Catching up with Elva Image

We caught up with Elva recently about how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected her travel plans and her every day life.


In the last few months COVID-19 has changed our lives in Australia and around the world. I spoke with Elva (experienced COTA Insurance traveler) recently about how this pandemic has affected her travel plans and her everyday life.


“I was about to head off to do my Antarctic Southern Ocean trip to get a world record, as I have been to the South Pole and the North Pole, but needed to cross the Southern Ocean, to get the world record. I had booked this trip for February 2021 and I was looking forward to being a guest speaker on board also but… I saw all this coming, I pulled out of the trip in January 2020.

“I was born in the great depression, so for me it was easier to see this coming. I have lived through the second world war, living on rationing, I had no soles on my shoes and remember my dad having to line up for work and more.

“I think it was a good thing that our government stepped in to stop this type of economic crisis happening again.

“One of my friends went on a cruise back in February this year and got back in early March. I felt that it was too much of a risk to go and my friend was very lucky and came back safe and sound unlike many others on other cruise ships. My thoughts are that it’s better to lose the cost of a trip than your life and that your life and health is always more important than money.


I asked Elva what she does while not being able to travel to pass the time away.

“I start the day with exercises first thing in the morning for about one hour, then I do daily chores to help out at home. I live with my daughter and grand kids, so I’ve isolated myself in my part of the house that is self-contained and stay there as much as possible. I only come out to make dinner or do chores.” On the day I spoke to her she had already done four loads of washing, cooked up three meals and cleaned the kitchen.

Elva tries to help out as much as possible while her daughter is working from home. “I’ve only left the house three times since January, and these were three necessary times, once being to get a flu shot. I look at it this way, what can I still do to feel fulfilled, if I can’t do the things I want?”


I asked what travel plans she has for the future. “I still want to do the Southern Ocean Antarctic trip, the Northwest Passage trip over the top of Canada and Russia as well and I’ll probably go on the Ghan and Indian Pacific in Australia first. I’m always looking and watching documentaries (like David Attenborough) to find places to go and visit.

“I’ve stopped using Facebook at the moment, too many negative comments. I told close family and friends that I’m having a holiday from Facebook.” Elva acts as a support for some friends with mental health issues by keeping in regular contact with them. Elva has two sisters with whom she talks to every day, her sisters are in Tasmania along with two brothers in Melbourne. “We always feel so much better after a good chat!”.

“This pandemic has really brought the world together due to everyone being in the same position and I feel for the ones doing it really tough. I’ve lived through other epidemics, such as scarlet fever, whooping cough, typhoid, smallpox and more. Her brother got scarlet fever in the late 40’s and was taken away and put in isolation. So I know what needs to be done to get through these times.

Elva remembers harder times when her Mum would cook rabbit every way possible to keep them fed. During food rationing they survived on food coupons and local women would swap food coupons, dependent on what they did and didn’t have. Everyone just made it work as best as they could, but to this day Elva cannot bring herself to eat rabbit!


“My advice to others is, you just need to ride it out, and don’t be afraid of staying at home. Look around for all the things that you don’t normally do. Get that self-satisfaction from achieving things under your control. Find happy and positive people and catch up with them and distance yourself from the doomsday network.


“Be thankful – the sun always comes up and look at what you do have and not what you don’t have. Appreciate one thing every day. Try and do something each day to validate yourself or your life.


Helping out at home helps Elva feel validated. “Use your memories to give value to your life…perhaps add little notes or stories through your photo albums.”

Elva is grateful for many things and one thing she is especially grateful for is her daughter and how she comes and cleans all the door knobs and checks on her. Her other children and grandchildren have been keeping in touch via the internet. She told them earlier in the year to please not visit, just call or email – just like they would if she was overseas and to think of her as if she was on a trip.

She now FaceTime’s her grandchildren and they had their first family birthday for her grandson on FaceTime the other week.


Elva’s list of things to do also includes compiling a small book about her mother. The plan is to make a small book to give to family members with all the things she remembers her mum used to say and do, “like mum always went around whistling a tune”.

“When dad was away at war mum used to write down her favourite quotes in a book, so she had all these little quotes that would make her feel good.

“One of mum’s many favourite sayings was ‘Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle than you.’ I think that this is quote is very appropriate for the current times we are living in.”


Elva looks at this time as an opportunity to do all the things that she has always said ”one day I will get around to doing that”.

Here is a list of things she is finally getting to do:

  • her family tree, which at the moment she is putting in many hours into every day;
  • going through her photos, culling the generic scenery images, leaving in the rest;
  • writing poetry, which she loves to do;
  • compiling a book of quotes by her mother;
  • writing her own life story for her kids;
  • writing her own inspirational speeches, for future events;
  • re-living her travels by watching videos of recent trips;
  • listening to music, as there is so much music to listen to;
  • reading the many books she has bought and not yet read.