Friday, February 10, 2012

Down to Bound, New Zealand

When you’re twelve years old and flat as a brick wall and pray for boobs, life hands you melons. Then you spend the rest of your adult life trying to manage them and losing weight to keep them manageable and pushing them together and waiting for free drinks. When life hands you lemons, you spend money you don’t have to buy enough sugar to turn sour into sweet. Last year, my sugar was a plethora of stateside trips: Supplemented by the generosity of others – as I was poor, and looking to be less poor. I had a plan to pay off my credit cards over the next 18 months and then I was heartbroken – yet again, thanks life - and, as it turns out, heartbreak is expensive. And I'll have debt forever: I'm only young once! This year, the travel continues - as was my original intent - but sooner than expected. In short, this mofo is going to New Zealand, mother fuckers! Woot.

I had been debating it for months when I learned my sister (who currently resides in Sydney) was renting an RV with her husband and they were taking their two year old daughter on a country-wide road trip around New Zealand. My mother would be joining them. Ever the uber-fan of Lord of the Rings ::nerd-nod::, this was particularly a dreamy trip to me. The trip of a lifetime, I thought. I wanted to go; I’ve never had a Passport as the only times I’ve ever been out of the country were to Canada in 8th grade and the Bahamas when I was 17. What a story for a first international travel, but responsibly I couldn’t afford it and I didn’t have to time off from work. So I told them to count me out and I would try to go on another one of the adventures they plan before they move back. Then, I was crushed. I needed a distraction; some sugar; something to look forward to; and my mommy.

No matter how old we get, we're all still just little kids who need our mommies. 

The Monday after this, I called my mom on my way to work and said “Can I still go to New Zealand?”, amidst tears I didn’t expect to fall. Suddenly bawling, I could barely get the words out “I had to let him go” (which makes me realize that I’ve come far since then, even though it all still bothers me on a very daily basis and it consumes far too much of my mind and more parts of conversations than I wish to admit). She said yes (she didn't want to travel alone either) and to talk to my sister who had to check to see if she could still upgrade to a six-person RV. I talked to my boss to see if I could go into the red with my paid time off. After he spoke to other execs, they all said yes. Then, I emailed my sister, who is 18 hours ahead of us - so the response was delayed – and she said yes, but she’d have to email the RV company to see if any were still available. Then, I immediately made an appointment for a Passport and submitted my application that Tuesday.

Side story: When you apply for a Passport the first time, they take your birth certificate. I was unaware of this. Earlier that morning I learned I was getting security clearance for work (something I’ve wanted for a while), but hadn’t yet started the process. When she stapled my birth certificate to my application, I said with the inflection as if someone had just kicked my dog, “Where is my birth certificate going?”

“With your application,” said the Asian lady taking care of my Passport application. “It will be mailed back to you with your passport.”

“Oh,” I said with a short pause, “but what I need it for something?”

“You can get a duplicate…” she continued speaking but I wasn’t listening and started to think to myself all of the times I needed it in the past 10 years, which was effectively never. Or once. Either way, I figured, I’m safe without it for the next four to six weeks. And off I went, back to work.

Immediately upon returning to work it occurred to me that I may need it for my clearance process, which, yes, you do. So I went back to the Post Office where they refused to return the application (or couldn’t – details), and they told me to go online and request a duplicate. In doing so, I had to validate myself, which – to shorten the story – required me to call my (biological) dad, with whom I’ve not spoken to in nearly a decade. And that was a mindfuck in and of itself. Seriously. ::shudders:: Always a story, here.

So with a few more back and forths, my sister rented the LAST six-person RV (which I have delicately nick-named "Big Bertha") and by Thursday I had my round-trip tickets from California to New Zealand booked. (I still need to finish booking my travel to/from California.) But holy shit and wee! If nothing else comes from the last couple of months of sweet turned sour, at least it gave me the push to pull the trigger and travel – because getting into it, it’s overwhelming and I’m not sure I could have done it alone. And now I get to spend time with my momma. And travel an entire, new, amazing, beautiful country island with my sister, niece, mom and brother-in-law. An absolute story of a lifetime, I’m sure.

And I thought the RV trip from PA to Montana with 13 of us 15 years ago was pretty epic. That's got nothin' on this. :) Let the packing begin...

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