Watching that countdown clock has been a mesmerising experience of late. When I first started this blog there were well over 300 days to go and the movement was quite slow, but as you get closer to sail away day, each day seems to slip past in a blur and the list of jobs to be done doesn’t seem to shrink fast enough. Now with just 4 weeks to go, a degree of urgency has crept in, not to mention an increased level of excitement – and more than a little panic if truth be told.
I started a spreadsheet ages ago listing everything we had to do (or take) and a completion day for each task. Some items were easy to bowl over early, such as Paula’s passport renewal and getting the visas for India. However, as time marches on, the list doesn’t appear to shrink too much and that is mainly due to the obvious long list of last minute tasks such as switching off various appliances on the day we leave. Much of it is automatic of course but remembering to switch off those personal appliances on standby such as TV, towel rail, digital clocks etc., unlikely to be used by the house sitter, plus garage doors etc., need to be on the list, as once that shuttle van appears outside, we are OFF!
The critical thing is in fact drawing up the list early and then completing some of those tasks as early as possible but with such a long trip, the packing list is important too, particularly when it comes to electronics and ‘gadgets’. Once upon a time you took your wallet/purse and your Box-Brownie or Instamatic camera and a couple of films. Now it is a compact camera - with charger, flash card(s) possibly a spare battery and computer connection leads; plus the mobile phone (with charger); lap top computer – with charger; video camera – with charger and spare battery; possibly a full sized SLR digital camera – with charger, more flash cards, telephoto lens, not to mention USB drives or DVDs to store and transport images and files. Others have i-pods, i-pads, i-phones etc with the same pile of accessories.
We almost need one bag for the electronics alone. The Sydney shuttle from the airport charges an extra $10 per bag over and above the one per person! A bit mean as the Auckland Shuttle we normally use doesn't seem to have any restrictions as they use a trailer.
The pile of what we now consider essential luggage on a trip has gone way beyond a few changes of clothes, swim togs and your wash gear and a pair of sun glasses with a book and a pen.
Also critical now is informing all those well meaning email contacts to stop sending those massive files of funnies that we are happy to receive when at home on an unlimited Broadband internet connection, but definitely do not want to receive when paying by the minute whilst on-board.
I have been busy of late adding some (hopefully) useful info onto my website for those fairly new to the technology. That has proved to be time consuming but has also made me learn the new Web construction package I have been struggling with for well over a year.
So far, we are only aware of a couple of other blogs to follow (links on the left) so hopefully there will be more shortly, now the real countdown is in calendar days rather than weeks or months.
The last major decision is whether or not to update the laptop to one with a lot more memory, so that I can make a start on video editing when we have an ‘at sea day’ and Paula is busy swimming.
Meeting fellow cruisers in advance has been fantastic with three ‘new’ people in the last month or so and another couple shortly.