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As a secondary school teacher in the UK sometimes you feel like there are nothing but targets; “you must do more of this and include less of that in your lessons”. Any UK teacher will tell you how a visit from the school inspectors is one of the most stressful things you can be put through, even if they don’t end up actually viewing one­­­­­­ of your lessons!

I can hardly believe that we left the UK just a week ago; since we touched down in New Zealand we haven’t stopped exploring. Each day has been crammed with new sights and experiences; from night kayaking and fishing to bathing on a hot water beach and trekking to the top of a volcanic island. We’ve driven 1,100 Kilometres, slept in five different beds, cooked in three different kitchens, got injured (Amy) and sunburned (both of us) and overall, had an amazing time – here’s the story of our first week on the road in New Zeland’s North Island.
After a pretty hideous 23-hour journey we made it to New Zealand. So what were our first impressions of Auckland? That it looked very similar to England; it was almost as if we’d been on a plane for hours but hadn’t really gone anywhere. That first day and night we both felt a bit shell shocked as we slowly realised we were literally on the other side of the world without a home or job to go back to, which made me question: ‘What the hell have we done’?  Thankfully, after a good sleep those fears disappeared and as we headed up to Paihia for our overnight Bay of Islands cruise, we were excited to finally be starting our adventure.
It’s finally arrived – after years of planning today is the day we jet off to New Zealand and begin our new life of travel.Since leaving London a couple of weeks ago we’ve been on a whirlwind tour of the UK to visit family and friends, many of whom we won’t see again for quite some time. We spent an eventful weekend in Derby with all Andrew’s family which involved hot-tubs in the snow, a highly amusing murder mystery evening, obscene amounts of food and drink and the most amazing leaving cake I’ve ever seen.
This time next week we'll be in the air en-route to New Zealand! Lately we've been so wrapped up in finalising travel plans and visiting family and friends that we've almost forgotten to be excited about leaving. To get us back in the mood for travel, our friend Patti wrote about her time in New Zealand.
What with leaving London, visiting family and friends across the UK and completing our final travel planning tasks, blog posts have been a bit thin on the ground lately. This will all change once we hit the road and start writing about our travels but for now we're focusing on getting through these final few days, which are proving to be far more stressful and emotional than we imagined they would be.
It’s finally arrived, my last evening in London. As I type this I’m surrounded by a flat full of stuff that needs to be sorted and packed but all I really want to do is absorb everything. For a few weeks now I’ve had the sensation that everything’s out of my control, like we’re hurtling full speed towards our departure date and I’m most certainly not the person in the driving seat. We may have finished work and said our goodbyes, but I still feel like I’ve yet to come to terms with leaving my city.
On Friday I turned off my work computer, left my desk and walked out of the office I’ve spent more than three years working in forever. However many times I imagined leaving, saying goodbye and shedding my old routine I never thought it would feel like this: Hollow. Instant. Irrevocable. Insignificant.  All Friday a quote from a TS Eliot poem kept running through my head:

This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but a whimper

To make the most of our travel savings we’ve always tried to use the best UK savings accounts. Due to the recession, interest rates in the UK have been pretty shocking for the past few years but we’ve still managed to make a bit of extra cash from stashing our money in high interest savings accounts – here’s a guide to what we’ve used in the past and what we’ll use when we start our trip.
I grew-up in Wales, my parents still live in the same house and when I speak to my siblings we always refer to it as ‘home’; even though we haven’t permanently lived there for years. Whenever I think of Wales or go back there it invokes happy childhood memories of having no responsibilities and playing football until dusk. All that changed when I moved to Bristol for University and then on to London to become a teacher. Although I haven’t lived in Wales since, I will always think of it as my childhood home and would recommend visiting.