16 Days 'Til Takeoff


I am beyond disbelief how fast days go by! One day, I was being tearfully sent off by my colleagues on my last day at work, the next day, I’m moving out of my city apartment where I’ve lived for the past five years. Do I really have only less than a month—heck, less than 20 days—left before I leave the Philippines to start my working holiday journey in New Zealand?!  

These last few days have been sort of a push-and-pull dilemma. On one hand, I am ecstatic to uproot myself and finally realize one of my lifelong dreams, which is to live abroad. On the other, I feel like my hometown is pulling me back to stay, rest for a while, and enjoy funemployment with my family. But then, I thought, if I were to take this risk, I should go ahead and get it done at once—no more prolonging the agony and fear of what might and might not be. So here we are, 16 days ‘til takeoff!


Since I quit my job last month to prepare for my “The Great Perhaps” trip (a.k.a. Girl Chasing Sunshine travelling and living in New Zealand for a year), I’ve had enough time for myself and for people who matter. 

One good thing that sprung about the news of me leaving is that I get to reconnect with old friends and spend time with loved ones. Over the past 30 days, in between errands, I’ve been bonding with my siblings and meeting up with friends who wanted to see me before I leave. I am overwhelmed and beyond grateful for the love and care that they have shown me—most especially for how happy they are for me to take this giant leap of faith. Thank you, family and friends! 
By mid-July, I’ve finally moved out of my place and came home to our family’s house in the province. 




But my errands keep on haunting me! Sometimes, I tend to procrastinate and because of that, I am about to be suck into a whirlpool of to-do’s and what-not’s! Glancing at the calendar along with my to-do list is making me run like a headless chicken. While I still have a billion things to do and take care of, fortunately, I’ve ticked off major items on my list already. 

To help make my preparations easy and keep me on track, I’ve created a weekly checklist. If you’re about to take a similar long-term trip, I hope this will be useful for you. Note though that this is my personal checklist and the items here may or may not apply to your own circumstances. 

24 Weeks 
  • Secure working holiday visa slot (DONE) – My pathway to New Zealand requires a working holiday visa which can be easily compared to our own version of the movie Hunger Games or The Purge. Getting a slot is extremely difficult as there are only 100 slots allotted to the Philippines every year. I’ll be writing a detailed application guide soon so stay tuned! 
  • Submit documents to secure visa approval (DONE

20 Weeks 
  • Break the news to family and a few close friends (DONE)

12 Weeks 
  • Give official notice of resignation (DONE) – Personally, as early as 18 weeks prior to my departure, I’ve already notified my boss so they can start sourcing for my replacement. I handed the actual resignation letter 12 weeks prior to my trip
  • Render last 30 days at work (DONE) – there were a lot of turn over processes and documents involved that detailing each would require an entirely separate blog post. Thankfully, I managed to finish everything before my last day at work 
  • Book plane tickets (DONE) – Plane fares going to New Zealand from the Philippines are crazy expensive! I’ve been lurking in Skyscanner for a while until I found a reasonable fare via Thai Airways which I booked right away! 
  • Buy external hard drive (DONE
  • Set a budget and a fallback plan (DONE

11 Weeks 
  • Revamp blog layout (DONE
  • Read up and research on New Zealand (DONE
  • Create a list of places to go and things to do in New Zealand (DONE
  • Start meeting up with friends and say my goodbye’s (ALMOST DONE, with a few meet-ups left days before I leave) 

10 Weeks 
  • Set up bank account in New Zealand (DONE
  • Write blog post about "The Great Perhaps" trip (DONE
  • Learn how to drive (DONE
  • Start notifying banks of change in phone number and address, cutting off unnecessary accounts and cards (DONE

9 Weeks 
  • Organize online sale of clothes (DONE)
  • Book temporary accommodation upon arrival (DONE) – I’ve booked a lovely one-bedroom apartment at the city centre for my first week in Auckland 
  • Medical check-up (DONE
  • Secure medicine prescription and organize medical kit (DONE

8 - 6 Weeks 
  • Create packing list (SEMI DONE) – I’m still reviewing and revising at the moment
  • Start packing and move stuff from Manila to Zambales (DONE
  • Teeth cleaning (DONE
  • Eyebrow microblading (DONE
  • Search for possible flats / apartment (ONGOING
  • Transfer money to New Zealand bank account (DONE

4 Weeks - 1 Week 

I’m lumping all the items that I still need to accomplish under this category. 

  • Secure non-professional driving license and NBI clearance
  • Double check documents that I need to bring to New Zealand 
  • Get New Zealand dollars
  • Purchase travel insurance good for one year 
  • Buy luggage and backpack
  • Buy thermal and winter clothes 
  • Facial, waxing, massage, manicure and pedicure 
  • Eyebrow microblading touch-up
  • Hair treatment and hair cut  
  • Schedule viewing of flats upon first week of arrival
  • Shop for clothes, toiletries, make-up, and items on packing list not yet purchased 
  • Get additional camera memory, battery, and tripod 
  • Create a New Zealand-style CV and cover letter 
  • Start looking for jobs and prepare for interviews 
  • Organize files on laptop and hard drive 
  • Pack – Note to self: make sure it’s within the 30 kgs limit or else, buy additional baggage 
  • Last-minute goodbyes 

Whew, what a list! Did I forget anything? Please let me know by commenting below! 

Here’s to hoping I’ll complete everything before I get on that plane to Auckland on August 8! Please pray for me! 


Follow my adventure on InstagramTwitter, and Facebook by searching for the hashtag #GirlChasingSunshine. Thank you for dropping by! :)

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