The plane was almost empty, strange times and the reality had not fully hit home of the seriousness of it all. There was a huge queue of taxis and shuttles at the airport, as nobody was around when we landed in Auckland on Monday 16 March 2020, just as the corona pandemic hit hard. I knew the world has changed forever and the planet was awakening, but I was still in denial of the full reality.
I had been at the Professional Speakers Association conference in Adelaide and it was super inspiring, but I was still refusing to buy into the fear of COVID-19 due to my Emotional Fitness specialty, but I was really aware of how fear was gripping people. I was not buying in even when many of my Kiwi colleagues at the conference started to change their flights to get home to New Zealand before travel restrictions started – if arriving back into New Zealand after midnight 15 March, we had to do a 14 day self-isolation period.
Those that changed their flights later discovered this was not such a smart move because some spent a lot of money, missed the last day of the conference, then arrived home one day before the rules apply but then the self-isolation rules get backdated to apply to them.
The reality of self-isolation had still not hit home initially. As I wrote this several days later, I can see I was still in denial of the seriousness of the situation because I was observing the fear taking the planet, still thinking I was not going to buy into it.
But the reality certainly hit home a few days later when the borders of New Zealand closed.