Life has changed for us here in the Southwest of Western Australia. Gone are the days of reactive bookings and face to face tours. Life has paused and it although it is weird, there is a certain peacefulness we have not felt in a while.
Its been 20 Years of running a tour business, at the moment the kids are both home; one working, the other in year 12 and we are all enjoying a pause and break in reality to get to know each other again.
Graeme and Kieran have filmed a series of short movies we will release as time goes on. Whether this encourages potential visitors back to our region, we don't know. But we do know it gives us great pride and love in sharing this region with people who are not in as fortunate position as us; with people planning their next holiday, previous guests on tours or who have stayed with us either camping or at the lodge.
Is this virus the end of tourism as we know it? How will it change your travels? How will it change your purchasing? I know friends of ours who were considering some overseas travel holidays are now changing their plans to slow down and explore places closer to home.
Our town is very small, a population of less than 1000, and we know that this virus will only bring us closer together. Townsfolk have allocated a street to assist residents who are self isolating, shopping for people they only knew by a wave a week or two ago, knitting us even tighter together. After this is all over, the result will definitely be an impressively proud and strong community.
I read blogs and friends from around the world. Their situations are more frightening than ours, living in apartments with neighbours next door through paper thin walls; however the strength and beauty of everyone pausing for this time shows up in the tentative smile, the hesitant wave when they meet - all new experiences to traditionally busy people who have been asked to isolate to protect their neighbours, families and friends.
Our Pemberton Lodge is now home to a group of 8 backpackers from France who are doing their 88 day stay here in Australia and are now stranded, we are not sure what work is around for them; but they are safe, well and very comfortable. There are also a number of chalets locally who have created safe places for travellers to stay and there are still rooms available at traditional lodging houses. There is not a lot of work though as local opportunities dry up over winter before the spring jobs start. This virus has certainly strengthened ties between ourselves, the backpacker community and more specifically these kids, who knows where this may lead.
Stay safe and well, we hope you enjoy the video and look forward to seeing you once again.
Graeme, Toni & Boys xxx