Just short of three years after setting foot in our adopted country, today Jason and I left New Zealand behind. Damn, does it hurt.

We’re both sitting here in Brisbane shell shocked from the rush of getting out, the move, the farewells, the logistics of moving and planning our next adventure. It feels like a chunk of our hearts was torn out as we flew over the Manukau Heads and exited over the Tasman Sea toward Brisbane. It’s like nothing I’ve felt before. Thank God for Emirates’ amazing planes, in-flight entertainment, meals and alcoholic beverages. I’m not sure I’d have managed to stave off the waterworks as semi-successfully as I did had we been on a lesser airline with less effective distractions.

For anyone reading this blog who’s never been to NZ, be forewarned: If you spend 2-3 years there, it will find a way to own you. It’s that special of a place.

I get the feeling it will always own a part of Jason and I. We don’t know yet when or whether we’ll return, but judging from the feeling in our chests today as we shut the door to the Glasshouse one last time, watched the Sky Tower fade over the hill as we drove off to the airport, I know it’s a place that will forever feel like a home in our hearts.

As for now, we’re on to the next adventure. Tune in here as we continue our journey a few steps further west over the next 8 weeks, including our imminent reunion with Tahina in Redang Island in Malaysia, stops in Borneo, Sumatra, Java and Bali. It’s good to be back in backpacker mode.

If there’s anything in the world that can soothe our broken hearts, the big wide world is it.