Travel writers like to think they have a knack for getting themselves in the right place at the right time. Like any reporting, you put yourself where the action is. But sometimes you walk a little too close to the edge, especially when the action involves a highly contagious virus.

Maybe I’m paranoid but it feels like COVID-19 has followed me around the world, stalking me across three continents and pinning me into a corner. After 112 days confined to quarters in Melbourne, I have been freed, but for a while this virus had me on the ropes.

In February, I was skiing in Colorado, just as murmurs of a new illness were beginning to spread. Soon it wasn’t just murmurs spreading but the virus itself. The language of travel changed, and “global hotspot” no longer meant a travel destination in high demand. A group of Victorian skiers caught the coronavirus in Aspen and imported it back home. I protested my innocence. Colorado is a big state, I pleaded, and I wasn’t even in Aspen. No one seemed convinced…

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