As I type this, we have one month and two days until we leave the country. As that day gets closer, the more I wish we had done this when we were young(er) and free(er). Waiting until we’d settled down with a house full of furniture, a mortgage and a cat before setting off to see the world has made it a lot harder to know how to deal with all the things we’ve accumulated.
As an avid organiser, I have been trying to keep lists of everything we need to do. Still, we have a gigantic To-Do list before we leave. Some of them only take five-minutes, others take much longer, but they are all here in their scribbled-on-the-back-of-an-envelope glory, and I will try to update this post as we work our way through them. They’re vaguely separated into colour-coded categories;
House, Health, Planning, Personal, Packing
Paint bits of the house and get things fixed – It’s amazing what you’ll put up with when you live in your own house that you wouldn’t in a rental. We’ve had to touch up a couple of bad paint jobs, refit a door and window and repair a radiator that I broke 18 months ago.
Check the Fit for Travel Website – This is the NHS recommended website for travel health advice. It’s great for researching all the immunisations you might need, and looking into malaria zones.
Find homes for treasured possessions – This is the time to start thinking about the things you don’t want to bring, but are desperate not to throw away. The only furniture we are desperate to keep are our bed and sofa, which we’ve found babysitters for. We’ve also spent hours deciding what to keep and sorting it into boxes to store in family lofts.
Arrange for the house to be rented– We are letting our house out, so need to contact the lettings agent, arrange for photos (one WHOLE weekend of tidying), and coordinate viewings.
Fill in forms – The important thing here is to stay organised. We had forms for; the mortgage, tax and lettings plus I had to renew my passport.
Arrange immunisations from NHS – In the UK some travel related immunisations are available for free on the NHS. They also answer any and all questions you have. Make sure you leave enough time to go, our hepatitis vaccination was administered in three doses over the course of a month.
Arrange other Vaccinations– Our local STA have a Travel Clinic which is reputedly amazing and they are a Yellow Fever Centre, which our suburb health centre is not. We’ll be buying the rest of our immunisations from them as well as our anti-malarials.
Get health insurance – We went with STA, purely because they were the cheapest to provide the cover we wanted. We got insurance the same day we booked our flights in case anything happened that stopped our trip before it started.
Book flights and first week’s accommodation – I’d been monitoring the cost of our flights using Google Flights and this was when it was lowest – so we booked it. I suppose this means we’ll really have to go now!
Start to sell furniture and unwanted possessions – We used Gumtree for the furniture and things we couldn’t post, and eBay for some of our smaller possessions.
Quit job – Obviously depending on your notice period.
Arrange dinners/leaving party – Time to say goodbye to people you won’t see for a year. the earlier you arrange things, the more likely people will be able to make it.
Take an unreasonable amount of stuff to the tip/charity shop – Although I always thought we ‘needed’ everything in the house, we have chucked/donated at least 20 bags of stuff on top of what we’ve sold.
Decide what we will be taking with us – Write your packing list.
Register for self assessment tax – Even though we won’t hit the threshold for paying tax here in the UK, we still have to register for self assessment tax because we’ll be earning money in England.
Start transferring addresses – My amazing (and super organised) Mum will be handling our mail while we’re away, so all our post needs to be transferred to her address.
Move Puzzle – The vast majority of people won’t have a pet to move. We wanted to move her fairly early on so she won’t get stressed when we start to empty the house.
Go shopping for anything we’re missing – We’ll be laying out everything we already have on our packing list to see what we need to get still.
Gas safety certificate – This is essential for renting the house, but only lasts a year, so we are going to do it as late as possible.
Book onward travel – I have heard of people not being allowed to check-in to flights to Brazil without proof of onward travel. This is something I’m going to look a bit more in to.
Sell the car – My (also amazing) step-dad has offered to sell our car after we leave so we can use it up until the last day.
Make sure our packing list fits into our bags – We have a 30L bag and a 35L bag. Anything that doesn’t fit, won’t be coming.