It's hard to believe, really. We started fantasizing and planning this trip at least 4 years ago. We needed to be tenured at our work, we needed the kids old enough to carry their own way and be able to negotiate the rigors of travel. We needed them to be able to understand, appreciate and remember at least some of what we'll see and experience. And yet we didn't want to wait too long where the kids had school activities that were hard to miss or be at a level in school where we really couldn't provide the educational experience they would need.
About 2-3 years ago we began saving money--a key component so that we'd be able to maintain our mortgages and home expenses and to be able to afford the expenses of traveling with 5 people for 2-3 months without income. A year ago I started the job planning for Australia in earnest--after my initial plan fell through in Harvey Bay. Through a friend I'd worked with at St. Johns I found a great job in Port Macquarie. We've planned the itinerary. We've made and extensive "to do" list for home.
And now we sit here a month away from the day we leave home for a solid 9 months!
While there are still a few loose ends (my license is held up b/c my Aussie employer has yet to send in paper work, and I can't get a Visa until I have a license), a Skype call yesterday has, hopefully, got the fire lighted under the proper derrières to get those items resolved.
Tamara has done the HUGE majority of the hard work here on the home front for planning. Every time I think of some little, but important item I'm sure we've never talked about, she has it written down on her official "Aussie Planning" list that she has slowly but steadily been working her way through.
The reality of the trip is really hitting us all. The kids are, maybe, more ready and less apprehensive than Tamara and I.
Today I've been attaching patches to our travel packs that show some of our prior travels. We've talked about what clothes, electronics, books and other essentials that we can't live without...and what has to stay behind for reasons of practicality.
Yea--The excitement is palpable here. The things left to do loom ominously, but I have no doubt we'll get everything done. Tamara is working just half the month so she can spend the final 3 weeks before we leave tying up loose ends. I'm going to work 17 more shifts in the ER b/w now and right up to the day of departure to try to maximize our income and give us some buffer until I start getting my salary from the Port Macquarie ER. Yep...we're excited, and almost ready...just one month--almost hard to believe.