By Karl Redgen.
It’s Feb 2022 and the Coronavirus has been raging for 2 years now. During this time, travelling for most people has been pretty much non-existent, and the idea of moving overseas was an unattainable pipedream. As you might know by now, I recently took the plunge and moved overseas to Vancouver right in the middle of a global pandemic. How was the experience? Well, to be honest, it has been a pretty weird 12 months for me and also pretty stressful. Let me explain.
Ever since I first came here as a humble tourist in 2019, I have wanted to move to Canada. My first ever experience I travelled alone on holiday, bought a cheap Chevy Astro van, picked up a free couch off Marketplace, and hit the road for 6 months. Although that journey had its ups and downs, and a whole barrage of interesting experiences, I will leave that story for another time. That time spent in Canada had a profound effect on me because 3 years later, which feels like forever in Covid times, I have returned once again to soak up everything that the country has to offer.
So, how did I get here? After I got back to Australia in 2019, I was so excited to come back and see what else this amazing country had to offer. I started to map out my next move, count up every spare dollar I had, and work hard trying to make my dream a reality to move by 2021. The plan was simple, I would spend one year in Brisbane to save as much money as I could and then leave. Well, it’s safe to say that things didn’t quite work out that way. Covid happened and the whole world was put into a never-ending lockdown. My dreams of moving overseas were thwarted and put on hold indefinitely. After a year of working full-time, the walls started to feel a little smaller, my feet were getting a little itchy, and I was infected with the travel bug. I couldn’t sit still any longer; I had to go.
So I booked an international flight that was scheduled to depart for Vancouver in three months. This was not a good plan and probably way too ambitious. One thing I didn’t realise is that all international arrivals into Canada were banned unless you had a job offer in advance. I applied for every job I could find and didn’t hear back from a single one. Who knew that looking for work in a country that you weren’t currently residing in was going to be a super difficult process? Two months passed and I was still feeling optimistic about getting on that plane in 30 days. However, things never really go as planned, do they? After three months of getting nowhere, I had no choice but to cancel my flights and say goodbye to the dream of moving overseas. This soon dramatically changed when the Canadian government removed the need to have a job in advance and opened their borders to international travellers for the first time in almost 2 years!
I jumped online straight away and submitted my visa application on that day. After several months of waiting, re-submitting countless amounts of paperwork and doubting if I’d ever get to leave Australia, my dreams finally came true and I was granted a working holiday Visa. I could finally breathe a sigh of relief and it was finally time to party! On the 24th of January, I boarded a plane from Melbourne to Vancouver, and after 14 hours, 2 PCR tests, a four-hour wait in Canadian immigration, and no sleep for 36 hours, I was finally here.
One thing I learned from this whole process after the long-winded wait and neverending doubt is that you have to be patient. Moving overseas during a pandemic is possible, it just takes a long time. You know what they say if you want something badly enough, and put in the hard work, eventually, everything will work out. So what now you may ask. Well, your guess is as good as mine. At this point, I’m submitting my resume to several production companies, trying to not spend all my savings, and continue to work on my writing. I haven’t had a call back from anyone yet, but it’s still early days and who knows, I might get lucky in the next couple of weeks. But for now, I’ll just keep being patient, make some new friends, explore this amazing city, and enjoy life the best that I can.