Leaving On A Jetplane

I wish so badly that we’d taken a picture of our trailer driving away. Never had we seen that view of our trailer; with it being driven away by someone else. So I want you to just imagine it driving away from us, standing on a street in Sun City, AZ. We met the new owners on Jan 4th, they paid for it Jan 5th, the shipper drove it away shortly after. THEN we sold the truck that afternoon. I can’t believe it happened all on the same day. I had to check with Jeff, “Did we really do that all on the same day??” Saturday he flew to Ohio for the unexpected death of his dear aunt, Merrily. Tuesday (the 9th) I flew to Denver and back to get my braces off and get my temporary retainers. Jeff happened to fly in at the same time as me, small miracles.

We were staying in a Jeff’s friends second home, a retirement community actually. Perfect fit for Jeff and I. We were so grateful to have this little sanctuary amongst all the drastic changes we were making the week and half before we left.

I discover this little gem about 10 days before we leave:


hounded Jeff about his passport in November and December of 2017. “Don’t leave that til the last minute, there’s no reason for it”. I even remember looking at my passport, probably several times, and the date just didn’t register. I think 2018 just seemed like a date that would never come? And I had in my head that it expired in 2020. And also I’m prone to take my anxiety and channel it into Jeff; I think there’s a saying for that? That I can’t think of? Not the “forest for the trees” one but something like that. Something to the effect of “she can’t mind her own business and her side of the street is a mess”.

Come to find out later, that was my driver’s license that expires then. So that led to some last minute scrambling. The deal is this: it was expiring in June 2018. Some countries want a grace period of 3-6 months passed when you are set to depart from their country. They have good reasons for this of course, “Oh sorry my passport expired I just have to stay in NZ, France, Spain forever”. And when you are down to the wire, or close to it, you have to show that you have a departing ticket or the funds to buy another ticket. There was an option to expedite in the US but I’d want to drive a couple hours to Tucson. I was back and forth with that option making and canceling two different appointments before I got into contact with the US Consulate in New Zealand. Here’s what I settled on: once I got to NZ I could mail my app, NZ money, and old passport to the consulate in Auckland and they would mail me a new one within 7-14 business days. Easy peasy.

Cut to the day before we leave, Wed Jan 10th. Jeff still has 2 bikes that have not sold. Which was somewhat boggling. Everything we’ve wanted to sell was selling. We didn’t want to leave them as a chore for friends, or ship them to his brother or a friend to store or sell. That was just not what we were going for. The relationship Jeff has with his bikes goes waaaaay back and goes deep. I’ll let him tell more of that story later. It’s the day before and I know that everything needs to be taken care of with quickness, TODAY. And I could feel myself staying just above hysterical. Just. Nothing should be left for the day of our departure even though we don’t leave til 6:15pm. The goal was to have everything done the day before. So we drove across town and consigned his 2 bikes. I think it was like putting his children up for adoption maybe? I’m not kidding.

The day of departure, Thursday Jan 11th, we have our International License to acquire (quick process, 20 mins or so) and we need to ship off some last minute items. Important documents to Jeff’s brother, things to give away to my family that I couldn’t bare to donate (Lululemon pants, Kindle, my favorite house pants) as well as two glass heirlooms, a forgotten pot lid to the new trailer owners, and forgotten paperwork to the new truck owners. There. Done. Really??!! Now all that’s left to do is go! EEEEEEEEEKKKKK!

The flight wasn’t that bad. After our first go at sleeping, I wake up and look at the tracker, and it said something like 6 hrs left. I thought, ‘oh shit, is this gonna drag?’ But after that it just clicked along. I didn’t sleep soundly like the fantasy I had in my head but we had several different bursts of sleep and that did the trick. I had a whole long list of movies to watch and I think I only got to two! And I had downloaded maybe 10 different episode from Netflix. The service was great. And it was a little like being at a lock-in with a couple hundred strangers. Everyone gets really comfy on an overnight flight; doing things you wouldn’t normally do.

And then we’re there! It’s hard to explain the level of overwhelm I was experiencing. I guess I could just say that in computer terms my little rainbow wheel of death was spinning. For a couple days! Too much input! We’re in another hemisphere!! It’s a day ahead! It’s summer!

I couldn’t even begin to process that I had just essentially moved out of the United States to another country but no country would be my home. So the next most logical thing was to focus on what was right in front of us: driving. It’s a little like trying to look in the mirror and write. Driving is so instinctual at this point. And it has so much danger! So we were constantly squeaking and squealing as a car barrels toward us in the wrong side! Instincts say, “they’re paying another car and about to run into you!” Or the way you look across the street for cars, I just know I’m gonna get run over looking in the wrong direction. But it is doable! And I repeat the mantra every time I drive, ‘stay left, stay left, stay left” (in my Kiwi accent).

This is the North Island of NZ. We first stayed in the little peninsula east of Auckland called the Coromandel Peninsula.
The Coromandel, we stayed in a town called Whitianga (Fitty-Angah)

The driving reminds me of Hawaii: narrow and winding. There aren’t many straight lines of driving on the Coromandel. So short distances can take longer than you’d expect. But I found the time passes quickly because there’s so much to look at.

I booked us in Airbnb’s for the first month. The first two weeks we’re treating as a vacation. Here was our first spot. And with an extra-special host.

The view from the deck:

And here’s one last shot of the trailer. Seems so long ago and out of place now!

One of my last pictures from the trailer, my favorite perch. Bye-bye, trailer!

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