When I booked my tickets some 13 weeks ago there was definitely an element of “fuck it”. I turned 40, had a taste of injury, adventure and disappointment (in that order for you sceptics) and decided that if this life was going to be the status quo, then I better get the hell out of Dodge before I was too old or infirm to move. And by status quo, do I mean single, childless and in a stressful, never ending job?

Yes, yes I do.

So, with no dog of my dreams to stop me, I booked my tickets, organised my visa and resigned from my job.

It wasn’t until about a month before I left that I began to question my reasons. My friend P (her identity has been changed to protect the innocent – you lot!), who you will get to know well in a second hand manner, would probably tell me not to question my motivations too much, since cognitive theory argues that our decisions are fairly random at best, and that we can change our minds on a whim. But I did and farewells became sob sessions, a mere run to the beach was a funeral procession of much loved places and selling my car was the worst break up I’ve ever had (I’m a Kiwi, DIY might be in our DNA but driving is our form of motion).

And I began to panic; I’ve never experienced panic attacks before but, as the departure date drew closer, I began to incessantly worry that I wouldn’t be ready, that I would fail the test of moving and be relegated to a B grade adventure involving cold coffee (I hate coffee) and stale gingernuts (love gingernuts, just not soft gingernuts). And no second breakfasts! How would I cope?

Thankfully I had a number of events fall into place; my flatmate bought a house and moved out, P hated her flat and decided to rent mine, they finally found someone to replace me at work, and my nephew broke his collar bone so he couldn’t do my gardening or move stuff for me. Oh wait, that didn’t make my life easier.

But, on the positive side, my back and neck got better, and that definitely did help.

So it was madness for four weeks while I cleaned my house and garden, preparing it for two years of landlord neglect (no offense to P but I’m sure she’s not going to get up a 3 metre ladder and paint the house while I’m away). I had a succession of farewells and panic packed so many times that my clothes now all have a permanent rumpled look to them. Then there was the water leak, which took 3 weeks to sort out, and I’m still sorting, even while 20,000ft in the air.

Then the moving day came, and I was rushing around so much I looked like I was levitating. When I booked I hadn’t realise that the day before I flew was Labour Day, so Tuesday morning was spent swimming (where I got talked into packing my swim gear, including snorkel and paddles), arranging bank statements for my UK entry, dumping garden waste at the tip, cleaning my car, selling my car (sob), buying cold medicines – because that happened too – and three lots of panic packing.

Questions such as “What do you want for tea?”, “Do you want to come and look at the shed before I lock it up?” and “Where are the tea bags?” were all fired at me in rapid succession but were irrelevant background noise that got a “see P”.  Even when she was asking.

Finally it was 7:30pm, and it was too late to do my GST return (eek, will do that in transit I told myself) and sort out the water rates, and I was in P’s car taking one last photo of my Totara Vale mansion while driving away.  All there was left to do was re-pack at the airport, buy some Reminibi, hug and sob one last time, before boarding the plane.

That done, I promptly fell asleep, even before take off.

That’s a first, I must be sick.



General Tip:             Don’t get sick, if it’s an option. It sucks the big kumara, particularly in NZ where they don’t believe in giving you the real drugs anymore.

The Real Tip:            Allow plenty of time for packing, particularly if you’re leaving to live somewhere else, and make sure you have working scales a week out. Be ruthless with what you’re taking; no matter what anyone says only take the necessities and leave the pull buoy, paddles and snorkel at home. This also includes clothes.

And if you can’t get your total luggage under your total allowed by the airline (via Asia it’s 33kg for most carriers), and this includes check-in, carry on and laptop, then add another bag onto your ticket as soon as possible. From experience It’s not that much fun to be re-packing at the airport, although my dad was a great luggage compressor, and I think it could be a real money spinner for him.

Moving Tip:              Try and have a full week off before you go, four days might seem like a lot when you’re ten weeks out, but your friends and family might actually want to say goodbye (I know, who knew people cared about you?!?) and then there’s all the bollocks you’ve forgotten to do.  Trust me, there was stuff I didn’t even know I needed to do, like set up my mother’s laptop for Skype, fix my mother’s laptop so that Skype will work on it, give her my Ipad and set it up so that she can Skype… the list is endless.


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