Details, details, details…Not as uncomplicated as one may think…

Ah, bull in the road. We stayed in the car while I took the photo through the windshield (referred to as a “windscreen” here in NZ).

Moving every few months has its challenges. If someone had asked me five years ago if we’d be willing to move every two or three months or more frequently, as will occur in a few months, I’d had said it was impossible.

Even now, after 42 months of experience, it could be an overwhelming task if we let the entire process flood our minds in one fell swoop. Instead, we take it in bite-sized pieces, collecting and sorting our stuff over a period of many days.

I handle all the small stuff and Tom handles the heavy stuff. Without ever discussing it or mapping a plan, we each gravitated toward the tasks well suited to our abilities and desires.

As a result, I handle the refrigerator, freezer, and food in the cabinets which in itself is a big job. We’ve been here for a full three months accumulating a number of ingredients, spices, and foods we’ve used in preparing meals.

Cows often stop grazing to check us out.  Are they happy to see us or annoyed?

Weeks before we leave, I assess all the remaining items. Together, we determine a menu based on what we have on hand in an attempt to “use up” the ingredients and what we’ll need to purchase to round out the meals.

For example, we had a partial bag of organic coconut flour, a jar of organic coconut oil, and an unopened can of unsweetened coconut milk, some of the ingredients used in making low-carb pancakes. Plus, there were several packages of streaky bacon left in the freezer.

With a trip to the Taranaki Farmer’s Market on Sunday, we purchased eggs we’d need to make for “breakfast for dinner,” one of our favorite occasional meals; coconut pancakes, scrambled eggs with onions and cheese, and a side of bacon.

Tonight, we’ll have this same meal for the second night, using the balance of the on-hand ingredients.  Tomorrow, we’ll head to town to purchase two organic, free-range pre-cooked chickens to which we’ll add a salad and green beans, more of which we still have on hand.

Green hills and the sea on a sunny day.

On Thursday, I’ll clean the refrigerator and freezer with a plan to leave it as clean as it was when we arrived.  We’ll leave behind only a few items; a can of salmon, a bag of unsweetened coconut, and a few spices.We have no room in our luggage to bring food with us, although we’d had done so in the past.

With the cost of baggage for upcoming flights, it makes no sense to pay to bring any type of food products.  Plus, both New Zealand and Australia have tight restrictions on bringing food into their countries.

Heading to Bali after the cruise we’ll board in four days, we’ll be living in a remote area for 59 days. We’re well aware we’ll have trouble finding many ingredients we use regularly, such as some of the above-mentioned coconut products. 

Every country has protein sources and vegetables. If necessary, if all we can eat is a grass-fed steak, free-range chicken, or wild-caught fish with a salad and vegetable, we’ll be fine. Also, we’ve yet to visit a country that doesn’t have free-range eggs and cheese. 

Cows, mountains, and sea at a distance.

Tom not only oversees the handling and weighing of the heavy bags, but carefully plans the packing, wrapping, and distribution of all of our power cords and power strips. Also, he’ll do the packing of our new wheeling computer backpack we purchased while here. We’re hoping to be able to eliminate a few carry-on items as we pack this time around.

Cruise lines don’t allow power strips in the cabins fearing too many items on one strip may present a fire hazard. Each time we board a cruise, our power strips are confiscated which we collect in “security” on disembarking day. Without these strips, we have a problem plugging in all of our equipment. 

In most cases, we’re able to get alternative smaller strips from our cabin steward which solves the issue.  There’s a shortage of outlets in the cabins although all ships on which we’ve sailed to date have US plug-ins. If we ever find that not to be the case, we can use the three converters/adapters we carry with us and use them in almost every country we visit.

Over the past few days, I tossed no less than 8 pounds, 3.6 kg, of “stuff” from our third bag. This bag has never been this light. At some point, we’ll replace our two clothing bags hoping to purchase even lighter weight bags as more and more styles become available. This may have to wait until we get to the US in 2017.

A cow escaped the paddock hanging out on the side of the road.

Today, I’ll neatly fold the shirts Tom wears to dinner on the cruises and a few shirts of mine, all of which have been hanging in the two closets. Most of our clothing is wrinkle-free, but we’ve yet to find any clothing that doesn’t wrinkle to some extent.

I’ve tried a number of methods to reduce wrinkles, but none seems to work or are too time-consuming and cumbersome to implement. Once we arrive at the cruise with our bags delivered to the cabin, we’ll immediately unpack and hang the necessary items, hoping the wrinkles will dissipate from the humidity in the cabin.

Also, today, I’ll restock our pill cases with my now only two prescriptions and a few vitamins and Tom’s few vitamins (he no longer takes any prescription meds). We both take probiotics daily. Long ago, we had to forgo packing vitamins and supplements when we just don’t have room in our luggage or access to restocking them in some countries.

In addition, we’re washing bath towels, bedding, and kitchen towels to leave everything in order when we depart. We’ll only have the sheets we slept on Thursday night and one bath towel each remaining unwashed when we leave on Friday morning.

Driving along a narrow road in farm country.

Yesterday, I completed the scanning of all of the tax-deductible receipts we accumulated while here in New Zealand. Our 2015 federal tax return, due on April 15th, was completed and submitted online by our Nevada accountant over a week ago. 

Later today, I’ll begin working on the final expenses (by category) for this three-month stay in New Plymouth which we’ll share in Friday’s post (Thursday to those on the other side of the International Dateline). Tomorrow, we’ll post our favorite New Zealand photos.

This morning, Tom gathered all the trash we’ve accumulated over the past few days as the packing began and drove it down to the recycle and trash bins at the far end of the road. We always attempt to leave no trash behind other than a few necessary items in the kitchen bins (tucked away in cabinets), never leaving any trash scattered about the house.

The ocean and a tiny island at dusk on a cloudy evening.

No doubt, we still have plenty to do. However, we’re on track, exactly where we need to be with three remaining days until we drive to Auckland for our flight to Sydney. 

As we peer out the windows on this rainy day, the alpacas continue to happily graze in the paddock. Although a little sad about leaving them, we feel complete and fulfilled by this memorable experience.

May your day bring you contentment and fulfillment!

Photo from one year ago today, April 12, 2015:

From the Princeville Botanical Garden one year ago today, we wrote: With many bees in this area, I chose not to move the green leaves for a better view of this exquisite bloom which was the size of a soccer ball. For more photos, please click here.