The countdown has begun!

Well the time has come for one of those “it’s real” moments. Our last day of work is tomorrow, and we are unlikely to set foot in an office again for at least 6 months!

One potential route...

A potential route…

I’ve loved my job and will miss my wonderful colleagues, but have to admit I doubt I’ll be missing work too much whilst we’re traversing Europe.

We have only a month left in New Zealand and this time is bound to be busy as we head south for some family time, and gather last minute things to take. I hope also that we’ll (ok, I’LL) have a chance to begin to wind down and relax before we take off. We’ll be well and truly in holiday mode by the time we take the Northern Explorer scenic train from Palmerston North to Auckland – a 10 hour experience we’ve been eyeing up for a while, but have never found the time for.

The last few months have simultaneously flown past and felt like a lifetime. Despite this exciting adventure we’ve decided to embark upon, life does go on and there have been plenty of welcome distractions. We have of course still spent evenings and weekends looking up faraway places and off-beat attractions, reading train timetables and travel blogs and plotting then re-plotting routes across the US and Europe.

So many places to explore!

So many places to explore!

It does pay to remind ourselves that we don’t have a deadline or return date – and don’t need to try to fit everything in within the first few months!

As well as saying goodbye to work this week, we’ve passed on our fish (Angus and Alvin) to the day care centre of my colleague’s daughter (we’re sure they’ll be much loved) and will soon be returning our borrowed car. It feels strange to be in the process of reducing our daily lives to what will fit in our backpacks (which by the way, we have done a practice pack of… everything fits… just!) but oddly liberating as well.

We’ve been enjoying picking up travel tips and tricks from friends and family, from American road rules to the best booking websites and sightseeing recommendations. One piece of advice I find particularly interesting, is that of reading books or watching movies set in the places we are travelling to. The insight gained will add context, allowing us to appreciate things we wouldn’t have otherwise noticed – historical buildings; cultural idiosyncracies;  the stories which have led to the development of the city we are experiencing. I’m thinking the advice pertained more to the likes of Catcher in the Rye than Gossip Girl, but I’m not discounting anything…

Alvin and Angus :)

Alvin and Angus 🙂