Now what have I forgotten?   1 Nov 2005

Ellie Van Baaren

Ticket? Check. Passport? Check. Empty room? Check. Mound of luggage? Check. The countdown has reached a matter of days and amidst all the hedonistic goodbye parties, there’s that niggling voice in your head asking: "what have I forgotten?" and "what the hell am I doing?"

Ticket? Check. Passport? Check. Empty room? Check. Mound of luggage? Check. The countdown has reached a matter of days and amidst all the hedonistic goodbye parties, there’s that niggling voice in your head asking: "what have I forgotten?" and "what the hell am I doing?"

you know it’s a bit late for doubts now, but that doesn’t stop the stream of consciousness running continuously through your head as you stare at the ruins of what used to be your house (or room). Anything you don’t need for a while is already on a ship and that big pile in the middle of the room is supposed to fit in a check-in booth ... somehow. The delight with which you booked your ticket has been replaced by second thoughts and memories of the life you left behind all those months or years ago.

You should have already organised the important stuff such as tax, national insurance, shipping, selling the house or giving notice at your flat and resigning from your job. If you haven’t, I suggest you get on to it, and fast. But apart from packing up everything you have left, your last week in the UK should be enjoyable. You’re not only saying goodbye to friends, and in some cases family, you’re saying goodbye to a lifestyle and a country. Make sure you give equal time to each of them.

Friends are the most difficult. They just keep moving around, damn it. Hopefully you will have already booked your nearest and dearest in for a decent hoorah, but for the rest, make them come to you. You’ll run yourself ragged trying to get to everyone in time, and you need to look fresh when you walk off that plane into the sunshine.

As for the lifestyle, don’t forget to say goodbye to your favourite restaurants, bars, clubs ... whatever took your fancy while you were here. Chances are, when you make your next visit they may not be there anymore, or the crowd will have changed.

And the city. I can only talk about London, because that’s where I’m based, but you should already know what you were always meaning to do and never quite got around to.

You should have already taken care of the overseas destinations, it’s now time to concentrate on things closer to home. Museums, castles, reserves, city walks, beaches (such as they are) ... there’s probably a long list, so it’s best to devise a strategy. Just a tip. I’ve heard the National Portrait Gallery and the Imperial War Museum in London are particularly fascinating and easy to while away a good few hours. Plus the Museum of Moving Image is great for the kids. And you can’t go past the two Tates, the Tate Britain and the Tate Modern.

Finally and probably most importantly – don’t be late!

Never underestimate how long it takes to get to the airport, especially because you’ll have more luggage than whenever you’ve travelled before. There are certain times when you will need longer than two hours to check in and in my experience the earlier you are, the less stringent they are on the weight restrictions (within reason).

Oh and by the way, if the doubts are getting too loud take a look at newzealandnow.info to remind yourself of just how good it’s going at home at the moment.

Bon voyage!

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