The days are getting shorter, there’s a nip in the air, and while it’s only snowed once & briefly, winter is certainly on its way. The trees are free of leaves, the village piers have been dismantled, and all but the toughest (or most confused) Canada geese have flown south. It’s time for us to do the same.
This is our 4th winter away, & preparations are becoming fairly routine, but the annual to-do list is still ridiculously long. We start sometime in September, and maybe I’ll write about that some other time. I’ll sum it up by saying we’ve looked after the boring but essential bits (travel insurance, flights, prescriptions, security, finances), we’ve put the gardens to bed, & said our good byes to friends and family.
I’ve got my brand new 10 year passport (wouldn’t you know it: worst picture ever!). My passport always conjures up assorted emotions: privilege, excitement, nervousness. I feel especially privileged to possess a Canadian passport. I can visit most countries without any other documentation, generally requiring no visas; I more or less come and go as I please, free from interrogation or hostility. I am a proud citizen of an amazing country & I am always happy to return. I do know how very lucky I am.
This little booklet also makes me feel nervous. It’s one of my most prized possessions and important beyond belief. For those who have heard the story of my temporarily having lost track of my passport in the US a couple of years ago, you will understand the jitters I feel when it’s out of sight.
I can’t overstate the excitement this simple piece of identification holds. It reminds me that I have the ability to roam the world for no purpose outside of my own pleasure. It allows me to feed my curiosity, add adventure to my life, & let’s be honest, escape winter!
This year, we’ll be travelling the farthest we’ve ever been (I estimate that our first stop will be just over 14,500 kms & roughly 20 hours travel time from home). We’re off to Australia and New Zealand for the winter!!
We beyond excited. We’ve long said we’d go when we had more than a couple of weeks, to make up for the travel time, but it honestly always felt like a bit of a pipe dream.
Of course, the 15+ hour flight from Vancouver to Sydney is daunting, but we’ve prepared as well as we can. We have entertainment (podcasts, ebooks, & audiobooks loaded), snacks, ear plugs, eye masks, pillows, and good attitudes (last year’s 9 hour flight to London was a snap, so what’s a few more hours?).
My sister, Breta, even surprised us with a kick-ass Travel Survival Kit!
All of the most important travel essentials included: organic fair trade chocolate, reading material from serious to trashy, assorted teas, booze (including a couple of Canadian classics), and Hawkins Cheezies (only in Canada!!). This assortment of simple pleasures was love in a gift bag.
Our bags are packed (they’ve been pretty well packed for two weeks), our tickets are bought and paid for, I’ve done the online check-in thing (shockingly, I declined the option to upgrade to business class at the rock-bottom bargain price of $7,799.00 each plus taxes), I’ve got a few house sitting gigs lined up, and our first home owners will be meeting us at the airport in Sydney. I guess it’s really happening!
I’ll catch up with you from the other end of the world!