I had a really bad night's sleep for some reason which is never a good thing when you have a flight at midnight with no opportunity to get any sleep before then and a 26 hour journey ahead of you after that.
Anyway, regadless of sleep or lack of it, there was only one thing to be done this morning and that was to sort the packing out. I decided I was going to take my bag outside and use the picnic table to pack properly. I eventually managed to get the zip closed, with some squeezing but it was very heavy so there was still no guarantees I was going to be okay. We also both ended up with two pieces of hand luggage where the limit was one but on the flight over we had seen a number of people with more than one piece so we were hoping this wasn't strictly adhered to. Var also managed to get her bag shut and all that was left to do was tidy up, clean a little and get ready to leave. Doing the final niceties of campervan life, namely emptying the waste water and toilet, we left for the Maui depot to drop our faithful home off for the last time.
All went well and so we got a taxi to the airport to put the bags into storage but when we got to the airport we were told that we could check-in already. There were scales in the airport on which you could weigh your bags. The limit was 23kgs. I was 24.5 kgs and Var was 21.5 so I had to ditch some ballast to get mine down to 23kgs but when we checked in I was 21.5! Oh well, I was under which was the main thing. We put our take on bags into storage and got a taxi into Auckland. We didn't have a huge amount of time even then so decided that if we only did one thing it would be the SkyTower. After doing the touristy bit up the top, we had our final meal in the restaurant at the bottom before making our way back to the airport.
We went straight through still worried about the number of bags and the weight of them. Having gone through we thought we had got away with it only to be stopped to have our carry on bags weighed. We were both over the 7kgs limit but only just so thankfully they allowed us through.
I won't lie. I don't have a problem with flying but the last few times I've had a longish flight I've not enjoyed it. However, the flight back was particularly awful. It's always worse coming home because once you resign yourself to the idea that the holiday is over, then really you just want to be back, but this was bad. The guy in front of me insisted on having his seat as far back as it could go for most of the flight as well as bouncing around all the time. At one point I had a bit of a panic attack when I felt really hemmed in and unfortunately I had to wake Var so I could stand up and walk around but once the sun rose I started to relax a little. I didn't sleep though so when we touched down at Heathrow I had had enough. James had offered to pick me up so I had a little time to wait and Var had a connecting flight to get back up to Glasgow so just like that, it was all over.
I've been back a few days now and I'm still in a bit of a daze. Disbelief that I went to New Zealand and that I was there, sadness that it is all over, some wishes that we had gone to different places and done different things but also some confusion as to how I feel about the place itself. I have been thinking about it for probably the last week or so and it still puzzles me. I'm going to give myself another few days, probably get back into the routines again before I come back to the question.
The one thing I would like to say at this point is a big thank you. Firstly to those people who helped me get to New Zealand, there were times I didn't think it would happen and it only did because of some very special people. Secondly, to those of you who listened patiently to me droning on and on for months about this trip, not once did you look bored, Oscars all around. Finally to Var. I have travelled on my own and would have no problems doing so again, but this trip would not have been anywhere near as much fun or so memorable without her. We laughed so hard at times I though my cheeks would explode and wished I had some tena lady pants with me, there were moments of fear (stuck in the mountains with no fuel), moments of sadness (not having my dad around to call and let him know I was having a great time) and memories enough to last a lifetime. Thanks everyone. xxxx