Midweek Interview

Life in the time of COVID-19 with Aiden Darling Harbour’s Michael Sharp

This week, we caught up with Michael Sharp, general manager of the new Aiden Darling Harbour, to find out how he’s been faring throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

What are you reading?

I’ve just finished reading The Diary of Anne Frank. It really put things into perspective, with what we have gone through over the past 12 months. No more complaining from me about lockdown or hotel quarantine.

What are you watching?

When I’m not working, I generally catch up on sport: English Premier League football, American baseball and F1, mostly. I’ve also enjoyed watching the World Surf League in Australia this year.

What are you cooking?

I love to cook. For me, it’s all about experiencing new flavours and learning new skills. I live and work in Pyrmont, so am very fortunate to have the Sydney Fish Market very close by.

I’ve recently instituted ‘Seafood Sundays’ in my house, where I cook up a new seafood dish each Sunday. It’s a great way to get out, try new things and experience the local markets.

How are you staying fit both physically and mentally?

I enjoy going for a run and taking my 18-month-old spoodle, Bella, for a walk. There are so many great running paths around Pyrmont, most of which connect to other parts of the city and surrounds.

I like to head over to the Royal Botanic Garden, and even across Sydney Harbour Bridge and get a ferry back – it’s a great way to stretch the legs. Pyrmont is also a great dog-friendly neighbourhood with plenty of parks to explore.

What’s something positive you’ve witnessed or experienced since the coronavirus hit?

The camaraderie in hotels and among the broader travel industry has been amazing. We all experienced hard times, but the amount of people looking out for one another was just incredible to see and experience.

What have you learned about yourself amid the crisis?

Definitely resilience – personal resilience. It’s been really tough in our industry, but everyone banded together to help each other and the industry has survived as a result.

What’s your advice for others in the industry on coping with the crisis?

Support each other. Support your teams. Support your colleagues.

Where is your favourite domestic travel destination?

I’ve just returned to Sydney after living in New Zealand for five years. I made the most of my time across the ditch getting around to discover the local culture and diverse destinations it has to offer whenever I could!

Back home, I love Port Macquarie. Chilled vibe, full of great beaches and not far too from Sydney – a great weekend getaway option.

What is the one international travel memory keeping you going through this time?

I was blown away by a trip to New York pre-pandemic – the immense size and scale of the city that never sleeps! I can’t wait to get back there.

There are a number of people overseas who I’m really looking forward to seeing again, to hear about their lockdown experiences firsthand and have a beer with them. By comparison, we have been so lucky in Australia, having handled COVID so well as a community and a nation.

Where do you want to travel to once international travel restrictions ease up?

Pre-COVID, I had planned to travel to Japan and then Scotland for a friend’s wedding. The wedding has since been postponed, so hopefully I can still make it there, and Japan is still very high on my wish list.

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