Trailing Spouse Stories – The First Voyage

As I am officially a trailing spouse, after packing up and moving 4 thousand miles with the German to America, I thought I would get involved with this great blog crawl with D for Delicious and Tala. They’ve basically come up with a series of clever prompts for trailing spouses like me to write about every month, to share my story of life as a wife who has followed her man.

Trailing Spouse Nov

I left the UK to start my American journey at the end of January, 2013, just 2 days after a very tearful goodbye party with my family and friends. Ma and Pa Cook drove us to the airport, with Ma Cook crying at every opportunity she got. I wasn’t much further behind her though.

I’d already waved goodbye to all our possessions that were being shipped stateside a couple of weeks before when I watched the lovely removal men pack it all into boxes whilst I sat with my feet up and made them the odd cup of tea. It was the easiest, and strangest move ever! I felt so wrong watching them do all my packing! Still, it made life a lot easier for me. They packed our furniture, kitchenware, books, pictures, ornaments and anything else that we didn’t really need as soon as we arrived. I didn’t realize it would take another 3 months until I saw it again though. That’s a whole different story!

We rocked up to the check-in desk with 3 suitcases each, 2 mini-suitcases, a rucksack and a handbag. It was obvious we weren’t just nipping across the pond for a two week holiday, especially with Ma Cook sniffling behind us. I was pretty worried we’d be overweight, we were moving countries after all but thankfully, they were all successfully checked-in, I think we even had room to spare! I’d love to say those suitcases were packed with exciting things, but, sadly they weren’t! We’re just talking clothes, shoes, some paperwork, socks and pants. Like I said, the essentials! We watched them travel down the conveyer belt, next stop Atlanta.

The more important stuff was in my hand luggage. I had my laptop, visa paperwork and the jewelry my gran had left me in her will. I had cards and presents given to us at our leaving party, all ready to be displayed in our new apartment, a great way to remind me of all the special people who were supporting our move abroad. Of course there was a travel pillow in there, I was about to go on a 9 hour flight where I was hoping I would get some shut eye! The usual phone chargers and my kindle were also stored inside.

Before we headed up the escalator to departures, Ma and Pa Cook handed me a present, not to be opened until we made it to the gate. That, was of course, popped into my handbag until we made it through security. We said some very tearful goodbyes, walked up the escalator and made our way through security. I opened the present as soon as we were through, it was a charm for my Pandora bracelet, obviously the tears started falling again. I placed it safely in my suitcase before boarding the plane.

Had I have known the stuff we’d had shipped would have taken so long I may have packed differently, maybe taking some photos of friends and family with me and packing some little things that reminded me of home. Hindsight is a beautiful thing, something you can definitely learn from. Next time, I’ll know what to expect and maybe pack a little differently.

Are you a trailing spouse? What advice do you have for somebody about to make that big leap and move to a new country?


7 thoughts on “Trailing Spouse Stories – The First Voyage

  1. Oh how well I remember this :))) we survived container moves three times, until the last time I had enough and we decided to travel with suitcases only – it’s impossible to pack your ‘essentials’ a and still leave without them for several months. Those are not essentials then, are they? 😉

  2. Hi Rachel, enjoyed reading your post! We were lucky enough to have an air and sea shipment so some of our stuff arrived 2 weeks later and just last week our sea shipment arrived and we moved into our house. Feels amazing being back in our own bed and drinking coffee from my fave mug 🙂 #itsthesmallthings xx

    • I’m not sure I could fit everything into two suitcases – that’s impressive work. Did you take bits and bobs back when you come over to visit? I’m sure you’ve amassed a truck load of new stuff now though and two suitcases definitely wouldn’t be enough! We’ve definitely more than doubled our original shipment! xx

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