It's been a whirlwind day for 23-year-olds Caleb Nicol and Conor Hayes, both from Wanaka, as they race border closures to get home from Peru.
However, they are not homebound yet – but instead destined for London on "a stroke of luck".
After struggling to find a flight home for the past two weeks, they were rushed awake this morning in their hostel in the Peruvian capital Lima and told they could board a British repatriation flight with 20 seats spare.
Nicol spoke to the Herald while the pair waited at a military airbase in Lima to board the flight, which departed just before 5.30pm local time.
They have been travelling together over the past three months through South America and were due to fly home on March 19, but on March 16 were given 10 hours' warning the country was going into lockdown and borders closing.
Nicol and Hayes had not been able to get on a flight since.
The lockdown was due to end on April 1, but had been extended until April 16.
The pair were originally part of two dozen Kiwis who had paid over NZ$5500 each for seats on a charter flight home via Australia, but were told two days before it left they could not board as there were no connecting flights to New Zealand the same day.
But yesterday morning, hours before the charter flight would leave without them, they received an apology email stating there had been a mix-up - but they would not be put back on the flight.
Nicol said that flight was meant to be their "golden ticket out of Peru".
He said it was beginning to look like they would be stuck in the South American country.
"We were not stuck here from lack of trying - we were stuck here from flight paths being closed and flights being cancelled."
Nicol said the day had been such a rush he did not know how to feel about being able to leave Peru, other than Nicol said they "caught a massive stroke of luck" being able to board the repatriation flight.
He and Hayes also did not know what would happen once they arrived in London.
"We have no idea. We honestly have no clue.
"If there are flights, we're going to try and get back to New Zealand as quick as we can."
Nicol said he "luckily" had family in the UK as a back-up option.
Despite the stress and a lingering unknown series of events ahead, the almost round-the-world trip to get home could possibly cost less than the Australian charter flight, Nicol said.
"We think it's going to end up working out to be about half the price."
He said the repatriation flight would cost them £250 each, and then flights from London to New Zealand were currently costing about $2000 to $2500.