Good news! Our work-holiday visas for New Zealand have been approved! Even better news…the application fees that we thought we were going to have to pay were waived. That was a very pleasant surprise as we always love saving a few bucks.
I also finally sold my triathlon race bike, which was a goal for us in our down-sizing plan before our trip. It was a little bittersweet to sell the Black Mamba but I have plenty of USF triathlon race memories to fill the void. Plus, between Michael and I, we still have plenty of road bikes and mountain bikes to rip up the trails.
We also have our visitor visas for our 10 day stay in Sydney before heading to New Zealand. Part of our stay in Sydney will include a trip the Australasia Branch Office. They oversee the ministry work being done in Australia, American Samoa, Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa, Timor-Leste, Tonga, and New Zealand. This branch also prints and ships over 18 million magazines in more than 55 languages to areas of the Pacific. We are really looking forward to taking a tour of this branch!
Originally we were just going to rely on Uber to get around Sydney, but that can get expensive if you want to go very far. So we researched the public transportation in Sydney, and let me just say, Sydney has got it goin’ on! Between the bus, train, inter-city light rail, and ferry we will have no problem exploring the city and surrounding areas (like the Blue Mountains National Park). And they have an easy way to pay the fares using the Opal card. This re-loadable card replaces all the paper ticketing for city transportation and once you reach a weekly cap of $60, you travel free for the rest of the week!
Today is also Michael’s last day of work for Suncoast Federal Credit Union. He has been there for five years! He is in members services, so he helps people apply for loans and open accounts, but mainly deals with grouchy people and helping them better manage their money. Suncoast is a great company to work for and he has enjoyed his time there, but he is done with the drive on I-75 with all the road raging psychos that live in Florida. We are both ready to get away from the road rage culture for awhile…seriously, people are getting shot and killed over it. No bueno.
But there is a lesson to be learned on the topic of driving. Statistically, it is the most dangerous activity that people do. But despite all the horrific accidents and road rage stories, people still get into their vehicles every day. They don’t let fear prevent them from driving.
Fear and insecurities are part of being human. They are unavoidable. Yet, fear and insecurities are manageable if approached in a healthy way. We have experienced some fears projected onto us by others about our trip, but we aren’t letting that stop us from exploring outside our bubble. The best way to overcome fear is to face it and work through it. And that’s exactly what we plan to do. We are going to do it regardless of experience, or how many people are afraid for us, or even if we are a little afraid ourselves.
No, it will not be easy, but we are excited and ready for the challenge. We are going to New Zealand for a year for volunteer ministry work! Tickets are bought, visas are approved, and final preparations are in the works.
The first leg of our journey starts September 1st and we will be in OHIO visiting family for a few weeks before departing the country.
We will keep you in the loop on our trip details and how closely we actually stick to our packing lists. Should be fun!