Thursday, March 26, 2015

Retirement Finally & Australia/New Zealand Too!!!

March 1st, 2015 I delivered my intent to retire effective May 29th, 2015 and talk about an emotionally draining few days after that.  Not sure why as I've known for FIVE years now that I was going to retire - postponed first because of a loan, then timing for the trip was off so delayed more, then another dream trip to Ireland in 2013 and again decided to delay until this spring!  NO MORE DELAYS!!!  LOL!
Here I thought I’d not have to start the heavy planning for my September - October "down under trip" until after retirement but not the case as I need a more in stone itinerary with stop overs planned back to my travel agent in two weeks!!!  My life is definitely not going to be normal for a while!!!
So on Wednesday I had my first visit with the travel agent specializing in Australian tours.  She did warn me it was an expensive place to visit, you need time and money but it was well worth the expense and to do it in leisure, not rushed!  She did say air fare would be around $3,500 and the sooner it’s booked the better the deal - I'm not keen on waiting for discount deals or standby etc - nope I like to know all is planned.  Then she can work on the mainland travel itinerary and book additional flights, train and coach travel within the package along with motels/hostels where needed. 
Just from talking with her she got a grasp of what I want to see and will pick the best of them out so I don’t have to see like 3 zoos or 5 sanctuaries etc, spread my spending monies around more.  Then it was suggested where to start from, how to travel to next, with less criss crossing or double backing etc and I liked most of it.  I wanted more freedom to come and go and change plans but that is not likely except in those couple days of stop overs as flights etc have to be booked. 
This will help too with visiting friends – they’ll know when I’m in their area and hopefully we can meet up for visiting/touring.  She asked what my budget was and I got the feeling I’m well under what is needed so will have to give her my thoughts of where I’d like to go etc and then we’ll meet again when she’s put together a few different packages to look over.  Also changing my return flight is not really possible as it’s  not only a $500 change fee but also buying a new ticket!  So I have to decide and stick with it I guess!  YIKES!!!
I’ve already sent out emails to my quilting/stitching friends Down Under and some have come back to me with wishes to visit.  Now that I’ve sort of an Itinerary (tentatively mapped out) I’ll have to sit down and plan my stop overs.  I’ve started a new excel file for friends to visit, places to see and shops to check out (not saying I’ll buy too much there but something besides pictures to bring back).
Today I downloaded JPGs of Australia and New Zealand maps and pinpointed my major stops with descriptions and possible days at each. 
Now to figure out the time involved and see if it fits into my 6-8 week plans.  I also have to make notations of where my friends are and possible meeting places.  This I truly want to do as many have been so nice and pleasant within emails and having our quilting/embroidery passions in common it would be awesome to personally meet up. 
Yes time is a running out especially for my retirement plans!!!  FINALLY!!!