Take Off!

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So, the big day arrived and we had a TON of final things to take care of in Carlsbad. Ilise was busy doing the final loads of laundry in an empty house as I made a final run or two to the new house. The POD was filled on Saturday and there were still a number of boxes, furniture and our bed that didn’t fit in the POD. So, we brought all of those pieces to the new house as well. Half of the garage is filled with our stuff, as well as most of the guest room that will be sealed while the construction goes on in the house.

Melbourne AirportWe were invited to brunch at the Quinn’s house. Kyle and Debbie were so kind and generous to have us over for a send off brunch. Noah and their son Brendan met in school this past semester. They recently moved to Carlsbad and Noah and Brendan have become best of friends in a very short time. When we return I am pretty certain that our families will become very close. We had a great time and I’m sure the boys will stay in touch even as Noah goes to a new school next semester.

After brunch and laundry we headed to the home of Tuez Wongolo. Tuez was introduced to us by Deb Plotkin. He is a Ugandan who has been extremely generous to Armstrong and treats Armstrong as a brother. They spend a lot of time together and they are like a second family to him. Tuez happens to be a mechanic and he has been taking care of our cars for a while, so he drove us to the airport in our van and he took it back to his house to take care of it for the next 5 months. We are so blessed to have so many kind and wonderful people in our lives.

To say that I love living in San Diego is an understatement. We moved here 4 ½ years ago, but it has always felt like home. We are heading out on this amazing journey for the next 5 months, but upon our return it’s time to dig some really deep roots in the community. There is so much opportunity to make a difference and I look forward to getting fully immersed in the social economy upon our return.

We arrived at Lindberg Airport around 4 PM for a 5:45 flight to LAX. We checked our bags and each of them was over weight by a pound or two. After taking a few items out we were at 50 lbs for all three bags. On the flight I sat next to a young man from Montreal name Jacamo, who is a trampoline arcrobat. We had a great conversation about purpose and meaning which was an amazing start to our trip. I believe I will be having that conversation often as I look to see if what I have been writing about will resonated in other cultures. It definitely resonated with Jacamo.

When we landed at LAX after a very short 35 minute flight and then we had a 2 hour layover for our 9 PM flight to Auckland. That is the flight we are on right now as I write this post. I have never flown anything other than coach my entire life, but Ilise requested that we make the extra investment to fly Business Class on this trip because we have a number of long flights and she has a hard time sleeping on planes. Well, this is an amazing treat and the difference is measurable. I’m not sure I will have a problem traveling in coach in the future, but this is pretty nice. The service was excellent, the seats turned into beds so we could sleep and the food was restaurant quality. I even had a glass of wine on the flight.

About 24 years ago I gave up alcohol, well I mostly gave up beer. It turns out that I’m allergic to wheat and yeast so giving up beer was a good thing. In the process I gave up all alcohol, which has felt good for many reasons. But, at this point in my life I believe it is time to start drinking some wine, especially red wine. I drink nice wines with clients and really enjoy it, so now it is time to do that with Ilise. I have heard that Australian wines are amazing and we will start there!

First Stop, Melbourne, Australia
First Stop, Melbourne, Australia

So, we land in Auckland in about an hour then have a 90 minute layover and off to Melbourne. We will be met by a driver hired by Kay Ledson, a fellow Rotarian who used to be a member of my club in Carlsbad. I was introduced to Kay about 3 weeks ago and she has been spectacular since. She is going to make this first stay something really special. It is time to enjoy every moment of this trip and this first flight was a great first step.

To a life well lived!

 

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