There’s no place like home. Until that fateful March in 2020, I enjoyed eight years working in the US on all sorts of projects, from arrangements for Clinton The Musicalin New York City, to Hollywood-produced film scores as an orchestrator and copyist. I continued to receive commissions from Australia for new concert works, operas, choral pieces, not forgetting the honour of writing music for TV shows like the famous animation, Bluey,with the wonderful composer Joff Bush. Thanks to technology, writing music can now be done from anywhere. And thankfully, it pays the bills.

Joe Twist. Photograph © Pascal Halim

Then came COVID-19. I soon realised that it was better to be stuck in Australia than the US where my health insurance was dubious and my “Alien of Extraordinary Ability” visa was set to expire. I spent two days packing up eight years of my life and caught the very last Qantas A380 to Australia. I quarantined in a Gold Coast high-rise and realised how lucky I was.

Moving back in with my parents after 20 years, I rode out those early...