Goodbyes

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After three years of saving and planning (probably not quite enough of either) the day finally came to leave on our journey. In the weeks leading up to this it was time to say goodbye, to friends, family, pets, places and all things familiar.

The first big transition was leaving our jobs, I’ve worked in my job for 7 1/2 years, Ben has worked for his company for closer to 12 years in total. My last day at work rolled around pretty quickly. It didn’t seem quite real on the final day in the office, as I rushed to pass on work and clear the files off my computer. However, before I knew it, we were all tucking in to my goodbye dinner—I was officially unemployed.

Of course, my work is not the most conventional place to work. Nadia forgot my leaving gift, so the entire office swung by our house for morning tea the next day. They arrived bearing cake and a series of cards containing some money for various things that they felt we would probably need in the US stretch of our trip. Money for beer, a Las Vegas wedding, strippers and some guns and ammo to keep the deliverance style hillbillies at bay.

Upon receipt of this gift I promptly moved all the funding into the beer card.

Emma's gifts from her co-workers

Benjamin’s work gave him a more conventional leaving card. They didn’t make any specific suggestions as to what we should do with the money they gave him. So beer it is.

Benjamin's leaving card

They also handed over some instructions on how to make sense of Canada on the way through. So that should be helpful.

Benjamin's instructions for Canada

But saying goodbye to our work mates was just the first stage. We organised a few beers at the local pub to have a final catch up with some friends before we hit the road. Our families came over and had some lunch and spent the afternoon with us on the last day before we flew out.

See also  How we tricked ourselves into saving money—Saving for long term travel: Part Two

Saying goodbye to the cats was actually one of the most difficult farewells. Even though we plan on being away for 18–24 months, thanks to the ease of staying in touch online these days, we don’t think we will ever feel too far away from our family and friends. The cats have not as yet mastered the use of Skype, What’s app, or Facebook—so we expect to have more trouble staying in touch with them. (In saying that, we have already spoken to our elderly cat Blossom via Skype, but suspect it was a waste of time as she is deaf as a post.) These are the troubles you face when you are a crazy cat lady with plans to travel the world.

The hard part about leaving friends and family is knowing all the events and milestones we will miss while we are away. We’ll be absent for some important birthdays and the weddings of at least two good friends (unless some cheap flights crop up!). It is our niece’s first day of school this week and unless the trip is cut short we are unlikely to be home for my sister’s 21st. However, if we had waited around home for these events, chances are we would never have left…

Our final day in New Zealand rushed by rapidly. Our families came to visit for lunch and the afternoon just raced by as we packed our bags and dashed about organising the last odds and ends before leaving our house. We must like doing things at the last-minute, because an hour before heading for the airport Ben was still intending to put a coat of paint on our new external door. (There is more to come about the highs and lows of renovating a property to travel in a future post.)

Then time was up, the flight was due to leave. Our families came down to see us off at the airport and there were a few teary eyes as we said our final goodbyes.

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Then we were on our own.

Waiting to board our first short flight to Auckland. After such a busy few weeks leading up to the trip it was strange to just sit. As the plane lifted off from Christchurch airport and we watched our home disappear into the darkness for the last time in a while, it finally started to sink in.

We were on our way.

We have spoken to and read stories from a few other overlanders. The difference that we have found is that while some others faced some naysayers among their friends and families, we have not encountered anyone who thought our trip sounded like a bad idea. Some people have felt that the idea of living in the back of a car for two years didn’t really sound like their idea of fun. But regardless of whether it is their cup of tea, all have been very supportive of our trip— saying it was exactly the kind of crazy thing we would thoroughly enjoy and that they wished us the best for our journey.

So we’d just like to say thanks to all the wonderful people who helped to get us on road:

  • Thanks to the people who inspired us.
  • Thanks to all our co-workers for the generous leaving gifts.
  • Thanks to everyone who managed to find the time to see us before we left.
  • Thanks to our families for easing the stress in the last week and taking care of the abundance of loose ends we left.
  • And thanks to everyone for listening to us (specifically Emma) burble on about this trip in the preceding months and years. (You can now subscribe to our blog and receive regular burblings straight to your inbox—what a treat!)

But most of all thank you all for being so supportive of our mad road trip plans, we’ll see you all in a couple of years, all things going to plan 🙂

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