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Getting to Europe - I would rather clean a toilet

OK, so the first post is brutal. Only in hindsight is a teeny tiny bit of our experience in getting to Europe actually amusing. Most of it was so harrowing that we still shudder when we think back on it. Although, I have found that the 5 months since we left, has allowed us to remember the funny bits that were there, they are scattered throughout our horrible experience of actually getting to our destination.

I wasn't quite prepared for how emotionally and practically difficult leaving everything would be. Before we started to pack everything up, Ross and I would blithely say to one another, "why don't more people do this? Why don't more people sell up and have adventures and travel the world?" Well, little did we know what was coming....

First, logistically, packing up a lifetime was hard. We had a property and animals and all of the paraphernalia that comes with it. We had a house full of possessions that we had to sell, pack or store. We had a million things to organize - visas, transport, finances, pulling the kids out of school, what to do with our animals, organizing renting our house and PACKING!!!! We were doing this with a 6 month old, plus 4 other kids!

So all of that could probably me managed fine, my husband is amazing at organizing, but adding in the emotional difficulties of leaving everything and making such a massive life all became very difficult.

I wanted to be like the people I had read about online who sell up everything they own and never look back; they move on to greener, more meaningful pastures. But I actually love my home. I have loved being a home-maker. I have poured my heart and talents into decorating and making my home beautiful. Before we decided to leave, I spent most of my energy designing an amazing nursery for my soon-to-be baby boy. I happily spent hours deciding every aspect of the room. I worked hard to create what I had imagined. So when Ross and I were packing up our house, it felt like I was stripping away a part of myself.

Then we had to give away our pets, say goodby to all of our friends and family, and pack for 9 months of all weather conditions - in tiny backpacks! I was still up multiple times a night with my baby, and I was utterly exhausted. Actually, I was a frazzled, emotional, tired, unproductive mess! Not to mention the kids, who were also having everything uprooted and changed. Luckily, I have amazing and beautiful friends and family who came to our rescue, oh and did I mention my husband is awesome?

We had a great plan of having everything packed up and ready to go, and then we would enjoy visiting with family for a week or 2 before we left. Nope. In the end, we were still packing up until 1:00am the morning of our flight! This is no doubt my fault, but I find packing haaaaard. Even for short overnight trips, it takes me forever to pack. I'm always looking for an odd item that I can't live without, or the kids clothes that I need are in the wash, or I just can't decide. Because seriously, how do I know what mood I'll be in on the trip? It might be a sunny 'yellow' day, or it might end up a 'no one look at me because I might kill you with my eyes' kind of day. Each of which require different attire.

So you can imagine how traumatic I found the prospect of packing for a family of 7 for 9 months!

Would we need raincoats?

Rash vests?

Exactly what footwear would be best?

What is the exact optimal number of tops each?

What about baby-gear????

How can I get away with packing too many changes of clothes for myself and still feel like I'm a genuine intrepid-traveler?

Turning to Pinterest proved to only increase my packing anxiety ( yes folks, I'm sure it's a real thing ). It made me feel like I needed to own those exact perfect travel items, or have a perfectly coordinated wardrobe with the exactly correct number of items for each person. Seriously, I would rather clean a toilet! I over-thought everything, it totally did my head in!

Well, we finally made it to the airport, tired but hopeful of better things to come.

The first 11 hour flight.....was absolutely horrible. I will hopefully NEVER fly China Eastern again. The food tasted roughly like dog food, there were no snacks and it was generally gross. But of course I can't blame it all on the airline, trying to keep my tired, cranky baby still and quiet for hours at a time was awful. He was just too big for the plane bassinet, and he wanted to move about. Luckily I hadn't weaned yet. I had been tempted to wean before our trip because I find that I'm extra exhausted from breastfeeding, but I'd decided to keep it up because of convenience. Well, it was a life saver. Bo only slept for short bursts in between almost hourly feeding. It was very hard work trying to keep everyone moderately happy and quiet.

When he wasn't guzzling milk or dozing on my numb and immobile arm; my baby went for a wander down the isle.

And then random Chinese people would pick him up and have a cuddle! Like he was an amusing toy option from the mini bar. They didn't ask or anything, nope, just plucked him up off the floor and had a little play! Hahahaha!!!