Wagga resident Aurelie Quade faces travel restrictions that keep her separated from her family in France and Canada

If home is where the heart is, then Aurelie Quade's heart has been split in two.

Having grown up in the northern French town of Villers-Cotterets before moving to NSW's Riverina a little over a decade ago, Mrs Quade has left many of her loved ones behind.

"Most of my family are in the north but my sister is in the south of France and my brother has just moved to Canada in January," Mrs Quade said.

Every second year she would make the pilgrimage from Wagga Wagga back to her family on the other side of the world.

But when she last made the almost 20 hour plane trip back to France partway through 2019, she was completely unaware that it would be her last biannual journey for the foreseeable future.

"I don't know when I'll see them again because we cannot travel at the moment and we don't know when we can travel again," Mrs Quade said.

"I'm extremely close to my grandparents. It really hurts to think that they are so far away, if something happens, if they need me I won't be able to be there."

Aged in their mid-to-late 80s now, Mrs Quade is particularly concerned that any exposure to the virus in France could be devastating for her grandparents.

"They are more than just my grandparents. My grandmother is my confidante," she said.

"They have both done so much for the family. They have the wisdom we don't have, we can learn so much from them."

Feeling every one of the 15,000 km between her and her grandparents more acutely each day, Mrs Quade said her anxiety is further compounded by the distance between her siblings as well.

With her sister living a day's journey away from their grandparents, and her brother only recently moved to Canada, travel restrictions have affected them all.

"Who knows when we'll be back together again," Mrs Quade said.

"We use WhatsApp to keep in touch and that has been lifesaving, but it's never the same as actually being there with them, giving them a big hug and having a cuppa with them. We can talk, but that is all."


The separation was particularly hard on July 14, which is the French national day, Bastille Day, and would otherwise be celebrated with street parades.

"It was a very quiet, sad Bastille Day for all of us around the world," Mrs Quade said.

But even in the midst of her separation sadness, Mrs Quade is focusing on the positive.

"I just think of the families who migrated to Australia a long time ago before we had the technology to keep in contact," she said.

"Some of them did not see their families again for 50 years. They just had to wait for letters to arrive to stay in touch.

"We have to be grateful for the technology we do have, we would be lost without it."

This story Families separated across countries feel the pinch of travel restrictions first appeared on The Daily Advertiser.