The day has finally arrived! After months of waiting and saving and looking forward in actual excitement and glee, I’m finally leaving the UK for my 12 month (hopefully, if the old bank balance holds out) trip around New Zealand!!
Starting at 7am (which after a night of no sleep was the hardest wake up call ever) we made great time up to Heathrow airport - Mum, me, Matty (younger bro) and Sue (amazing family friend) had a fabulous three hour trip, all of us chatting and laughing and driving in the sunshine… and no encountering accidents on the motorway, almost unheard of!
I did get a bit quiet as we got closer to the airport, but Sue does a wonderful job of keeping our spirits up. Matty’s been fast asleep throughout most of the journey (except for food breaks… he is a teenager after all) but I’ll forgive him. It’s hilarious to watch Mum and Sue try to lift my rucksack out of the boot of the car - I’ve not even got half of what I wanted to in there, but hey ho, I guess that’s what washing is for - but somehow between us we manage to get it through to check in.
Not sure how I’m going to be able to carry it alone across New Zealand… better start building up those arm and back muscles!
It turns out Heathrow has this new fangled system in place, all self scanning booths and whatnot that between four of us we’re struggled to figure out, at least until a very nice terminal employee noticed our poor efforts and helped us out. Within five minutes he had my luggage tag in place and walked me straight to an empty upper class boarding gate (even though I’m definitely an Economy girl… does this face look like it can afford Upper Class seating?) just so I don’t have to wait in the extra long line! How sweet is that?
Lesson number 1 was learnt today too - always be nice and chat with the lads/ladies at the check in desk, as they decided to switch my seat from a middle isle to a window. Score!
Feeling much lighter after losing the rucksack (seriously the thing is nearly the same size as me) we head off to grab a quick Costa. You know that feeling when everyone is trying a little too hard to keep their minds off things but the countdown is ticking? Well the time came far too quickly and suddenly I had to go and get through security.
Which of course meant finally saying my final goodbyes.
Safe to say it all became very real as Mum burst into tears (fair play to her, she held it together right up until that moment. She faired far better than the day she dropped me off at university) so hugging was very much an “I’ll never let go Jack” moment. Which of course set the rest of us off in spectacular fashion. And I’m not a crier, unless you make me watch The Notebook or Green Mile. It’s such an odd mix of emotions when you’re sad but crazy excited at the same time. I’ve just got to keep thinking that a year isn’t that long in retrospect. The other side of the world, however… It’ll be fine, it’ll be fine! This is what social media and Skype are for!
You’ve just got to remember that your family is proud of you for taking the leap and just fucking doing it <3
PS: I can’t remember the last time I was in Heathrow airport, but I will say this - it’s got swanky as fuck!
PSPS: The phone call I got from my dad once I got through security definitely helped the old nerves. Thanks Dad <3