Saying goodbye sucks. It’s really one of the hardest, most emotional things you can do. Before you depart, don’t just say goodbye to your loved ones. Make it your official mission to say goodbye to everything you love. Make a bucket list of all the things you do that you love doing. 4 weeks out, make sure you do everything on that bucketlist. Mine was something like this:
1. Go bush walking
2. Sit under a waterfall
3. Have a steak at the Breakfast Creek Hotel
4. Watch a bunch of Aussie sport
5. Go to the beach
6. Eat a juicy Bowen Mango
7. Go swimming multiple times
8. Play a round of golf
9. Go play the pokies at the Gaythorne RSL
10. Try to win a meat tray at a pub
11. Go to the favorite boutique beer bars
12. Go the outdoor markets
13. Eat a bucket of prawns
14. Go to the beach again.
There were a bunch of other things, of course, but the point is, life is going to change dramatically and it’s all of these things that you won’t be able to do in the United States that you’ll miss the most.
Once you’ve said the teary goodbyes to your friends and family, it’s time to go through customs. Flying Virgin, we were allowed two full size suitcases plus carry-ons. I ended up paying $200 in excess baggage so I could bring a bunch of musical equipment with me. It was worth it, but bloody heavy.
Duty free booze is still cheapest via duty free on the way in. Yes, it is cheap in the United States, but you’re almost guaranteed to buy it when you arrive at the airport, what with all the stresses at the other end.
There are three main ports of entry to fly into. These are Honolulu, Los Angeles and New York. Depending on who you fly with and whether you’re only flying in to validate your Green Card, will determine your port of entry. For the budget-conscious-I-just-want-to-validate-my-green-card-turn-around-and-fly-back-home-to-get-my-life-in-order person, Honolulu is the obvious choice. It’s closer, flights are cheaper and you can tell your boss that it’s just a holiday (if you’re not ready to quit just yet). Los Angeles (better known by LAX – though its security is anything but) is one of the world’s biggest airports and is a horrible place to fly into. I’ve done it a heap of times and wish that I could bypass it completely. Finally, New York’s JFK or La Guardia (LGA) airports are a direct port of entry on the east coast, but are only accessible via certain airlines – Korean Air fly there direct from Seoul.