In (Reflections Part 2) of this series of posts, we’ve told you about how our house got sold (twice)!
That was something very important to happen in order for us to continue with our dream … to get ourselves out of the rat race and start living a more balanced life.
It was time to start packing the few items away we’ve still had left in our house – by now, we’ve given almost everything away. We had like 10 cupboards in our house that was filled with clothes for just the two of us! By now only 3 of them was half full of our clothes … and we did not even miss the clothes and shoes we’ve given away!
My cupboard … a few hanging clothes left and a lot of empty hangers!
I’ve mentioned in REFLECTIONS ON OUR PORTUGUESE CAMINO (Part 1) that our friends asked us “What now”. We were thinking of taking our backpacks and a big duffel bag with Berto’s diving gear, get on a plane and tour around the world for at least one year. This is how much time we’ve thought we might need to clear our minds from work stress and then decide where we would like to go next.
Our plan was initially to travel to different countries (that would allow our South African passports without a visa) where Berto could assist diving companies with their diving tours (he is a qualified dive master) and I would assist with any odd jobs (waitressing or work in dive shops). That way we would earn some money (not a lot), but enough to keep us going.
We’ve had it all planned:
- Our first stop would be in Thailand where diving is of great interest to tourists.
- From there, we would have travelled to countries close by, like Vietnam and the Philippines.
- And then take a trip on the Trans-Siberian railway (on our bucket list for a long time).
- Then we would find our way into Turkey for more diving and hiking.
- Egypt was next on the list – great diving spots there.
- And then off to the magical Patagonia at the southern end of South America for some serious hiking.
That does sound amazing, doesn’t it!
But back in our minds, we knew we were not 20 anymore and that a “gap year” like this could probably hinder us when we want to get back into the job market again … especially Berto who is in the IT market where things are constantly changing.
And this is when our lives took an unexpected turn.
About 3 years ago, we’ve attended a seminar hosted by an overseas company about emigrating to New Zealand or Australia. At that stage, we were not committed to something like that, but we’ve opted to stay on their mailing list.
And this is how Berto received an e-mail from them in September 2018 to inform us that they are back in Cape Town presenting another seminar … and we’ve decided to go. We’ve sat through the presentation and listened carefully. Afterwards, we’ve made an appointment for a private meeting which we’ve attended 3 days later.
I still remember that evening clearly … there was a serious drought in Cape Town, but that evening a rain storm hit the Capetonians out of nowhere and it was coming down in buckets! We were running for shelter to a close-by restaurant in the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront after our meeting and did not say a word … until we’ve ordered our food … and then we’ve looked at each other and almost simultaneously said “let’s go for it”!
We just knew the time was right for exploring other options and we were ready for a new adventure!
We had 5 months to get everything in order before leaving South Africa. Fortunately, our house was sold and the final paperwork was done 2 months before we’ve took our plane to New Zealand … all worked out pretty fine there!
In December 2018, we’ve left Cape Town to go and stay in our beach house in Langebaan for the last 2 months before we’ve departed to New Zealand. We’ve lived in Cape Town for 21 wonderful years! We’ve seen other parts of the world and are still of the opinion that Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities in the world … we will surely miss this place.
The magnificent Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa
At our beach house in Langebaan, we’ve done our final preparation before leaving for New Zealand:
- We’ve sold our other car and only kept one (for my mom to use as she is still living in our beach house in Langebaan).
- We’ve spent countless days at the bank to get our bank affairs in order. Stopped debit orders where necessary and arranged with the bank to transfer money to our New Zealand bank account once we’ve opened one there (very important).
- We’ve fully paid our beach house in Langebaan – the less finance worries you have when departing to another country, the better!
- We’ve also appointed a lawyer to act on our behalf should the need arise – also quite important! It can be a pain in the “you know what” when important things need to be done and you are 11,554km away!
BE KIND TO EACH OTHER:
It is probably not necessary for us to tell you that preparing for such a move can be the cause of a lot of unwanted stress and heaps of emotions!
This is the time when families need to work together to make the transition as easy as possible. Speak to each other about your feelings (yes, I know this is probably the single most difficult thing for men to do 😜), but do try! The road ahead is an uncertain one and you should tackle this as a team! Fortunately, I am a good talker and Berto a great listener 😁.
We’ve realised soon what we will miss about South Africa:
- Family! My mom is staying behind in Langebaan and we will miss her tremendously … but there is a plane going between South Africa and New Zealand! It is also great to know that she is supporting us in our decision.
- Our friends! We’ve known them for many, many years and had great times together. Their children became our children – we’ve seen them born and grown up over the years.
- Speaking our home language, Afrikaans. Although we’ve spoken a lot of English in South Africa, we might miss to hear Afrikaans in our daily communication with others.
We have a visitor’s visa for 3 months (which can be extended) – and we will use the time to explore New Zealand … maybe see it as a (long) holiday!
Here are a few photo’s of the beauty of Langebaan:
Our kayaks at the Langebaan lagoon
The beauty of the West Coast National Park at Langebaan
Spring time in the West Coast National Park at Langebaan
Sunset at Langebaan
We hope to find similar beautiful places in New Zealand. We know from our travels abroad, that each country has its own beauty and we are looking forward to find these in New Zealand.
After three posts on our reflection back on the Camino, the question automatically comes up: Were we influenced to do all this by hiking two Camino’s? Yes and No.
The Camino did convince us you can live without all the stuff you gathered over years and rather live the more simpler life. One thing might lead to another and we will see how our new direction in life is working out …
And so this, our friends, will be the last post about the Camino and our reflections thereof. We hope to maybe one day be on the Camino again – it will always be part of us.