Laura Hughes had all but given up on her Icelandic football dream when Throttur FC coach Nik Chamberlain called.
The Urvalsdeild kvenna, Iceland's top-tier football competition, had just been given the green light to resume on June 13 and the Canberra United midfielder needed to get over there as soon as possible.
Hughes signed with the Reykjavik-based club in March, but the global coronavirus pandemic put her plans on hold.
The Australian and Icelandic governments both implemented strict travel bans the day after she finalised the deal, leaving her stranded nearly 17,000 kilometres away.
The 18-year-old Canberran received clearance to travel to Reykjavik earlier this week, with her long awaited flight departing Sydney on Saturday night.
"I'm so excited and a little bit nervous, but it's a good sort of nervous," Hughes grinned down the phone.
"It was always on the back of my mind but with the travel bans I thought it wasn't possible for me to get over there.
"I tried to prepare myself over the last couple of months in case I had to jump on a flight.
"I'm just super excited to start the season because as soon as I get over there, it kicks off really."
She becomes the fourth Canberra United player from last season to sign with a European club, joining Karly Roestbakken (LSK Kvinner), Nikola Orgill (Kolbotn) and Aoife Colvill (Glasgow City).
Hughes and Roestbakken will be on the same connecting flight to Doha, with the Matildas defender also receiving clearance to travel this week.
"We didn't even plan it, we just ended up booking the same flight," Hughes said.
"I've never flown internationally by myself and it's a bit daunting, but having Karly there on my first leg will be helpful. She'll probably have to help me find my gate in Doha."
Hughes faces at least a 10-day quarantine period in Iceland, but that could be reduced if she's able to be tested on her arrival.
With the Urvalsdeild kvenna season set to kick off in two weeks, it's likely Hughes will miss out on Throttur's opening fixture.
Throttur were promoted to the top-tier competition after winning last season's Inkasso League.
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Hughes hopes to help her new club stay in the Icelandic championship, while gaining valuable overseas experience.
"As my first overseas move, I'm just looking to get experience being away from home, grow up a bit and develop as a footballer," Hughes said.
"It'll be tough being on the other side of the world to my family, but I want to grow as a footballer.
"The league is very physical and that's an aspect of my football I want to improve on, my physicality on the field."
Hughes will return to Canberra in time for the 2020-21 W-League season, with the Icelandic competition scheduled to finish in mid-October.