‘Looking Past the Pandemic’ with ELEEA from Gold Coast, Queensland

Keeping travel dreams alive and setting goals has never felt more important. We can all agree that 2020 has been an unfortunate year so far, and almost every facet of daily life has been wrought by this ongoing global pandemic, the start of which now feels like forever ago. The arts has been one of the hardest hit areas, so The AU Review has kickstarted a Q&A series “looking past the pandemic”, encouraging creatives from around the world to share their travel hopes, dreams, and the thoughts or things that are getting them through 2020, while also highlighting essential experiences in their own country.

Eleea (Gold Coast, Queensland)

Gold Coast singer-songwriter and keen traveller ELEEA has admirably been traversing the globe via song with “The Travel Collection”, an anthology of songs inspired by her solo backpacking trips to over 35 countries. The latest to come from that series is “Space”, channelling the capacious silence of the NSW outback into an achingly delicate folk number tracking the fall of a long-term relationship and examining the pain of distance and time. It’s a space filled with expressive vocals and ghostly guitar licks, speaking well for what “The Travel Collection” has in store for listeners.

We caught up with ELEEA to look past the pandemic.

When travel opens up completely, the first place in Australia I’m going is…

I actually made the decision to go into hotel quarantine and come to Tasmania, so I’ve got a lot of places on my bucket list now that I’m here. I love getting out in nature, learning about history and enjoying great food, so I’m really excited to be exploring this state for the first time.

As I was meant to be living in Holland and traveling in Europe this year, I look forward to seeing the many places with European influences, like the tulip farm, Swiss influenced town of Grindelwald and all of the little villages that will make me feel like I’m in the UK countryside.

Some attractions are still closed here due to COVID-19, but places like Hobart’s Museum of Old and New Art, the West Coast wilderness railway, a snowy Cradle Mountain, Wineglass Bay and heaps of the incredible national parks are a must.

Grindelwald in Switzerland

Three spots in Australia I think everyone should visit at least once in their life…

The Outback – most Aussies haven’t seen the ‘big red’ before, even though most of our country is desert. I spent a month in a mining town in the NSW outback and loved the peace and the stars – it even inspired my new single “Space”.

The Great Barrier Reef – With the devastating coral bleaching and the effects of global warming on the reef, this one is high on my priority list while it’s still there.

Sydney’s Circular Quay – It may be pretty basic, but I still think there’s something quite breathtaking about visiting any country’s national landmarks in real life.

Whenever I have a visitor and I want to show them a good night out, the first place I take them is…

I live on the Gold Coast and love the outdoors, so I’d usually take them to my favourite Asian restaurant on a Saturday night, then wake up early on a Sunday morning for the farmer’s markets, a beach walk, and maybe a drive out to the hinterland.

Most memorable thing I’ve eaten on the road…

I mostly eat plant-based foods, but on past travels to Asia I’ve eaten a deep fried tarantula and crickets, which had a surprising peanutty flavour.

The one international venue I’ve always wanted to play…

I think one of the most beautiful venues in the world is Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado, USA. That would be a pretty magical gig.

READ: What it’s like seeing a concert in Colorado’s legendary Red Rocks Amphitheatre.

Cappadocia in Turkey

The one international destination I’m yet to visit but have always dreamed of…

2020 was meant to be a big year of adventure, living in Holland for the summer and ticking off some of my bucket list destinations: Cappadocia in Turkey, the Greek islands and being the maid of honour at a friends’ wedding in a French chateau. Maybe next year?

The three things or thoughts that are getting me through this pandemic…

Exercise and meditation to get my mind and body clear.
Podcasts and audiobooks to keep me entertained.
Working, releasing new music and songwriting/being creative. I think it’s vital to wake up with purpose and have a to-do list each day during a time like this.

ELEEA’s new single “Space” is out now on all digital platforms. For more, follow her on Facebook here.

Chris Singh

Chris Singh is an Editor-At-Large at the AU review, loves writing about travel and hospitality, and is partial to a perfectly textured octopus. You can reach him on Instagram: @chrisdsingh.