It was late April, 2011, when we decided that we would spend 2012 in France. It was time for a change. We had looked into opening a business of some sort down south (of Western Australia), but we missed our opportunities for one reason or another. So it was off to France to re-group and try to think about what we could do with the rest of our lives.

To get to this point, it has been a pretty long journey already. We had to rationalise our financial position which mean’t dumping the mortgage. Fortunately we sold our Fremantle apartment to the first person who walked in on the first home opening. We had about 6 weeks before settlement and had to buy something quickly to ensure both settled on the same day. We purchased a small apartment in the city with river views. That allowed us to get rid of the mortgage and left us with a little bit of cash to finance our travels.

I applied for a combination of long service leave and leave without pay, while Paige simply quit her job.

Next came the task of assembling all the documents for our visa applications. Financial adviser assessments, police checks, insurance, flights and accommodation to be booked. Statutory declarations signed and witnessed and itinerary planned and then trips to Sydney (twice) to lodge our applications.

We had to offload a bundle of furniture and belongings to our kids as well as the cat. We are going to rent out our city apartment as a fully furnished corporate lease, so we have been doing a few renovations and upgrades to get it up to corporate standard. We don’t expect to have any difficulty in getting a lease as they are in high demand and have agents contacting us all the time wanting listings. All we have to do after that is sell the car (which we also had to payout the lease on it, as well as put it into the panel beaters to get a few bumps and scratches smoothed out), but if it doesn’t sell, it can go into storage for 12 months or so. We will need a car when we get back.

With less than three weeks to go, we are now waiting on our passports and visas to be returned. Once we have those, we can confirm our departure date from Perth and book our initial Paris accommodation and car hire. Fingers crossed, we will have them before the new year.