What to expect… when you’re heading home?

1 month today we’ll leave NZ. After almost a year away, I absolutely can’t wait to see family & friends and I’m looking forward to home comforts and the end of living out of a bag! This milestone has also prompted thoughts about what it’ll be like to return home.

How much will have changed?

When you’ve been out of everything for a while, you feel like you’ve missed a lot and wonder how much will be different to what you remember. The big things like births, deaths, birthdays, weddings and engagements, but also just a year’s worth of the everyday.

However most people have said that, beyond the surface, very little really changes when you’ve been away. A friend of mine recently returned home after 5 years living abroad, and even then, most things felt the same as when she’d left. Hopefully it won’t take too long to catch up and get back into the swing of things.

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Why NZ?

When sharing the news of our upcoming trip, a few friends have asked us ‘why New Zealand?’

I guess I’d have to split my answer into universal and personal reasons (any excuse for a rhyme); universal in that it is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful countries in the world, the people are famously welcoming and there’s a hell of a lot to see and do. But as this blog is pretty personal, here are some of the reasons that Rob & I have decided to spend a year down under.

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My childhood amongst the giant plants

One reason is that I used to live there, from age 2 ½ – 5 ½ my family lived in Palmerston North (or Palmy) in the south of the North Island. I can’t remember a lot about it but my parents got married there and it’s where I started school, so it was a key part of my childhood. I can’t wait to visit our old house and catch up with some of first friends I had.

We’re also more drawn to NZ than Oz, perhaps because we’re a little older than the typical gap year traveler and are happy to be somewhere that’s a bit more easygoing. I would love to visit Australia and friends have had amazing times there but NZ holds more appeal for us right now.

We also feel that it’s the right time for us to take a trip like this. We both went straight to Uni after college and straight into work after graduating. Rob has been to South America for a short trip and the biggest holiday we’ve had together was to Cuba, but we’re by no means ‘seasoned traveler . Although NZ is probably the furthest away you can go from the UK, it’s also similar in many ways (- I hope I’ll still be allowed in after that comment!) in the sense that we won’t have to worry about a different language or extreme culture shock that other countries would bring.

On a more practical note, we managed to save over £350 on our travel insurance after a bit of ‘comparing the market’ – boom!

I’m also searching for an online contacts/address book to send a link to friends who have mentioned that they have contacts we should look up when we’re in their area. After registering for a few, I haven’t found anything that works the way I need it to yet – if you have any suggestions they’d be much appreciated