Tip for travelling when you know that you're going to be pushing baggage weight limits, do a test pack the day before departure. I was thinking it may take us an hour, but in the end it took us a little over 4 hours to do the final test pack, that was 4 hours that we didn't have time for on the morning of departure.
Clothes weigh very little but take up a lot of space. Video and audio equipment weigh a lot but don't take up as much space as clothes. We had a collective weight allowance of 116 kilos, but we were limited to a maximum of 23 kilos for each checked in bag and 12 kilos for each carry on bag.
My priority was my scuba gear and our video and audio equipment and I was prepared to sacrifice items of my clothing so that high priority items got packed. My thinking was that I was heading to the northern hemisphere in December, so none of my Australian clothes, which were perfect for Queensland's sub tropical climate, were going to be of much use anyway. Plus I could easily and inexpensively buy clothes at my destination should I need them. In the end I was actually quite surprised at just how many of my clothes still made it into the bags.
As well as several camera and microphone combinations, our tech gear included 15TB (15,000GB) of hard drives, they weigh a lot and are susceptible to damage if banged around too much. Initially my plan was to put them in our carry on bags, but in the end, because of weight limits, they had to go into checked baggage. Luckily Aannsha's checked bags were quite a bit under the 23 kilo limit and because a lot of her items were clothes we managed to nestle the hard drives in the centre of her bags to give them some protection from any potential impact damage. As we eventually get around to using the hard drives we'll find out if they survived the collective baggage handlers at Brisbane, Abu Dhabi, Paris and Valencia airports.
In the end each of my checked bags weighed in at 22.4 and 22.6 kilos. My carry on was 11.8 kilos.
Aannsha's checked bags weighed 20.3 and 22.1 kilos, Her carry on was 10.9 kilos. We still had 5.9 kilos in reserve, but the laws of physics will only allow a certain volume into a bag regardless of how much it weighs. As we high-fived ourselves on getting our bag packing perfected, I was reminded of a trick question that I was asked by my maths teacher at school when I was 9 years old. Which weighs more? A ton of feathers or a ton of lead?
The sun rose on departure day and we confidently loaded our car (Our son Luke's car now) with everything we owned and drove an hour south to Brisbane to pick up Luke. The plan was that all three of us would drive to the airport, Aannsha and I would get dropped off and Luke would drive off into the sunset in his 'new' car.
Our flight out of Brisbane airport was not until 22.25 so we'd planned to spend as much time as we could with our son before leaving. Rocking up at his place at noon we found him buttoning up his shirt and looking for his shoes. Once he was ready we drove into Brisbane city centre for one last family treat. We were going to watch 'Star Wars - The Last Jedi in 3D'.
Fun Fact - I'm such a Star Wars fan that our son was named after Luke Skywalker.
The movie did not disappoint, and it was quite fitting to spend our final few hours in Australia with our son watching it. All three of us are lovers of the Star Wars saga and I remember the first time I introduced Luke to 'Star Wars - A New Hope' when he was just 5 years old. He watched it so many times he could almost recite the dialogue.
After the movie we drove to Brisbane airport, chatting about nothing at all and throwing around our usual family banter, each one of us reluctant to bring up the subject of the final goodbye that was getting closer as the kilometres passed beneath the wheels of the car.
Goodbyes are hard at the best of times, but this was a goodbye that was unique. Usually it is the child that leaves the parents to go off and forge their own path and destiny, but this time it was us, the parents, leaving our son in his native country to go off on our new path. It felt so wrong, but at the same time we knew that Luke had the life skills and confidence to walk his own path and be master of his own destiny.
At 6.30pm on Monday 18 December 2017, ours and our sons paths diverged. It was one of the most emotionally heart wrenching moments of my life. A week later, as I write this, I have tears rolling down my cheeks, not because I am afraid or worried for him, it is simply because I love my son so deeply, that it hurts my heart to be such a long way away from him.
So there we stood, Aannsha and I, watching our son drive off into the sunset. As the car disappeared down the ramp, we turned to look at each other, there were tears in both our eyes and spilling down our cheeks. Words were useless at this point, so we simply nodded knowingly as soul mates do and started walking towards the doors of Brisbane airport international departure terminal.
To watch the video that accompanies this blog click here.
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