So its been awhile…and a lot has changed in our world.
Over the last 2 months, we’ve packed up one home and returned to another. Its been busy and despite the lack of posts, we managed to squeeze in a little more travel before we changed worlds. Those updates to follow.
Since we made the decision to return to the US (here), we kicked into moving mode. We halted all purchases unless it was critical (such as food!), we began to pack up our belongings and anything not coming with us was to be sold/ donated. We arrived in the UK with 10 pieces of luggage. It was our aim to leave the UK with the same 10 pieces….and we did! Contents differed slightly and brought back lots of momentos, but essentially, we traveled with just our bags. Icelandair has a great baggage allowance which we used to its maximum!
I single handedly packed up our home over the last few weeks. It was good to keep busy and have a focus and the prospect of leaving was depressing. Thank heavens for Facebook groups for selling items. Between 3 separate groups – I sold EVERYTHING! Down to the cutlery in the drawers. I honestly think we broke even in our home furnishings. I priced to sell, built up a reputation of good quality and people were clambering to get a deal. At the same time though, it was heartbreaking.
We got to the point where we had nothing left….what you see here was it! The TV was sold at this point but not yet delivered…
Packing to return to the US was much more difficult than packing to go to the UK. Difficult in terms of needing to find a home for everything (no default of ‘put it into storage’), but mostly difficult as it marked the end of our adventure. We knew a year (14 months in total) was probably not long enough, but it went by too fast. Our year was up. We did so much and including our planning, we had so much to look forward to for such a long period of time. Now it was over. We all held a certain level of excitement to come back to the US, the kids especially, but to be leaving family again was hard…so difficult.
We spent as much time with family as we could in the final few weeks. With special time planned to make the fondest of memories. If nothing else, the kids built strong bonds with family members allowing them to feel they belonged to a large family.
In addition to people, we had pets. Sadly only 2 to make the return journey (the third was carefully boxed up in hand luggage). No-one wants to put their pets through any stress, and knowing it would be a stressful moving day for them, I knew that it was important to keep them with us (vs re-homing). Sure enough, they bounced back pretty quickly and have settled in well again back at home.
The process is much more simplified on a journey into the USA than into The UK. A process I could manage myself but nonetheless, I worried about their travel. We booked the pets on Virgin Atlantic. The outbound journey was smooth and hoped for the same on the return. They were beyond excellent! They eliminated the stress on my side with friendly and efficient service. Also super flexible with us as we decided to hang out with the dog a little while longer before he was crated. Additionally, they arranged for the Heathrow Vet to stop in and issue a passport for the dog. It wasn’t needed but just in case we came back anytime soon :-). Bizarrely, this service was HALF the price as if i had done it at our local vet. For what should have been a highly stressful time, it proved to be a straightforward and laid back process. For anyone considering pet travel, Virgin Atlantic comes highly recommended!
Even the cat got packed up (she had a temporary home for a couple of weeks)…..its was exhausting work for her too..:-)
As we left the cottage, we took a few photos for the memory book. We were very happy here and already miss the cosy nature of the home. We even miss our friendly ghost (or so we thought there is there). Its hard to tell but every time we went away, the new net curtains in a front downstairs room were pulled down! It was once a main room of the cottage that looks directly into the street. I am sure our friendly spirit didn’t like the view obscured! Aside from those times and her gentle hand on my shoulder one night, she was never really a nuisance!
On our final stroll through the village, the sun was setting. A poignant end to our time in this beautiful place. One could say that life is about the journey, not the destination. This time, I wish we could have lingered a little longer at this destination..