A Cork man who had an experience of a lifetime lined up for the next two years had to pack in his travel plans and returned to the frontline as an essential worker during Covid-19.
Jason Dunphy was in Thailand in mid-March when Covid-19 put an end to his travel plans.
The 26-year-old who was in Vietnam when he decided to return home had planned to meet friends in Thailand, and travel on to Bali before completing farm work in Australia and living down under for two years.
Speaking to The Echo, Mr Dunphy said: “I had to cancel my plans and come back home because it was too risky, I didn’t want to risk my own health so I came back and done my quarantine for two weeks.”
He said that “luckily” he didn’t lose out on much money as a result and that “getting home safe was the most important thing”.
“I had most of it organised but luckily I didn’t pay for much beforehand I kind of took it week by week so I didn’t really lose out on a lot of money except for my flight back, I suppose getting home safe was the most important thing.”
Upon his return home, Mr Dunphy secured a job at Tesco Superstore in Wilton as part of its Friends and Family recruitment drive which he said has been good for his mental health.
Mr Duphy previously worked with Tesco for “a couple of years” before packing up and travelling to Asia.
He currently works in the online shopping department where he prepares orders received online for delivery.
He said that coming from travelling into working during a pandemic was “a big change” in his life but that he is now “back in the swing of it” and feels good about being able to help people who cannot get to a store.
He said that online orders have doubled since Covid-19 and there are now 18 to 20 drivers delivering goods from the Wilton store to the city and its surrounding areas each day to meet demand.
“We have over 65s dedicated hours as well so we try to help them out as much as possible, that’s across the whole Tesco brand. We have the click and collect too so people can collect their order from the store.
“You can see the trend that’s going to go with online shopping and at this stage for some people it’s safer than going into the shops,” he said.
Mr Dunphy said that once it is deemed safe to travel that he hopes to complete his plans to live in Australia.
“I don’t want to go away and take any risks just for the sake of travelling, I don’t want to put myself or anyone else in danger. Once it’s safe enough and the world gets back to some bit of normality as we knew it hopefully I can,” he said.