It was back in March when I had last posted our plans. Sell the house, move stuff to storage, buy plane tickets. It looked so easy. Actually it hasn't been too bad. Things took a little longer than I had expected (more than 5 days!) but with the gods on our side, we should close on our house June 13th. Shortly after, we are leaving for Colorado for 10 days, and will be back in Portland June 26th, only to hang out for a month, before leaving on August 4th to Montana and then on to the big adventure. That said, we are questioning whether it is really possible to rent a place for one month. With a combination of Craigslist, Extended Stay hotels and help from our friends, we hope to cobble together some lodging for the month of July with some housesitting gigs, camping spots and whatever else we can come up with, so that we don't have to tap our vital nest egg too heavily before we've even left the US!*
We are staying around for a couple reasons. One, is that in order to visit Andy's family before we leave, the soonest date that his brother and sister-in-law could get to Montana was early August, so that set one date for us. Another reason is that Dylan is a huge fan of the Grace Art Camps
put on by the Grace Episcopal Church which doesn't happen until mid-July--this year its theme is India--so we've made it a priority for her to attend that camp as well as a few others. Besides, since the house is selling kind of "late" in the game, and we jet off to Colorado so quickly after it sells, we need the month of July to make firm travel plans, and get those last minute appointments done before we leave, hair, dentist, doctor, immunization clinic, etc.
What is always fascinating to me when hearing about people who get rid of it all, is finding out what they really are keeping a hold of. I have an odd interest in people's stuff. In fact one of my all-time favorite book is Material World
, by Peter Menzel
. In it, he photographs people from around the world in front of their homes with all of their stuff. Amazingly the Americans in the book do not have the most crap. Their furniture seems larger than most, because they have the square footage in their home to accommodate a queen sized waterbed with it's bookshelf headboard, but for pure ostentatiousness, the Kuwaitis win that award with their 40 foot couch and their 3 Mercedes. The Indian family in the book, has 2 rope beds, a broken bicycle and about the amount of stuff to fill the back of a Dodge Dart, with room for their three kids to spare.
And where do the Werking Wells family fit in? Well right now we have a 10x10 foot storage space that is almost halfway full. After doing inventory of EVERYTHING we own, we are looking at 75 boxes (rubbermaid roughneck sized 20 odd gallon containers and small and cube boxes from U-haul) 7 bookshelves, 3 dressers, an armoire, chair & ottoman, 2 mattresses, small table and 3 chairs, & kids desk. We haven't packed the stuff we really need to use up to the last minute, (computer, towels, bedding, dishes,) but it shouldn't be too much more. While we far surpass owning what most people in the world own, if we can fit it in our storage unit, we are probably carting around less than most Americans. Perhaps we're in the lower 50%? We've sold a lot of our stuff as well, which is why we are down to so few pieces of furniture. We have become avowed fans of Craigslist
as the best medium for getting rid of stuff!
So, even though we have not yet set foot on a plane, this trip has already taken us to many places. Some comfortable, (buying Lonely Planet books is fun!) some stressful(the selling of the house has manifested in a number of sleepless nights and welts for Loey) some sad,(the idea of leaving friends, & a city we know so well) and some just weird (the idea of being homeless is kind of unsettling) but we keep the end goal in sight and try to make it pleasant for those around us. (A special thanks to Ronda
who has been our real estate agent. In this case friends and business have mixed very well!) When we check in next, we hope to be a little further down the road!
*One of the best scenes from a movie in the past 20+ years has to be the one in Lost in America
where Albert Brooks finds out that his wife, played by Julie Hagerty, has just gambled away their nest egg in a wild night at the casinos in Vegas. They had sold everything they owned, quit the high stress job and bought a Winnebago to see the country. Sound familiar? Because they are now broke,
they settle in a small town where he gets a job as a crossing guard and she starts work at a Der Weinerschnitzel!