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Going the distance: stories of connection

As Australians re-unite with their nearest and dearest, three Shell customers share what the pandemic has taught them about life and human connection.

By Shell on Jan. 11, 2022

The past two years have presented so many challenges: not only dealing with the pandemic itself but its impact on every aspect of our lives, from work to family to relationships. Here, three Shell customers reflect on the importance of connection – and reconnecting – in the age of Covid.

AILSA STRACHAN, Melbourne

There’s a group of five of us who met in high school, more than 50 years ago. We’re all very similar and very easy-going; we just fit in together. Of the group, Carole is probably my closest friend. For my 70th birthday, she and I went to Paris together. We shared holidays when we were growing up, too. She and her husband have since moved out Melbourne, but we’re just as close, even now.

“Carole and I were able to catch up a few months ago, but the situation has made it difficult for the group of five to get together like we normally do. I think the restrictions have made my friendships with Carole and the others even more important to me. I’m lucky that two of my three children live nearby, but I have a son in Las Vegas, and not seeing him and his family has reminded me how valuable it is to have loved ones close.

“I didn’t really think of my life-long friendships as extraordinary before. Maintaining those connections was just part of my outlook on the world. But now I know how lucky I am to still have Carole and my other friends in my life. I’m not taking it for granted.”

ANDREW BURBURY, Brisbane

“I’m the eldest of seven siblings and the only son. We grew up with my mum in Tasmania. I’ve been in Queensland for 30-odd years now, working in the construction sector, but my wife and I try to get down to Tassie as often as we can. Obviously, that’s been really difficult over the past two years.

“Last year, my mum sadly lost her husband – my stepfather – in the middle of the restrictions. We were hoping we could at least travel down to Launceston to attend the funeral service, but it wasn’t possible. Two of my sisters are over in Perth, and they couldn’t get back for it, either. Mum was really pragmatic about it, but it must have been difficult for her. He was a bloody good man.

“The past two years, not being able to visit, has reminded me what I love about Tassie. Mum’s been a dedicated wildlife carer there for 40-plus years and even got an Order of Australia for it. She’s been instrumental in helping the Tasmanian devils that have been afflicted by facial tumours. I’m looking forward to going home soon.”

PETER LEISHMAN, Melbourne

“Our beloved adopted daughter Narelle lives in Sydney, and we didn’t see her for many months during the lockdowns. The great thing about Narelle is that, even though she spreads herself a bit too thin at times in her professional life, she always calls us, just to touch base. We’re never forgotten. And that continued during the pandemic. I’ve always appreciated her staying in contact but now I value it even more.

“Narelle is very driven, very motivated, very plugged-in. She put us onto the $1 Coffee that you can get at every Shell servo. During the lockdowns, we started either walking or driving to a Shell servo within our permitted travel radius every day.

“That routine was a lot of fun for us, and we’ve kept it up. Now we know the staff at Altona Meadows, Werribee, Footscray and more. We’ve met other people, too, while we’re having our coffee. It’s amazing who you bump into at a servo.

“Narelle and our coffee outings have made me appreciate the value of just getting out and doing something – not putting it off. If you can walk today, then go ahead and walk. And if you want to make contact with someone, just do it: make a phone call, write an SMS, send a card. Seizing the moment seems more important now.”

We’d like to wish our customers all the very best for the New Year ... may 2022 be a year of reconnecting.

Disclaimer

Viva Energy Australia Pty Ltd (“Viva Energy”) has compiled the above article for your general information and to use as a general reference. Whilst all reasonable care has been taken by Viva Energy in compiling this article, Viva Energy does not warrant or represent that the information in the article is free from errors or omissions or is suitable for your intended use.