The weeks and months leading up to departing Australian shores were a list riddled whirlwind. Event management is one of my stronger skills and all of those came into play with this my most important event to date; travelling.
First to move out of my home and find suitable accommodation for Squid and Rocket (cats) this was probably the hardest and wrenching decision to be made. In the end I built a cat enclosure at a friends house a South Australian company called Sekureacat – they are brilliant) and re homed them 3 doors up from my place stocked them with food and the occasional treat of lemon grass. They love my friend and I felt in the end it was the best and only decision. They can return to me later – although they seem to love it at Marks!
Storage was the next issue, I had two small garden sheds on the property of my unit. I sold everything that had not been used in years, including tents, bikes, ice skates, furniture. Sheds cleaned and were weather proofed with sheets of plastic – staple gunned internally, one shed for all the outdoor and garden equipment, the other packed to the gunnels with everything else not left for tenant use.
I built raisers with old packing crates and any other wood I could find to keep packed cardboard boxes off the ground. Then the slow process of packing and storing on site. I didn’t want to put things in paid storage as my budget was tight for a 12 month sabbatical. Thankfully the family home took my personal papers, clothes and items I needed for my last remaining weeks in Adelaide.
I rented my unit for 12 months furnished. I used an agent I know (Martin Realty) and Roslyn worked with me to find the ideal tenants. I decided not to try and do it myself, there’s enough to do without worrying about things at home once you are on the road.
Allowing ample time to find tenants was crucial, I moved in with mum for the last two months. Special time with my beautiful mum and caring for her after a heart operation.
There is a plethora of paper work and activity to leave a country. Utilities, internet, mobile phone plans, what to do with your car (thanks Max and Wobs) how to pack for a tropical climate when you’re in the depths of a very cold Australian winter. Will your bank account and online apps work once you leave Australia. Keeping your mobile phone number you have had for 30 years (Amaysim) – the list goes on. Flight bookings, travel insurance, Visas, luggage, laptops – accessories – this nomad life with some way of earning a living.
Leaving a full-time job and ensuring that you have a rock solid budget is vital. I wanted to ensure that I had all the bases covered in Australia whilst I was away. Renting out my unit afforded me the income to cover my mortgage, landlord insurance, strata rates, council fees, emergency levy, water with a bit left over each month – I did an excel spreadsheet for the full financial year with all income and outgoings. I did this to ensure I had paperwork all up to date as I travelled, and the inevitable accountant request at the end of the next financial year. Of course I saved too, went without, changed brands, and managed to save enough to keep me afloat for 12 months if I was careful.
What luggage to take also became a daily issue. Light enough, big enough and knowing I would be lugging that thing to all sorts of places. I ended up picking one of up at a half price sale in a department store. Four wheels and light weight fabric with an international lock mechanism. I took that (30 kgs) and one cabin luggage bag that contained my laptop, camera, iPad and accessories. I tend to use Paklite and over the years it’s served me well.
Saying goodbye to friends and family also tough, I had a birthday thrown in for good measure and in the end I decided to do a few one on ones with the special people in my life. The hardest was saying good-bye to mum. We had lived under the same roof for 2 and a bit months after 30 years. So with a good friend picking me up on the final morning we said farewell in the driveway – my sister, mum and best friend. Easy. Not. x