On November 11, 2017, it all came clear— the solution, that is.
Our otherwise ordinary lives had taken a turn for the worse and had continued a slow but steady descent into hell. Claudio, my husband, and I were extremely stressed, unsatisfied and at each other's throat quite often. After much conversation, we realized what was missing: joy! We decided to stop doing what everyone expects of us and start doing something we both truly enjoy. So, we have set out to travel this wonderful country in a car, staying in hotels and airbnb's, for at least the next 18 months. Since I love to write, Claudio loves photography, and we both love to share our adventures and experiences; we will journal our exploits in this blog.
And so it begins the adventure...and the mistakes
The next few months were a study in the difference between dreams and reality. Everything took longer than expected, but eventually, we were able to put the home that we had renovated with love, sweat and a bit of blood, on the market. Within 2 weeks we accepted an offer and set the closing date.
Mistake 1: We gave ourselves only 3 weeks to vacate. We quickly learned that packing and moving is completely different than trying to sell 95% of your possessions while keeping 5% of it in a manner that would make some items accessible for our travels. To top it all off, I can’t tell you how distressingly odd it feels to see strangers tromping around in your house, picking up your things, and then walking away with them. Favorite jackets. Carefully chosen mirrors. Even excess paper from our printer and a box of spare pens collected from various banks and meetings. It was all sold.
Mistake 2: We grossly underestimated the amount of time to move the unsold stuff to my parent’s basement (which would not have been a problem were it not for Mistake 1). I kept hearing George Carlin, “A house is just a pile of stuff with a cover on it. …Sometimes you gotta move, gotta get a bigger house. Why? No room for your stuff anymore.” [George Carlin] How the heck did we, thinking ourselves to be so anti-materialistic, get so much stuff??? We were so unprepared and so disorganized that we, literally, removed final bits and pieces, i.e. toilet brush, 15 minutes before the final walk-through.
Mistake 3: Moving back with our parents vs. staying in a hotel or friends. It was simply too comfortable in their home. Just like the good ol’ days, our meals were cooked, our laundry was done, our dry cleaning was picked up— and there was no mortgage! The whirlwind of excitement that had kept us motivated, slowed. We hardly even noticed the time passing until we realized that we were going to miss our intended departure date. OK. Let’s get this show on the road again. Conveniently, my birthday was only 4 days later. That became our new drop-dead departure date. The metaphor was not lost on us: I was going to be reborn into our new life! (trite, but true)
But before being born-again, we had to pack all of the belongings that we guessed we might need or really really want during the coming year. The only thing of which we were certain, is that we were not certain of anything. If hotel rooms were to be our new homes, we thought about the process of unpacking in each new “home”...and repacking and unpacking—and repacking—you get the idea. If we averaged 2 weeks in each location, that would be 100+ packings and unpackings in a year. Not going to happen. There had to be an easier way to do this. And there was. Portable drawers vs the traditional luggage route. We purchased 14 plastic, portable, stackable drawers. Each drawer is labeled (ie: S long sleeve, C long sleeve, S pants, C pants, Meds, Electronics, etc.). In this way, when we move into a new place we just stack the boxes and voila' ready-made-stack-of-drawers with no need to unpack.