As coronavirus restrictions continue around
the globe, access to living space is shrinking as the world gets smaller and more localised. Whether it's your town, your suburb, or your property, people have been forced to lower their horizons and spend time in the confines of their own backyard. Current restrictions are designed to place limits on novel experiences and minimise social contacts in order to control COVID-19. While
this situation is incredibly challenging on many levels, it also creates opportunities to explore the smaller spaces that lie just beyond your door.
Depending on where you live, the world is
undeniably smaller and less connected in 2020. International travel is a
distant memory and future dream, and interstate travel remains difficult or
restricted for many. Instead of catching a flight to Rome or New York, we are
being asked to take domestic holidays and enjoy the wonders of our own
backyard. While a trans-Tasman bubble between Australia and New Zealand is
still on the agenda, it's likely to be months away.
Despite recent outbreaks, Aussies and Kiwis
are in a better position than most, with COVID-19 numbers relatively low and
lots of great places to visit close to home. Domestic tourism is thriving in
New Zealand, and hotel bookings on Australia's Gold Coast are at 75% capacity
despite a complete lack of Victorians. According to recent research from
comparison site Finder, up to 1.5 million Aussies are looking to change their
holiday plans from Indonesia to New Zealand, with many others likely to holiday
interstate or in regional areas close to home.
Along with domestic holidays, COVID-19 is
helping people to enjoy their own backyard on a daily basis. Instead of
visiting parks and shopping centres in far-flung suburbs, people are being
asked to exercise and shop close to where they live. Perhaps you've discovered
a nearby park that you'd never visited before, or perhaps a new cycle track to
the shops, or maybe even a special quiet place to sit in the sun and watch the
world go by. It doesn't matter where you reside in the world, people are being
forced to stay still and take stock from the place they know as 'home'.
For many people, learning to love your own
backyard has developed a very literal meaning. COVID-19 restrictions are not just
about social distancing, they're also about physical isolation and staying home
whenever possible. Learning to work and entertain yourself from the comfort of
your abode is undeniably challenging, but it also gives you a chance to spend
quality time with the people and spaces that define who you are. Whether you
have a 5-bedroom house in the suburbs or an inner-city apartment, COVID-19
gives us all a unique opportunity to redefine what's important and fall back in
love with our own backyard.