This is an archive of a letter sent to our mailing list on 16 September 2018, the day we left the US.
There are just a few simple steps to follow to leave a country forever, and if you do, you’ll be guaranteed to only still forget a whole lot of things and maybe cry.
Firstly, put all your friends in one place, stare into their eyes and think of every memory you’ve had. Think of every memory you’re yet to have. Think of every friend you met in the last three months, how incredible they are and how much more you could get to know them, and all the laughs and adventures that could have come.
And then realize that you won’t see half these friends ever again after this moment.
Have you survived? Are you still here? I doubt it. Well, we’ve barely started.
Next, think of all the things you’ll leave behind. Are you so sure you’ll be able to get fast WiFi? Decent coffee? A rare steak? Spare batteries for your thingamajig? What’s the outdoor scene like? Will you be able to get decent tacos, pho, dim sum, laksa, mango, sushi, pizza and burgers?
Maybe you should go out for one final all of the above.
Now to pack. The thing about clothing is that it can be compressed infinitely until it is a tiny point of zero volume and infinite mass, so pack all your socks, underwear and t-shirts. You’re going to need all your spare batteries, pens, face masks, lip balm, coffee filters, razors, beauty samples, cologne/perfume, playing cards, and pieces of useful stationery (sticky notes!) you’ve carefully collected over the years. You’ve been ruthless at throwing things out, after all. You’re not a hoarder, right?
What about cords? Easy. All of them. Remember that time you didn’t have a charger? Exactly.
You definitely haven’t spent enough time with your family and loved ones, you realize after someone sends you an article about time. Maybe this whole thing should be flipped on its head, and you should immediately make a bee-line home to see your parents, siblings and long-time family friends with whom you have so many memories. What’s so special about the Pyramids of Egypt? Do you really need to see a sloth or a baobab tree? Look at some pics of them again, then pics of your loved ones. What if you miss some crazy life event? What if something happens while you’re away and you instantly regret everything?
Hey, crazy idea, why not just stay at home and check out weird stuff on Google Maps? Like these snow monkeys in Japan!
You’ll need ALL your cash. Do they accept dollars there? Is now the time to finally look up what a travellers cheque is?
A few days before you leave, you’re going to ship everything you DON’T need to your family’s house to store. You can do this in one of two ways.
- Pack your bags a few days early (LOL), then freight the rest home. This way, you (hypothetically only, as nobody packs a few days early) will only regret the several critical and expensive things you sent home that it turns out you needed.
- Don’t pack yet, but freight home everything you definitely won’t need a few days early. This way, you’ll not only regret the above things, but you’ll also have about $500 worth of things you wish you freighted but forgot.
Like, what are you supposed to do with the WiFi router? The coffee grinder? I guess they’re going with you.
Finally, it’s time to remember you might need a visa and wait, is your passport valid for another six months like they always ask?
Too late, your ride is here! You’ll be fine, anyway. Everyone loves people from your country, right?
Dana & Jo
PS Take more cords and chargers, you won’t regret it