Friday, 28 February 2014

Setting Sail

We've been planning this adventure right up to the last second, but now it's time to down tools and enjoy some precious time with our friends and family before finally leaving.

Its our last chance to see some people until we come back to the UK, which could be any number of months away depending on how we find the experience.

I can't begin to tell you how much I am going to miss everyone. I'm lucky enough to see most of my friends and family frequently enough to not often miss people, so I am wondering how I'm going to handle it.

I'm so used to the occasional text and regular Facebook message threads, in jokes and making plans for the weekend, meeting for a drink after work, or a cuppa.

Somehow I don't think the gravity of what we are doing is going to hit me until I'm sat on the plane with all my belongings around me and very little in terms of a plan.

Planning this move abroad has been a massive undertaking; stressful, expensive and time consuming. But now it's actually upon us! We've made it through and now all that's left is to pack up and board the plane.

I don't think I've even been anywhere with so little planned; most of what we have organised is for our work permit and our financial commitments in the UK.

Here is what I do know; we will land in Ho Chi Minh at 7am (midnight GMT) and start wondering until we can check into the hotel at 2pm. It's ok, I've found an amazing blog of the best cafe's in HCM so we'll be set!

Then we wait until our appointment with the British Consulate - hopefully on Monday.

After that its back into the unknown as we move into our new home.

But first some emotional goodbyes before I step out of my comfort zone, my reality, my country. Speak to you in Vietnam!

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

The benefit of experience

This is the first time I have packed for long term travelling. Even during university I didn't "half move out" like everyone else to live a life between halls and home. This makes knowing what to pack quite difficult, and there are a few questions that have been coming back to me time and time again...

Is sun cream really that expensive in South East Asia?
Will I be able to find feminine hygiene products in Vietnam?
Can Sure Maximum Protection give me what I need from a deodorant?

The list goes on.

Then my friend Anita came to visit, with stories from her recent round the world trip (which included Thailand and the Cook Islands) ripe for the picking.

She echoed what other friends had been saying all along, and I started to realise I'm only asking all these questions because I'm scared. I have no experience whatsoever and It's making me nervous. I have never been away from home for more than a few weeks, and never so far away.

But what even is home? I've sold my belongings, packed up what's left and shoved it in my mum's loft. I'm back in my old room, but it isn't mine anymore. The only home I have is with Mark, and he's coming with me!

Mark is something I do have a lot of experience in! With him I know I am safe. Mark is very protective of me, careful not to flash the cash and cautious. He is also organised, with documents, backups and copies coming out of his ears. Most importantly he is practical, and can make the most of any situation without too much grumbling, which is something I think we are both going to need whilst travelling.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, that even though I won't have the comforts of a home around me, and I have no idea what my realities are about to be, it doesn't matter. I have the best travelling partner I could ever ask for, and we are in it together!

That's all the home I need.

Friday, 7 February 2014

Starting to pack

Each day I am getting a little closer sailing off into the unknown, and I must admit I'm starting to get a little nervous.

On Saturday we started listing our furniture for sale. In 45 minutes we had about 12 responses for one chest of drawers. It was gone in 90 minutes. Our friends were bidding and buying all over the place!

Suddenly, all at once, we had started packing. We had lost an important bit of storage and found ourselves with much of our stuff thrown on the bed and in need of sorting, packing or binning as necessary.

I don't think either of us were expecting the response we got!

But as with any big change, this activity means stress and mess. The living room is slowly being swallowed in cardboard as our precious things are packed away and the essentials are added to the now mountainous pile of things to pack.

I really need to do a trial pack, as I'm afraid I'm going to have wildly overestimated how much capacity 35L translates into.

On the upside, the car passed its MOT with no problems!