I am writing this post less than 2 weeks before the start of our trip.
I’m sitting on the couch, surrounded by boxes – some empty, some full, some half full – a cup of tea, a huge pile of fabric to make bigger bags for my boys to carry their e-book reader in. A huge pile of DVDs to sort: what to give, what to keep and what to trash. We have emptied the wardrobes, but it still looks so full! We also changed plans last minute and we have to figure out clothing for NZ winter.
I am desperate. I am nervous, anxious, completely overwhelmed and feeling like I’m not in me right now, so I see the calm person on the couch, with a cup of tea, on her computer and I feel like yelling at her, for her to do something useful. ‘Cause when I’m overwhelmed, I seem to just freeze.
To be honest, there isn’t so much to do. Most of the stuff we’re keeping is in boxes – whatever is not, we’re still using. Our backpacks are packed and ready to go as they have been for the last month. We only need to clean the house and leave, really. After all, we’ve been thinking about this trip for ages, though we’ve only decided to really go a little while back.
We’ve had a while to think, and we still change our minds. For instance, our first option was to buy a campervan and spend a few years in it, traveling in NZ. Researching prices, we decided it would be better to buy it abroad and bring it back, but well, if we’re going somewhere, we should spend some time there too. So we decided on traveling abroad and buying our camper. The traveling to buy the camper became a much bigger trip through all the continents. So we wanted to start the trip in 2017 but go to Brazil for Christmas this year. We had to change it to February 2016 because my grandma got sick. In January, she passed away and we were still here in NZ, far away. Then we decided to travel around NZ, but we wanted to go somewhere else during winter – did not happen, so we’re staying the winter here in NZ, albeit traveling. Right now, we only know that we’ll visit my dad in Japan and our families in Brazil this year. We want to spend the end of the year festivities with family after the very sad start of the year we had.
It was a long and hard time preparing for this trip – I mean, letting go of (almost) everything we own and just leaving… With 4 kids in tow. I spent more than a year reading about long-term travel and digital nomads. When we decided to really do it, we had to buy almost everything: packs, shoes, raincoats, a few quick drying clothes, e-book readers (and books). We checked vaccines, weather, how to avoid winter, slow travel, food, first aid kits. We spent hours in different stores trying to find all the things we needed. We spent double that time driving. And I spent more than 5 times the driving time researching. And I am still insecure.
We were very fortunate in a lot of things: like we could afford to buy the stuff we needed (it took all the 6+ months, but we managed), we sold a lot of things we had for fair value. The house was also sold furnished, so we didn’t need to get rid of anything. We have friends who offered to store the things we want to keep. Our kids, even though very tired, were great and most helpful. We did not get sick while we were renewing the house, packing or gear hunting.
It was still awfully tiring. We had to renew our house, do the work we hadn’t done in all the years we lived there, paint it, sell it. We had to let go of many things we considered super important (like stability and safety). We spent more than 6 months at this stage. Then came the selling the house phase: it took one month only but it felt like 4 years. We had to keep the house sparkling clean every day all day because someone might come. We couldn’t let the kids pull out their books or craft material because it was too messy. We couldn’t have friends over – worse if they were kids. We went to the library and had to keep the books in the car. And we had to leave the house every time someone wanted to see it. All we did was clean and wait in the car.
After we sold the house, we thought we would have a rest, but oh, what a mistake! We still had the gear to hunt, friends to say goodbye to, find somewhere to stay from the settlement date onwards, clear the house of stuff the new owner didn’t want, store our stuff and… clean and clean.
All the while still in doubt if we were making the right choice.
I am finishing this post after a 2 weeks rest in Tongariro National Park Village, at 2 am, by the fireplace, after a nice cup of tea. Angelo went to check on Coral. We had a great rest day today, that was full of work for me and Angelo – we have finally finished this website and it’s finally ready to launch – and a full day of play for the kids – Lego, they played Lego Minecraft Diaries.
And all I can feel is gratitude for the choices I was able to make. Right now I am pretty sure it’s going to be awesome, even though I know it’s not gonna be like this all the time.