100 days of firsts and lasts

We’ve hit the 100-day (3 months) mark in the countdown to our big year abroad.

Suddenly this crazy idea is becoming a reality and is beginning to alter our thoughts and actions.

Chris Stewart sums up the feeling beautifully in his book “Driving Over Lemons” which is a story about packing up and moving to a farm in Andalusia, Spain: “…we were…numbed with surprise to find ourselves actually taking part in a script we ourselves had written.”

That is precisely what is taking place for us now as we face the mountain of tasks involved in packing up our life – so much administration to deal with alongside the excitement of cutting loose for an entire year.

We have talked about this idea for years, waxing lyrical to our friends about our plans, yet now that we are on the home stretch, we are numbed by the surreal idea that it is actually about to happen.

Where do we go?

Events that we have participated in annually are now articulated as “the last one until 2014”. Our last “Picnic Under the Stars” at school, our last swim of the season for a few seasons to come, our last Passover Seder with friends, our last birthday parties among many other lasts.

We have been on a “buy nothing new unless it is coming in the suitcase” regime since Christmas. This has been liberating and challenging to implement while living in a highly consumerist society. It has been particularly challenging for the children however they are beginning to understand that what we will experience is more valuable than the latest plastic toy or game.

Our life will be packed into a few suitcases and storage

Just this week at the supermarket I have had to shift from my usual bulk purchasing of washing powder, soap, shampoo and water filters, to buying just enough to get us by until we leave. I am starting to change my habits in small ways that will undoubtedly lead to bigger habitual shifts in the coming months.

So they are the lasts. What are the firsts?

The “firsts” are documented in long month-by-month list of “to do” items that must be completed by 23rd June. It is an overwhelming list of mostly administrative (me) and physical (my husband) tasks that rouse soporific exhaustion (is that a tautology?) just to look at.

Just some of the tasks to be completed before we will be cut free from our daily grind for a year are:

  • working out what to do with all our stuff,
  • finding someone to rent out our place,
  • getting our head around various insurance policies we require for health, Spanish residency and travel,
  • Enrolling the children into Australian distance education as well as their Spanish school
  • Packing up the house
  • Rehousing the dog



It’s all very administrative at the moment but we understand that doing this work now will allow us to focus on our life in Europe when we finally get there.

Brother and sister on a departure lounge trolley

11 thoughts on “100 days of firsts and lasts

  1. Who did she get that from Eva – you or John? or maybe it’s her own brilliance!! 100 to go…who’s counting??!!

  2. Hi Bianca ,
    I have been following your plansfor a few months now. It’s all interesting exciting and a little frightening. We are also in the midst of a big move, around Australia in a caravan. In fact our furniture is going to storage tomorrow and our tenants are moving in on 23rd. You’re right I tried to stop buying a year ago but suddenly there’s a lot to buy. It will be a challenge living in such a small space but at least most the people we meet will speak English. We have bought an Italian language course to learn on the way. I don’t think it will be as successful as immersion. Best wishes. I’ll be following.

    1. Wow! Have an amazing adventure- good on you! I love hearing about other people taking off from their daily lives. I really hope it goes well and that you have a brilliant time. ENjoy learning Italian (if you actually get around to it on your adventure!)

  3. I camped for a year around europe with my family in 1958- in an old army tent and a converted bakers’ van. My little sister was 7 years old. a life changing experience for us. Best wishes, judy

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