the flight back from Melbourne after being in lockdown for just over a week, I spent a nervous time still unsure if I would be going into quarantine with another passenger, Geraldine.  The two of us flew home on our private jet! We were the only ones on the flight feeling quite special and quite ridiculous at the same time.  Sitting on the wing side seats, with probable luggage under the plane, more than likely sliding into the walls, without any other luggage to buffer it.  Quite a bizarre experience and certainly a first!

Looking back, those 2 weeks - 14 days in the hotel went quicker than I expected, and out of a perceived major inconvenience, I turned it into something good.  For several years I’ve been saying, I’ll get on to this book, the follow-up a book to ‘The Poo In You’.  As I’m out of stock of this book, I wanted to create a book that would be like a sequel, and give more details on living a life in harmony with the gut, the inner and outer world that a human has to navigate to stay well and in tip-top condition.  I knew there would be more to this book, I was struggling with a title and even the content, until I found myself in a confined environment, that I couldn’t leave and circumstances I couldn’t change!  I was forced to get on with it, and I really don’t think I would have been able to produce my book if it wasn’t for this time.

When I arrived at the airport at Maroochydore on the 3rd of June, both Geraldine and myself were greeted by a tall corporate-looking lady with a black mask over her nose and mouth!  I did not wear a mask!  Geraldine was escorted in one direction and I into another.  2 male and 2 female police officers were in the customs room when I arrived. I noticed Geraldine was able to leave and make her way out of the airport, because the night before she stayed overnight in the Melbourne airport and did not exit, she had originally traveled from Tasmania, and was told if she left the airport, she would have to do quarantine in Brisbane!  So Geraldine spent a very uncomfortable night sleeping on her yoga mat with a jacket for a pillow, in an airconditioned airport.  She woke up with a cold!  Don’t you just love the irony of that!

I was getting nervous, as I was all ready to plead my case for isolating at home in our cottage, just like I did back in 2020 when I got caught out flying home from Thailand. I thought I had a red-hot chance of speaking with reason to these police officers. Constable Shayne was an absolute gentleman and showed respect to me as he gave me my three options.  Option one is to fly back to Victoria and wait out the lockdown and the possible rules that go with that.  Not happeningOption two, fly to Sydney at my expense and do my 2 weeks there, again still not knowing if I would be able to cross the border when the two weeks were up.  Not happening.  Option three, get in the little white bus parked out the front of the airport and be escorted down to a hotel in Brisbane by two very attractive male policemen, where I would carry out quarantine for 14 days, finishing, all being well, on the 17th of June!  I selected option three.  But I added my own option to that, Option four - I’ll do the quarantine, but I’ll turn it into an opportunity to write. I’ll be disciplined, and I’ll write for 5 hours every day.  I’ll watch movies too, I’ll exercise, I’ll call up people I want to talk to, and I’ll do the quarantine but I’ll maintain my own council over the situation.  This is what got me through.  My brother Andrew mentioned to me before I left Melbourne, if you are unlucky and have to do the ‘time’, make it pay, make it work for you, and set up a schedule and follow your schedule every day.  He was 100% correct.

Each day, I got up around 7 am, deep breathing first, then I exercised in the room, and moved about, just like I would if I were walking at home in the country.  I paced the room, 10 meters of it, sometimes with Darryl on the phone and walked for 25-30 minutes, then I did a few gym sessions to on line trainers, that was fun, then I got sick of that and went back to my routine, and every day I felt like I was getting fitter too.  When I finished the exercise, yoga, and stretching session, I would shower, and then the knock on the door would mean my cold breakfast would arrive in brown paper bags.  I would nibble on the banana bread, which wasn’t too bad, and really the only decent thing in the breakfast bag.  I would heat up the kettle and have hot water with lime and fennel essential oil (I had my oils with me), then begin my writing, with my laptop set up on the table in the room.  By 1pm. I had done pages and pages of writing, and the information flowed. I would reward myself with lunch, which again arrived with a knock at the door and in a brown paper bag.  After lunch, I would watch a movie or if really motivated, keep writing.

Before I left for Melbourne, I had the presence of mind to have Alex Fullerton - from Author Support Services send me the framework for writing my book, as I thought I would look at it during those cold Melbourne nights. I never worked on the book while at my dad’s place, as we were too busy doing other things.  I cleaned out dad’s cupboards, tidied the house, went through photos and family history with dad, and turned our 11 days together into heaps of fun, although always a little anxious as we didn’t know when I would be able to fly back to Queensland without quarantine!!!  That was constant stress, however, keeping busy helped both dad and I to get through that.

Back to hotel quarantine, around 4 days before I was due to end my quarantine at the Mariot Bonvoy, I got a call from reception, they said that because I was flagged as someone that had spent my time in Melbourne in a not-so-hot zone, I could go home early, but I had to be ready in the next 15 minutes.  I was a bit put out, but I scrambled up all my things, packed away my writer’s office, and emptied out rubbish into bags I’d kept, surveyed my environment as it if I would never see it again.  I was ready one minute over the time, I phoned reception, only to be told they made a mistake, I still had to do the four more days!  I wasn’t upset about this, as I had work to do. I shrugged it off pretty quickly and got back to setting up my space again.

I had a view of the Brisbane River, I thought about what it must look like when it floods and hoped like hell that would never happen again, but it did in February this year and we all know how that turned out.  The whole quarantine thing really was a disaster if you ask me, and I have experienced all types of quarantine from home, hotel, lock-down, and then even time in a Thai Hospital (a whole other story), and every part of the experience has taught me to roll with the punches, to adjust, to pivot. I’m not saying I always do this well, but it helps if you have some tricks up your sleeve.  For me writing, recording, thinking, reading, and viewing specific documentaries or movies that had or have a purpose, for me makes the day worthwhile.  Keeping my movement up, keeping active, and keeping thankful, grateful, seeing the good in every situation, what a difference that can make.

I have come to realize the hills and valleys and crevices in my mind are full of potential brilliance and positivity If I train it proportionately.  There is no room for negativity, there is always good in every situation.  Out of hotel quarantine came my book Lifestyle Reset The Essential Guide To Healing You and the Planet.  This book is my legacy, with every subject that relates to mental health, bowel health, Iridology, Recipes that are plant-based, and some good reasons to embrace a plant-based lifestyle in the first place.  Ayurveda concepts, a dosha quiz, photographs of my creations in the kitchen, my family, and even my dad doing a little yoga with me.  All this came together with a whole lot of help from Alex and her team, Darryl with the photograph sourcing and placement, and myself for just writing what I believed needed to be written.

This time last year, I was inside a hotel, I was pacing the floor, watching movies, even sharing a gym session with Darryl via zoom, and envying him the sunshine I could see beaming through our little atrium-style gym, surround by glass doors letting the nature shine through.  This time last year I learned to accept the unacceptable, and you know what I am better for it.  If you would like a copy of my book, and a surprise gift, click on this link.  Lifestyle Reset is one of my best creations.  I know you will love it.

Annie…

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