Travel Diary » Goodbye New Zealand, G'Day Australia
We left Queenstown on Monday morning to spend three nights in Christchurch with friends before flying out to Australia. Queenstown was the hardest place we've had to leave on our travels. We were almost blissfully happy there. The town was the perfect size for us - not too big, not too small. The kind of place where it was large enough that there was always something going on but small enough that kids can jump on their bikes and ride around the neighbourhood. The kids loved their school and we all made so many close friends that leaving was almost heartbreaking.
But we have family plans in Canada this Christmas and family we wanted to see in Australia. We have a house in Penang that we need to return to sooner or later. And there's still so much of the world we want to see before we stop. Queenstown is also too expensive for us to stay any longer in on our current income level. If we didn't have our Canadian family Christmas plans we probably would have stayed on in Queenstown for another year and I would have looked for a part time job. But we had to leave and that's OK ... we can use this as a chance to explore more places. We can keep searching to see if we can find somewhere else that we love just as much but that is a little more affordable. If we don't find it, then at least we will know that the expense of Queenstown is worth it and in a year or five we can return there and stop.
Knowing all that didn't make leaving any easier though. Travelling around like we do we've made so many wonderful friends, friends we wouldn't have otherwise met. Stopping here for six months and being part of a community through school has given us the chance to all make some really close friendships. We'll keep in contact with them of course but it's not the same as seeing them every day.
Colin spent our last few days there questioning how many more times it would be fair on the kids to stop somewhere for 6-12 months and put them into school, only to eventually leave and take them away from friends. It wasn't until the last day when I pointed out that as much as the kids were sad to be going they were just as excited to be going to Canada with their cousins, seeing their toys in Penang again and maybe, just maybe moving to a town in Central America that had volcanoes (one of our latest dreams!) that Colin realised he was the one that was actually really struggling to uproot himself from friends again.
Nearly a week on we are happy in Australia catching up with family and old friends. It's always nice to come home. Noah's having a sleepover tonight with friends he went to daycare with when he was 2. Hayley is excited to be seeing one of her cousin's tomorrow and is hoping to have a sleepover with her. We have lots of beach days planned and some easy hikes to waterfalls that I remember visiting with my parents, as well as early Christmas get-to-gethers. Then it's off to Sydney to see more family and friends before flying out to Canada.
As hard as it was to leave Queenstown, it is also really is nice to be on the road again. And to be back in Australia with family and friends.
We're really looking forward to the next few months. Christmas on a new continent! A week in Fiji on our way back to Australia in February where we'll get another opportunity to see family and friends. All in all, between Australia, Canada and Australia again out of the next 12 weeks we're spending 7 of them with family. It's been a long time since we've had that opportunity.
Then it's back to Asia where we will decide what 2013 will bring. We're not making any plans yet, we're just hoping to enjoy the next few months and see how we feel when the time comes. We'll give ourselves time to just enjoy these next few weeks with family. To see how we readjust to to travel after being stopped and to homeschooling after six months of being in school. I need to see whether these migraine drugs are working or if I need to come up with a new plan! We need to decide if we're ready to move on from Asia or if we'd like to spend another year there seeing a few more places before moving onto Central America or perhaps even back to New Zealand if that's what we all decide ... so many decisions that we're not thinking about just yet. We're giving ourselves the next two months to just enjoy life and then we'll start thinking about them.