Almanac Life – From the Arctic to Brisvegas: Richard is finally home


So, G’day everyone…..


I’m finally home back in Brisbane, Queensland after a journey and a half that started on the 30th of March in Fort McPherson NWT Canada. On the day I left, the Arctic it was 44 degrees Celsius below and now, as I write this email in Brisvegas, it’s 22 degrees Celsius and I’m wearing shorts in Autumn!! My body is taking its time to readjust to the climate I now find myself in!!


After being able to leave the 2-week hotel quarantine in Sydney (due to the generosity of a cousin who drove me… thanks Virginia !!), I was able to go to my parents’ place deep in the green, beautiful and cool Southern Highlands of NSW. The highlight whilst I was there was being able to enjoy the direct sunshine, have good conversation,
enjoy solid sleep-ins, walk outside at any time, hear the birds singing in the trees and feel the breeze on my face as it wafted through the trees. I was able to go for decent walks and actually get some kilometres into my legs again and enjoy the beauty of the cows grazing in the paddocks.


Another highlight was eating and enjoying wonderful food courtesy of Mum, Dad, Holly and Jarrod, including shepherd’s pie  and a yummy lasagne amongst other meals with the “coup de grace” being a fantastic chocolate cake that my sister baked me for my birthday – which I was able to celebrate on the last night at my folks’ place before leaving for Queensland.


I decided to go there to visit before heading home due to the borders between Australian states being closed for the foreseeable future. This meant that, once I was back in Queensland, I would not be able to leave for a while to see them.


Then, courtesy of my wonderful brother Nicholas, I was able to go back to Sydney to pick up a hire car from a Sydney hotel in Darling Harbour (a really nice, free upgrade to a Nissan X Trail SUV) and then drive it for the next 12 hours back home. (It is 1156km from Sydney to Brisbane via the New England Highway.) This included the process of having to print out a certificate to be checked at the border check point at Wallangarra by the army and the police. I had to prove that I was a resident of Queensland, an essential worker (I am a teacher) and that I was on an essential journey (I was returning home). The Queensland border is currently closed and there are virtually no airline flights into Queensland.  I couldn’t believe how light the traffic was on the New England Highway and the price of petrol (‘gas’ for those who live in Canada) was ridiculous at just 71 cents per litre in some places! (I was talking a to a friend in Edmonton Alberta yesterday who said it had dropped to 54 cents a litre in Canada – just literally unbelievable.)


It was great to drive through the Aussie bush, to see and smell the gum trees, check out the wonderful wide vistas and views, the various colours of the grasses and the poplars turning bright yellow in the season of Autumn. It was so good for the soul to have such a life-giving experience on the last night of my overseas journey, such a surprising climax to a unique journey that started back in August courtesy of the Air Canada Dreamliner heading to Vancouver. The major difference between Australia and the wilds of the Canadian western Arctic is the background noise, even in the cities – the birds in the trees are just incredible to experience after the “silence” of the Arctic.


So, as I write this, I am just into the first few days of two weeks of self-isolation back in Brisbane.  I just got home in time for Anzac Day the 25th April, (the Aussie and Kiwi equivalent of Remembrance Day) which was really cool to be part of. Being able to light a candle and stand out in the driveway and see other people come
out at 6.00am to commemorate such an important day. To stand in solidarity was just so cool to be part of as an Aussie who had just returned home.


It is great to be able to see my immediate family again, to give my dog a pat, hear the possums thump across the roof at night, hear the raucous laughter of kookaburras singing in the pre-dawn light and get into the “rhythm of life” in the context of being home at last.


Finally, I want to say ‘thank you’ to all the people I have met, who have encouraged me with their messages and who have connected with me, either through Messenger or Instagram, as well as through the communication of email. Please stay in touch as the next phase of my journey unfolds.





My Aussie number is 61 438 46 1050
Instagram: rmarlow63


You can read more about Richard’s travels and his time up in the Arctic Circle by clicking here.


Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


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About Richard Marlow

a humble middle-years teacher in a “middle of the road” private school in Brisbane having being a pastor, a youth worker, a school chaplain, a bank johnnie – 3 different banks, worked in Jails, driven a cab and been in bands amongst other things.


  1. Colin Ritchie says

    Good on you Richard, welcome home! It must be quite a change from where you have been. What does the future hold, or is R & R once C19 is over? Good luck. Col

  2. Welcome home, Richard.
    An epic journey, to be sure.

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