Next week around this time we will have are last good sleep for a while. When most Dutch families will be looking forward to Pakjesavond (translates to something like ‘presents evening’ or ‘unboxing night’) We will be looking at a house full boxes and those will not be presents. All our possessions we want to hang on to in our new life down under will be boxed and packed, ready to be loaded in one very big box: a 20ft shipping container. Including our…
Moving to Australia is a bit different than moving to the UK, Sweden or Spain for example. Within Europe your belongings will be at their destination in a day or two. Moving your household 17000km takes around 8 weeks at sea and then some time at customs and quarantaine. In Europe the borders are pretty much gone and your goods, including dirty mountainbikes, greasy tools and muddy hiking boots move as easily across borders as you do. Meet Australian Border Control: The exact opposite. Dirty bike? Fail! Muddy shoes? Fail! Leafs, grass or other kind of garden litter on your stuff? Fail! And if your container contains something on the pretty long list and is deemed risky you get two options: They clean it for you (EXPENSIVE!!!) or the destroy it for you. Destroying is costly in two ways, you get charged for the destruction and you are left with nothing in the end, except the bill for destruction. But cleaning a used cat pole could set you back a a few hundred euros/dollars. So you really have to be careful what to bring and what not. And if you bring risky stuff (such as mountainbikes) you have to clean them meticulously.
For the last few weeks we’ve been sifting through endless stacks of books, old photos, utensils, cutlery, clothing, shoes, tools, etc. etc. (a 20ft container is big but not that big that you can take everything) Apart from the issues of fitting your entire life in 30 cubic meters , the whole thing is kind off a cleansing experience. And it makes you realise your life is much more than a packed to the brim shipping container. It is you, your loved ones and your health. Not much more and definitely not less! But lets not get emotional now, there is time enough left for that in the next few weeks.
For now we have more pressing matters. Due to the fact that our container needs about 10 weeks from door to door we will give it a 5 weeks head start which means it will arrive 5 weeks after our arrival in Canberra. Therefore we have some logistical challenge on our hands. We need to have clothing for another 5 to 6 weeks of winter in the Netherlands and clothing for another few weeks in the midst of the Australian summer before our container arrives. To make life a little more complicated we are limited to 35 kg each (and that’s with 5kg extra thanks to the friendly staff at Singapore Airlines) In reality this will mean 20kg for me and 50kg for Miss B. I will have to make do with a few socks and undies less I guess 😉