Well, I hope there will be a calm as there certainly has been a storm. We only made the decision to definitely head on our worldly adventure in September 2015, we booked our flights in October (thanks DK) and then started planning our ‘trip of a lifetime’. We plugged along until Christmas booking the occasional Airbnb property, buying some new ‘travelling undies’, checking out our seats on the plane. It really wasn’t until I finished work (Jan 15th) that things got serious. Ez had been packing our life into a few boxes while still trying to keep hold of her mum of the year trophy. So, as soon as I finished work it was game on. We needed to do a few of the following things:
- Move House – Yes, we packed up our house, moved our furniture into a good mates factory (thanks AB), completed 167 trips to the Salvos, argued numerous times about if we would ever use that Dishwater Salt again, held rental inspections, cleaned the house (thanks mums!) and fixed all those things we had always put off until tomorrow. It was now tomorrow! We then moved in with Ez’s parents for the final 10 days after we found our perfect tenant (said hopingly). Farewell Erskineville – possibly never to return.
- Get checked out – Doctor, Dentist, Chemist. First thing was getting some vaccinations. The good local doctor gave us the likelihood of catching something – 0.25%. I liked those odds but in the interest of keeping the family peace we all hit up a little Yellow Fever needle. He also talked about the likelihood of catching Hep A. I had said no to this until he mentioned that without it you would just need to be more careful eating street food etc. Limiting my food intake, that was enough for me to say…let’s do it. We all got our needles. Evie wasn’t a huge fan (and in the interest of her self-esteem I made sure I tensed up with clammy hands too). Piper and mummy didn’t skip a beat. Chemist was next with a list from the Doc on a travelling first aid kit. I walked in quite naïve and walked out with more drugs than the Tour De France. Then it was Dentist time. Ez and the girls went first (it was the girls first time). They watched TV, wore sunglasses and got show bags…they thought it was Christmas. I went a few days later. Now, I’d be lying if I said I was a regular at the Dentist. The Dentist asked me when was the last time I had been checked out. I said 2 years. I lied, it wasn’t a small lie. 1 1/2 hours later I was done, teeth were good…there were gaps in my teeth I never knew existed.
- Get some visas – Firstly we tried to circumvent the European Schengan 90-day visa as we didn’t want any restrictions on the European part of the trip. For those not in the know you are only able to spend 90 days in any 180-day period with the Schengan countries of Europe. Originally there were only 5 Schengan countries, there are now 26 (pretty much the whole of Europe). And know, it doesn’t restart if you leave and come straight back. Several people have said “overstay it, she’ll be right”, “they never check”, “just pay the Greeks some cash and it will be sweet”. We wanted to be legit so we tried for a Greek visa (due to Erica’s dads family) only to be met with a “it should be ok, it will take a bout 3 years”. We even offered to pay cash! We then made an appointment at the Italian consulate (due to Erica’s mums family) only to be met with “I don’t mean to be rude but if you were younger it would be ok”. I presumed he was referring to Ez. So we would have to stick to the 90 day rule and work our itinerary around it. We then just needed a Brazilian visa. Too easy.
- We bought stuff – We have set a bit of a budget for the trip once we are on the road. We didn’t give ourselves a pre departure budget…so we have been spending money. New computer, clothes, gadgets, bags, games, stuff! I think actually leaving will save us money.
- We had farewells – Work drinks, pub crawl, race day, bucks party, hens night etc etc. We caught up with quite a few friends, spent plenty of family time in preparation for our year ahead. I’m looking forward to a bit of detox on this trip. When I say detox I will still be partaking in some serious Argentinian Steak and Malbec.
This brings us to where we are at today. Just about to head on the biggest adventure of our lives. Bags are nearly packed, still a few things to buy, still trying to catch up with a few friends. Would we like more time? A resounding yes. Are we ready? Maybe. We haven’t even contemplated how the kids will do on the 16-hour journey. That’s the least of our worries, I just hope they’re not sitting with us. The first leg of our journey is to Argentina. We have a quick stopover in Auckland as we are flying Air New Zealand and will be kicking back on their Skycouch. (check out Air NZ Skycouch). We’ve booked some things in some places but we’ll have time to add to that along the way. Once we get on that flight all the storm of home will be behind us and hopefully the calm of our trip ahead!