Casa – a guide to ‘Home’ – and people who haven’t gone home

Saturday, 4 April 2020

Lonely Planet’s Italian partners EDT have put out a new guidebook – well the cover at least – for the place we will probably be doing most of our travel in the coming weeks (or months): Home.

It features – Tips from the experts – The secrets of the locality – Recommended itineraries


▲ After Socotra I was stuck for 14 days in self-isolation in Melbourne. Here I am looking out over industrial Richmond from the balcony of the Airbnb apartment I rented. If I’d gone home I would have also subjected Maureen to 14 days of self-isolation.

◄  Now I’m out and although the government is suggesting – but not enforcing – that really old people like me should stay home and avoid death I cycled around Melbourne photographing the empty scene. Like this sign in Federation Square, Melbourne’s town centre.

▲ Or the empty entrance to Crown Casino, no sign of any limos unloading Chinese ‘whales,’ although those big gamblers would usually be entering by a much more discrete gateway.

◄ No problem evading pedestrians in front of the Melbourne Convention Centre, aka ‘Jeff’s Shed’ after former State Premier Jeff Kennett who was responsible for its creation.

▲ The Melbourne Visitor’s Centre in Bourke St Mall was clearly not being overworked.

◄ In fact the whole mall was pretty much empty. My film making son Kieran has joined other short film makers around the world to put together this 1 minute 33 second video of ‘empty cities.’

I expect that somewhere down the line there’s going to be some interesting travel writing from people who didn’t ‘go home.’ Who hung around wherever they were and travelled around Africa, South America or wherever, evading closed borders and, one hopes, evading coronavirus or Covid-19. Perhaps even around Australia, where the government is currently making noises that backpackers who have got stuck here should simply pack up and ‘go home,’ they’re not wanted here.

Quite how they’re going to get ‘home’ when there are so few flights is not clear and undoubtedly there are an equal number of Australian backpackers (and other travellers) stuck in assorted places around the world. And here’s a starting point for people who ‘didn’t go home.’ Influencer Eva Zu Beck should have been on the Yemenia flight I took out of Socotra on 11 March, but it appears she’s still there.