By Melissa McCullough Photos Yanni
orn in Singapore of Swedish parents and spending part of her childhood in South Korea, Mornington Peninsula travel editor and entertainment industry promoter Kristina McGhee spent her childhood travelling the world with her parents. Growing up, Kristina would be fascinated by the tales told, and of their amazing and diverse trips. This later instilled in her a continuing interest in peoples and cultures which led to her gaining a degree in Social Anthropology. At the beginning of 2020 her Airbnb in Rye was constantly booked out and she spent her days cleaning it and preparing the linen for the new guests. She was also a co-ordinator of foreign exchange high school students who had come to Australia from Italy, Sweden, Germany, France, Austria, Denmark, Finland and Norway. Arriving in July 2019, their 10 months abroad should have continued until the end of May 2020.
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“There were bookings. There were students. There were gigs. There was travel to write about. The income was flowing. Life was normal”, says Kristina. Then the corona virus hit Victoria. Kristina recalls, “It took some time to get flights arranged for those students who decided to leave. The dilemma was that if they chose to stay it would mean their travel insurance would not cover their medical here plus their student visas would be invalid and eventually run out as all the schools were closing.” With the worry in their minds building, and after many tears and lots of uncertainty with flights, they all ended up going home. “I was then faced with having no usual income. Promotions for the music and entertainment industry had stopped with all gigs cancelled and theatres closed, and I also couldn’t really work at writing travel itineraries as no one could travel”, said Kristina. Continued next page...