Now that we are officially on the road and have been living out of our suitcases for the past 6 days, I have some hindsight on things I would do differently next time around. Hopefully this post will save you some pain and suffering if you decide to move or travel to a foreign country.
- Give Yourself Time
This is something that Chad and I both thought we were doing right, but it turns out we were a bit too lackadaisical with. We gave ourselves 5 months to plan this trip. We planned our first four flights. We decided on types of baggage, travel insurance, and took care of all the paperwork needed for our trip. We felt that we had everything under control, the things on our to-do lists were getting checked off. Its not until a move is almost over that you realize that there is a ton of stuff that lies beneath the surface waiting to reveal itself when you least have time for it.
Chad worked until the Friday before our move on the following Sunday. We had our going away party on Saturday and so Sunday had to complete all that was left (which ended up being a lot more than I thought) with massively bad hangovers, both emotional and physical hangovers. I can say that it was an unpleasant experience and the lesson that I have taken away from this trying experience is to give yourself enough time when planning a move such as this. One and a half days was not enough time for us. Make sure to give notice at your place of employment at least one week before your planned departure date from your home. Figure out what amount of time you think you will need and add a week. This gives you time to get all those little surprise tasks out of the way without making you a walking talking stress ball.
- Pack Your Bags Numerous Times
This morning I realized that I have no shampoo/conditioner, no body wash and no hair goop. I have not had a chance to go buy some either. Because we did not give ourselves enough time (see how I tied that all in?) to do everything and double check our bags, I look like the crazy cat lady in the Simpsons. It’s hard enough living out of a suitcase without the added embarrassment of people crossing the street so as not to walk past the crazy looking traveler. Check your bags many times before your last day at home and then check it once more before you leave for good.
- Work Together
Chad and I are a good team. We are able to communicate and discuss things that need to be done and then do them. What we should have taken advantage of though, is working with others. There were many people that offered their help to us, whether it was to move heavy furniture, or play with Zoë while we packed boxes. We didn’t want to impose on anyone and we tend to shy away from letting others help us. We are a bit too self-sufficient sometimes and I think that that was to our detriment, we should have utilized the offered help and lowered our stress levels.
- Exercise More
I know this may seem a bit weird, but to someone who enjoys eating as much as I do, the possibility of gaining weight while traveling is high. Like red alert high. I wish that I would have gotten into an exercise routine (even just doing a few sit-ups everyday) before we moved because once one is on the road, routines get harder and harder to make and hold onto.
We have stayed with my parents for three days and are currently staying with Chads’ parents and the amount of good food that they have made for us is both awesome and scary at the same time. I have to be very careful to watch the amount that I eat because I want to be able to fit into all those lovely clothes that I packed for the whole trip. I really wish I would have exercised.
- Say Good-bye Only Once
This last one is probably the most important one to me. I felt that it was imperative that we take some time to stay with family before we head out on our adventure. I thought that it would give us quality time to visit and make memories with our extended family. And indeed it has been a great time of bonding with both sides of the family, especially for Zoë, who is completely attached to her Nana and Grandpa, and Grandma and Grandpa. She also probably loves the fact that she has been spoiled rotten this week. It will take many weeks to repair the damage of her being completely doted on for the past week.
That’s not the only reason that I think that this week long good-bye is too long. It is way too emotional for me. Between wanting to cry all the time and pulling away from my family and getting cranky so as not to cry, it makes for a stressful situation sometimes.
I love our family, but for my own emotional well-being, I know that if I were to do this again, I would have a going-away dinner (or maybe a whole day) with them and then say good-bye and leave. This would also save me from having to retrain my daughter in every way imaginable (okay maybe that’s a little exaggeration), not that I don’t love that fact that Zoë is special to her grandparents. She is one lucky girl and I am happy that her grandparents want to give her everything.
I am sure, absolutely sure actually, that there will be many more things along the way on our journey that I will look back and want to change. I know that I will be making more lists like this, it is inevitable, we learn from our mistakes. I accept that challenge, I will learn from my mistakes and hope that I can help you learn from my mistakes too. Now it’s your turn to share, what are some things that you wish you could have changed about the way you left your home and/or family behind?