A Very Aussie Christmas

It’s now just over a week (!!) until I embark for the sunny shores of Sydney, to spend Christmas with my sister and her family. I wrote a bit about how excited I was for the trip here, but that was a few months ago now and things are getting closer, and much more real. I’ve never spent Christmas abroad before, and neither has Mr ANN, so that’ll be something completely new for us. I’m so excited – but I’ve also realised quite what I’ve got left to do. Here’s what my going away checklist is looking like at the moment.

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Wardrobe ¦¦ It’s sweltering over in Australia at the moment, with temperatures regularly over 30°C. That’s not something my pale British self is used to – but I’m certainly not complaining. My wardrobe may need some serious looking at, but there’s nowhere to buy shorts in the UK in December so I’ll just have to make do.

Christmas presents ¦¦ These have almost all been taken care of – we decided to adopt all our UK family members an animal each from the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust in Jersey, which is a cause close to my heart. Most people in our families are grown-ups who just buy everything they need themselves, and we have no desire to clutter up their lives with things they don’t. So an animal adoption suits us all very well. For the non-grown-ups, well there’s only my nephew in the UK, and we’ll get him something else to go with his animal – some books about it, I think, and maybe an Attenborough DVD. The other niece and nephew will be in Australia, so we’ll be taking presents with us for them. We’ve been asked to bring out some books so have been delving into our childhood memories for our most loved stories (and then buying them online – how very Millennial).

Packing ¦¦ I’m a last minute lassie when it comes to packing, but I think I should probably start getting some bits and pieces together now. Especially because it’s so cold here that I just can’t conceive heat. I keep trying to pack jumpers before realising what I’m doing. This could take a while. Any tips, anyone?House sitting ¦¦ We’re going to be staying at my sister-in-law’s (well, my brother-in-law’s sister, that’s my sister-in-law… right?!) place while she, her husband and son are in New Zealand visiting family. It’s such a generous offer of them – and they’re letting us use their car as well! – but I’m quite nervous we’re going to ruin something somehow. We’ve already been warned not to turn on the ceiling fan in the bedroom because it calls the police… Help?

In-flight entertainment ¦¦ We’re flying with Asiana and I’ve heard a vicious rumour that the in-flight entertainment isn’t up to much. It’ll probably turn out to be fine, but I’d rather be prepared – because realising that you’ve got 4x 11-hour flights to keep occupied and only one hastily-purchased trashy magazine to entertain yourself with (purchased solely for the free nail polish, obvs) is not the best way to start a trip. I’ve got some books but I’m thinking some podcasts might be more realistic given my anticipated attention span.Korea ¦¦ Speaking of Asiana, we will be stopping over in Seoul for a brief spell in both directions. Whilst I don’t think we’ll leave the airport on the way out (4h stopover), we definitely will on the way back (19h stopover, with hotel provided by Asiana – thanks!). So we need to think about what we’re going to do, the things we absolutely can’t miss, and how on earth I am going to stay warm given I don’t have space in my suitcase for a whole entire cold weather outfit that will be used for less than a day. Has anyone visited Seoul? Any travel tips or recommendations?

Work ¦¦ Things have been suspiciously quiet at work recently, which means there shouldn’t be too much I need to get squared away before we leave. It does however make me anxious that something is going to suddenly hit my desk the day before we leave. Oh and I’ve got to cobble together something respectable to wear to the Christmas party this week, too…

House ¦¦ Remembering to eat all the food in the fridge before we go, put the heating on timer so the pipes don’t freeze, let our neighbours know we’ll be away, put the bins out… Boring stuff but we’ll regret it if we forget it.

Do you have a pre-travel checklist?

-Rachel

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