Tuesday, June 16, 2015

That's a lot of Sky Miles

We have one-way tickets to Melbourne, Australia, for seven people. We have Allen and Shelly (mom and dad), Madeline (just finished dental school), Leo (high school rock star), Karly (new high schooler/junior high), Millie (grade school), and Henry (2 year old heart stealer). It is going to be a year to remember. And we want to document it all here so you can see it, too. 

See that horizontal line? That's the equator. 

See that vertical line? That's the International Dateline. Which means we will entirely NOT live July 31 of this year. We'll go straight from July 30 to August 1. 

And from there? 

I'm wondering where we will live. If we'll have enough money to buy food. If we'll have enough money to go to Tasmania. And New Zealand. And Indonesia. 

See that little tiny dot along the path? That's Hawaii. 

Well, how 'bout that! Maybe we can stop there, too. 

I'm also wondering if people will talk to me in Australia. So far it's been a one-way conversation. I'm thinking they don't think much of Americans. I'm banking on the fact that when they see Henry homeless and crying someone will have mercy and give us a place to rent. I hope.

And, of course, I'm wondering about spiders, and where they lurk, and how big they are, and will they respond to spider spray? Because I'm pretty sure they are all too big for wads of tissues I usually use to kill them. They might even be too big for my shoes.

And then there are snakes. And jellyfish. And sharks. And the adorable kangaroos will stop your heart with one swift kick to the chest. I bet the koalas will suck your blood and leave you with a permanent allergy to eucalyptus lip balm.

And the crocodiles.

From what I understand, the locals don't get too worried about the spiders and snakes and poisonous EVERYTHING that is all over the place. But the crocodiles. They worry about those. There is no shoe that will deter one of those.  I recently read about Ginger Meadows, an American, who was killed by a croc in a most horrifying attack. It sobered me. And if you google "crocodile attack Australia" there are plenty of hits with a not so far back history that also makes me wonder if I should reconsider this whole "year of rest" that a sabbatical is supposed to be. In fact, it appears 2014 was a record year for crocodile attacks! 

Just how do you get your stuff from Utah to Australia? You don't ship it. You take 2 of the hugest suitcases you can find, each carefully packed with 49.9 pounds of cargo, and a small carry-on. Multiply that by SEVEN PEOPLE and that is one impressive load. Then the next obvious question is, how do you get that to the airport? Twenty-one pieces of luggage don't fit in the back of my van. In fact, we are going to sell the van before we leave so I won't even have that. And when we arrive, getting away from baggage claim is surely going to take a few extra minutes. And I won't own a car there yet, so I'm going into this one blind. 

So when you buy seven tickets that equal a total of 59,612 miles, you sometimes have logistical questions like this so you call customer service. And the representative answers the phone and says, "Hello, Shelly, how can I help you?" It's very nice. And in case you are interested, you are indeed permitted to fill a sturdy cardboard or plastic box with 50 pounds of stuff instead of using $150 pieces of luggage if you think it will survive the baggage handlers. 

Stay tuned in the next few weeks. We'll talk about what we are taking, what we will miss most, what 100 pounds of clothing looks like, how we are getting the toddler prepared for the change, and sharing our best Aussie accent impersonations.

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