James Cater has been stranded in Russia since March.
The 29-year-old from Shoalhaven Heads feels helpless and that the Australian Government has abandoned him.
James has tried to book a ticket home with a number of airlines and all of his flights have been cancelled, usually only a few days before departure.
He now has a flight home booked for December 1 - the only affordable flight available, but it is one day before his Russian visa extension expires.
James is now worried this flight may also get cancelled which would put him in a precarious position.
"I have tried to contact Emirates, essentially begging them not to cancel my ticket, but I have heard nothing back," James said.
"But that puts me at the mercy of Russia's foreign office, as to what they will do to me for overstaying my visa, I'm uncertain and not keen to find out."
How he ended up in Russia
James and his wife Anna had been making plans to apply for a prospective marriage visa since November 2019, while living in Hong Kong.
They planned to start a life together in Australia and get married.
James returned to Australia in December to get documents for the visa application and to support his family during the summer bushfires.
He reunited with Anna in Bali so they could stay together, but with their Indonesian visas running out they went to Russia in February to help Anna's mother renovate her house in Krasnodar, a city north-west of the Georgia border.
"We slept on a fold out couch and an air mattress, and there was still a lot of construction that needed to be done," he said.
"There was no kitchen, other than a fold out table and plug in stove, and worst of all, we didn't have heating or gas connected.
"But we made do; we had a friend lend us a heater and started finishing off some of the things with our rudimentary carpentry skills and tools.
"Eventually, when things reopened, we were able to build the kitchen and get some proper furniture.
"We still couldn't get the gas on though, the whole time we were in Krasnodar. We showered out of a bucket, heated with a plug in copper coil.
"I'm glad it was Spring, and not Winter."
Now they are staying in Anna's home city of Novosibirsk where there is more family and a hot shower.
Little choice but to bunker down
In March, the Russian government suspended all air travel, both foreign and domestic. To travel between cities you were required to have a pass and permission from the governor.
"So we were pretty much stuck - even if I wanted to get out, I couldn't.
"And in any case, the Australian Government had recommended that all citizens who had employment and accommodation to stay put."
Originally James planned to return to Australia after his Russian visa had expired, to wait out the prospective marriage visa application.
"This itself has been thrown into turmoil, as visa processing has all but been stopped since the outbreak, and even without it, it was projected to take as long as 24 months before the temporary visa would be granted."
In June, Russia relaxed their travel bans but the translation work he was doing became few and far in between.
They have been mostly living off savings but Anna has since secured a job.
He has tried to contact the Russian visa office to extend his visa past December, in case the fight home is cancelled, but it is one of few things that remains closed in Russia.
"I'm caught in a Catch-22. I desperately do not want to be denied entry into Russia, as I am unsure of how long it will take for Anna to get her Australian visa processed."
Hopes the government will do more
James believes the Federal Government is responsible for the difficulty in getting home.
"I, as many other stranded Australians, attribute much of the difficulty of returning home directly to the Federal Government.
"The inability to organise quarantine on a federal level, leaving it to state governments, while mandating a national arrival cap has made it impossible for us to return in an orderly, and safe manner.
"In addition to this, failing to ensure airlines cannot charge whatever they please to compensate for diminished capacity, has made most tickets home completely unaffordable."
He is dismayed the government has not done anything to stop airlines charging expensive prices for tickets or prioritising first and business class travelers.
"I, like many others, cannot afford these exorbitant tickets, and even then, it is still no assurance of a ticket home."
While the Government is offering interest free loans for stranded Australians, he said it is not large enough to purchase a Business or First Class ticket, which would give him a higher chance of getting home sooner.
Instead, he wants the Federal Government to play a more active role is bringing people home.
"The government needs to actively assist Australians to get home, by commissioning Qantas flights to fly Australians home and setting up a national quarantine system, outside of state purview, to ensure this can happen."
He hopes the public will change their perception, that Australia's stranded abroad are "entitled idiots, who chose an extended holiday over their own safety".
At the end of the day James just wants to get back to his family.
"I worry about my father who is elderly, has emphysema and lives alone on the South Coast.
"I miss my sister and my friends and a lot of other little things about home."