It has been an emotional week, at least it should have been, but we seem to have put ourselves in auto mode, a defence many expats will recognise as you pack up and leave family, friends and familiarity behind you every couple of years. Never actually saying goodbye – “we’ll try to see you next week”, “October is just a few months away” or “try to get down to the Med to see us”. All the time immersing ourselves so much in the preparation that we never really think about the actual leaving until suddenly we are gone. We have set, weather etc. allowing, our departure date for next Thursday 7th May.
The week started with us finally, after removing all the last bits of furniture for the rental house and bringing the few remaining bags to the boat, managing to empty the second storage unit. Amazingly we managed to fit everything that was left into the main store with all the “good” stuff from Ongley. I must admit to a little twinge of sadness as we finally clunked down the door on all our processions from our previous life, everything piled high but still looking so familiar.
However this sadness was immediately tempered as we reached the boat and I unpacked a large bag carefully marked with a blue dot for ‘boat’ and labelled ‘Roz’s summer clothes’. As I squeezed everything into the limited space assigned to storing my wardrobe, memories of holidays and sunshine came into my head and it was exciting to think that in a few weeks this is what I’ll be wearing. The next set of bags contained our scuba gear, wet suits, snorkels etc. and visions of swimming in warm, clear blue seas, full of colourful fish motivated us to get on with yet more stowing, organising and fixing.
Monday we went out sailing – for a photo shoot, no less! The magazine Sailing Today are putting together a few articles telling the story of our refit and preparation, then possibly more articles as they catch up with us on our journey. I’m not really sure how I feel about this. In my other life I’m sure I would be slightly horrified but in my current numb state I just feel slightly embarrassed, just another new experience and it does mean hopefully we’ll have some great pictures of Raya. Unfortunately we had no wind, we just about managed to keep the sails full and hopefully we will look as if we were doing a bit more than the 2kts we were actually achieving.
Tuesday we started a two day trip back to Kent to visit the dentist and to say goodbye to the Mums. Both mums are anxious for are safety, sad not to be seeing so much of us but also excited for us and looking forward to following our progress. Big hugs were exchanged and last minute contact procedures finalised and after all it is only a few months until we are back for a visit in October.
In fact friends and family have all been brilliant , helping us out in so many ways, coming down to see us and the boat and most importantly being excited and interested in our adventure. Quite a few will be joining us along the way and many more will following us here on the blog.
You see it’s not really goodbye at all.