They packed up their life from the past four years, cancelled the lease on their home and prepared to couch surf for an unknown period of time.
They also spent $5000 on two one-way tickets back to their home country - Australia.
They were in constant touch with the Australian embassy in the United States and they kept a close eye on airline updates.
Even when the message came through that their flight was confirmed they knew they were not in the clear.
They knew they could be bumped off that flight at any time right up to just before walking through the boarding gates.
In fact, there was even the possibility that one of them could be bumped off the flight, separating this couple desperate to return to their Southern Highlands home and family after more than four years working and living in Atlanta, Georgia.
They were well aware that the daily intake for returning travelers into their destination airport in Sydney was 450 people maximum of 50 people per plane. The weekly cap is 2450 into Sydney airport.
They had also heard of the stories of other Aussies being randomly cut from a flight at the last minute.
This had included an 11-year-old boy destined to be left behind in the USA while the rest of his family boarded a plane, all because his ticket pushed the daily intake quota for his Australian destination over the limit. For the record, one of the parents in this family forfeited their seat to stay back with their son on the foreign turf.
s Jessie explains, while there is a quota of 450 returned travelers a day into Sydney airport the number of passengers from any one country can be reduced at the last minute following a final airport check on the daily returning numbers from across the globe.
Jessie adds that if you are bumped off a flight you don't get a refund on your ticket.
"They give you a credit voucher and you live in hope you have better luck on the next available flight," she said.
However, even that voucher can be poor consolation as the ticket prices are rising daily.
Right now, Jessie and Alex are counting their blessings.
They are on a Facebook group page for Aussies at locations across the globe who share their stories - successes, challenges and heartbreaks.
The Southern Highlands couple can now consider themselves as one of the success stories. But it hasn't always been that way.
Jessie said that when the impact of the pandemic was first felt across the world earlier this year the consulate advised that "if we had jobs and somewhere safe to live then there was no need for us to return."
"They were focused on travelers in temporary accommodation returning," she said.
Jessie and Alex were employed and had a safe place to live so they continued what they were doing.
But as the virus took its toll on people and the economy worldwide circumstances changed for many people and so did the ability to return home.
Alex was fortunate to be with a company that pulled out all the stops to keep him employed, despite a financial downturn. However, the couple was well aware that under US regulations for a working visa they would have to vacate the country within 10 days of the completion of Alex's contract.
Then Jessie contracted the COVID-19 virus - well she was at least treated as having the virus.
She previously told Australian Community Media she had all the symptoms and doctors treated and managed her for COVID.
"I've had bronchitis before, but I've never had trouble breathing like that. I've never been sick like that," she said.
However, she returned several negative tests.
Jessie said she was told by doctors at the time that there was a 30 per cent chance of a false negative.
After having since been tested while in quarantine on her recent return to Australia, Jessie said that she was not surprised that her tests in the US returned negative results.
She said the Aussie testing was far more thorough.
"They swab right up into the nostril where the virus is best detected," she said. "That never happened with the tests I had in America."
She experienced that first test after landing at Sydney Airport on August 21 and another before leaving hotel quarantine on September 6.
An all clear for both Jessie and Alex meant that they were able to surprise their family, who at that point still had no idea that they were back on home turf. The couple had told their family that they were going away for a couple of weeks to a lake house in an area in the US that had no phone reception.
The family members asked no questions as they knew it had been a stressful time and the couple needed a break.
However, by mid-morning on Fathers' Day (September 6) Jessie and Alex surprised everyone at Jessie's family home at Woodlands in the NSW Southern Highlands.
It would be fair to say there was not a dry eye in the house.
In fact tears of joy have become a common theme as the couple comes to terms with the fact that they are finally home.
"Even when we were on the plane from the US we couldn't believe we were finally on our way home," Jessie said.
"But when we touched down in Sydney we both burst into tears.
"I still can't believe we are finally here. Unemployed but home. I have to keep pinching myself."
Despite the elation, Jessie and Alex can't help feeling sad for all the Aussies stuck overseas.
They fear that with the strict daily intake cap, the challenges for Aussies keen to return home "is only going to become greater."
"There is so much to take into consideration just to get home - something that would have at one time been so simple," Jessie said.
Jessie said that during a meeting at the Australian embassy in Atlanta she learned of one woman with four children who was told it would cost her $150,000 with one particular airline for tickets home to Australia.
"We were pretty much told not to renew any leases for accommodation, sell up or send home our possessions and rely on the kindness of our US friends for a place to stay until we could get on a flight," she said.
"We were also advised that the best option was to buy tickets for a direct flight home. Every stopover has the potential for passengers to be stranded at another airport because of the daily intake quota."
Jessie said that this was a real concern for Aussies in countries such as the United Kingdom where stopovers are a necessary part of the long haul flight.
"I understand the situation with quarantine for returned travelers, but the intake quota needs to be lifted to help so many people get home," Jessie said.