The slight (read: enormous) freaking out before departure
I know I was so excited but terrified at the same time these last couple of days/weeks. So many ‘what if’s’ occurred to me, most importantly: What if I wouldn’t like it? I know everybody’s sure that this will be the biggest experience in our lives but it always takes a little more time with me to realize things like that as well as to adapt. It’s like I desperately want change but when change is there I want to stay in my safe zone. (Don’t worry though, I had this before every big step in my life: first day of school, departure to Barcelona on an Erasmus exchange, first day of work etc., it’s just me)
Packing our lives into two 80 liter backpacks
Packing the bags wasn’t super easy.
Yes, most likely I packed too many stuff, but I had to find a balance between looking like Dora The Explorer or Mila Kunis with her night-out game on all the time (ok I don’t
resemble to either of those two but I’m confident I have a little bit of both now in my backpack, however still more Dora than Mila I’m afraid) At the end of our trip I will share with you all
what inevitable pieces I could have definitely lived without but I believe I have to make my own mistakes first to be able to give you guys some honest advice.
Just to give you an idea (I sincerely hope my hubby won't read this part), this is what I brought:
- 2 pairs of jeans
- 4 shorts (2 regular ones, 1 jumper and one in sweatpants fabric)
- 3 T-shirts
- 6 tops
- 3 blouses
- 2 dresses
(Oh dear it sounds terrible already if you compare this to other backpacker's blogs)
- 2 sweaters and a denim jacket
- 1 raincoat
- most of my socks & underwear
- 2 thin travel towels
- 1 hammam towel
- oh and 4 or 5 bikinis ;)
- heels, sneakers, flip flops, watershoes (terrified of moving things underwater) and walking shoes
+ of course all electrical equipment and my longboard
- and some extra junk of course!
D (for Departure) day
With some hurdles we managed to get all our luggage in our bags and on July 4 we took of to the airport. Again, of course not without some fails.. First of all my alarm didn’t go off, which never happened to me until that morning, as a result we jumped out of bed and left like a couple of loonies. Next to that, I realized half way to the airport I had forgotten my laptop in Antwerp so my parents dropped us off at Brussels airport and mom hopped right back in the car for an extra 1,5h drive to Antwerp and back to Brussels with my computer (moms are awesome!) Luckily she made it back in time and with our bags of each 29.9 kg (incl. skateboards and camera stands so don’t judge us just yet) we were safe, no extra charges. With our carry-ons we cheated a bit with the weight but eventually we gave our last hugs and kisses to our families and went through border security.
Everything there went super smooth, even with Arno’s neurostimulator, we had expected some difficulties there so that was quite the relief. We could finally catch a breath and stroll to our gate, nope wrong again... Downstairs after border security we realized we forgot Arno’s neurostimulator charger, remote control and our camera stabilizer. You should’ve seen us, both going crazy and actually considering trying to run upstairs on the escalators (downwards-going only of course) before we found an elevator. We sprinted back to our security guard who was just putting the message through her walkie that a suspicious package was left behind. (We’re still a country with terror level 3 so not our best move there) But luckily after an extra check we had everything to take off.
After that our gate changed 3 times (close call, we were almost boarding a plane to Nice instead), our second flight from Munich to Singapore was quite a bumpy ride, resulting in me feeling nauseous throughout the whole 11h flight, not a winner! Our last flight went smoother and was quieter as well. Finally we arrived in Perth, after a dog-drug check (10 people had to stand in line behind each other while an officer and a dog stroll past you, the dog actually passed me and then came back to have another snif, yup I almost could imagine my next tv role in Border Control Australia! Lucky for me the extra snif was all I got)
So just as a side note to inform you guys, including every Belgian that has seen Border Control on tv (because if you mention ‘Australia' there, EVERYONE has seen it and says the same thing: “Strict country huh”), to all of you: they’re not monsters here! All we had to show was our passport and the declaration form we received on our last flight. The visa is linked to your passport, we didn’t need to show proof of our bank statements, vaccinations, medicines (not even Arno) at all. I even brought my coffee & chocolates. :)
We made it to our hostel too, Billabong resort in Perth, with our rental car. Luckily it’s an automatic as the driving-left part was already challenging enough on our first jetlagday. Oh and yes, it’s winter out here, nasty surprise! Our room was like camping in wintertime but the staff were so friendly to provide us with two heaters. I have to admit I peeked two times in the toilet to make sure there wasn’t any snake hidden in it. Did I tell you it’s winter here? But like pouring rain, freezing toes kind of winter? YUP! We’re chasing the sun as soon as possible :)