• Countries Visited: 5
  • Travel Wishlist: Mexico, UK, New Zealand, Australia
  • Locked down in: Toronto, Canada

“We’ve been put into a moral dilemma between supporting local businesses, and keeping people safe.”

Starting in 2015, I was given the privilege to start travelling the world. Prior to, I had only travelled within my home country of Canada, and The United States. 2015 had whisked me off to Cambodia to work on the US reality show Survivor. I lived and worked there for the summer and I don’t think I’ve grown more as a person more than I did those 4 months. It opened my eyes to a world outside of my own that I will always be appreciative of.

Working on a short film in 2019

Each year that followed included a new travel adventure. In 2016 I worked on Survivor again, this time in Fiji. That fall, I travelled to Los Angeles and did a road trip with my girlfriend at the time up the California coast to Portland Oregon. In 2017 I met up with a bunch of my friends from Survivor and did a road trip from LA to Las Vegas. That summer I travelled to work in Fiji again. In the fall, me and my girlfriend flew to Japan for two weeks; a destination I had dreamed of visiting since I was a child.

My travel started to slow down in 2018 as I started to establish a career in the Toronto television industry. I found a great place to live with amazing friends. I still managed to do some light travel, in 2019 I travelled to northern Ontario to work on a short film, and travelled to British Columbia twice that summer. Even though it was within my country’s own borders, there was still so much to explore and learn from. I spent a few days on Hornby Island in June of 2019 where they were just so happening to hold their very first pride parade. I had just come out as bisexual in 2017, so it was beautiful moment to be able to proudly march with my brothers and sisters in this quaint island town.

Taken while shooting b-roll pre-covid, early 2020. So innocent.

So when the lockdown happened in March of 2020, I luckily wasn’t affected as much as I would have been had it happened a few years prior. Instead, I had been working sound on a foreign documentary since January. The rest of my crew was from the UK who flew in to shoot in Toronto, and had to fly back home early. We were halfway through shooting the documentary, and now there is no word on when it will ever be finished. As cases continue to grow now in the fall, I can’t see us return to filming until at least spring or summer 2021. I can only imagine the countless projects worldwide who have suffered a familiar fate.

All things considered, I’m quite grateful and aware that I’m not feeling the brunt of this pandemic as much as others. I’m young at 28 and physically healthy, I don’t know anyone close to me who has contracted Covid-19, and I’ve been blessed with many great roommates this year who have helped me stay sane throughout it all. I worry about other people in my life who are less fortunate, or who live alone. 2020 seems to be redeeming those who chose to live with roommates worldwide.

The TV industry in Canada started to open up again in July, and I’ve worked on several music videos and commercials since then. It’s nice to get back some normalcy in my life, but it’s still hard when I can’t hug or embrace my co-workers, many of whom have become friends. Most sets have a dedicated covid crew, who check your temperature when you arrive on set and have you sign a waiver. Masks are mandatory at all times on set, but I’ve seen people breaking those rules here and there.

 Summer 2020 did bring some normalcy to Canada. I saw more of my friends, and visited my immediate family a few times. Here in Toronto our restaurants started to open up, starting with outdoor dining and eventually indoor dining. I’ve only dined out a few times since the pandemic started, but when I do I always find myself looking away from the waiter as not to put them at a greater risk. Everytime I have to do this, it reminds me how frivolous and unnecessary eating out is. We’ve been put into a moral dilemma between supporting local businesses, and keeping people safe. I blame our government for putting this decision onto the shoulders of everyday Canadians. We should be able to achieve both at the same time.

I play bass guitar in a band. We had so many great performances to play and music to make this year. COVID-19 managed to cancel all of our shows, but not our ability to create. In July our band came back together to record an album. We travelled to a small studio on Toronto island where we could lay down some tracks and go swimming to take breaks. We’re crossing our fingers that next year we will be able to get back to playing gigs and sharing our new music with everyone.

I miss being able to play in shows

As 2020 draws nearer to the end, I find myself pondering if society at large will learn anything from this. My hope is that we have a greater appreciation for the collective good rather than our individual needs; at the end of the day we all rely on each other to thrive. No one on Earth is 100% self made or self sustainable. We all grow and learn from external factors. There is no reason we can’t leave this pandemic greater than we entered it. I’m hopeful; but not optimistic.