Breathe. The swarm of thoughts and details that buzz through my head include an important one which I keep pulling back to the surface. Breathe. I look through my countdown list several times a day, and try to keep myself working on something, anything, rather than stare at it in blind panic. As things have been crossed off the list, more have been added. Quickly at first, and gradually slowing, now a balance of time and details remaining seems to have arrived.
Once we are on the airplane, we will need to let go of those things we can’t accomplish, and focus on what is ahead. The path to this point has been a climb. It all started with a decision to act “as if.” As if we were leaving to travel around the world in early 2010. In acting “as if” we made lists and worked toward our goal. Next week’s posts will be about where we are, as our adventure will have started. This week, I am taking a quick moment to breathe and look back.
There is the house we are leaving behind, including all of the things you might need to do when moving: notify utilities, find renters, take carloads of downsizing to Goodwill, and pack remaining belongings away. Fortunately for us, the people living here will not pay us rent but, rather care for our critters, and we are leaving most of our remaining furniture and stuff in place. We do have to take care of a couple of repairs and schedule a housekeeper to clean in our wake.
For our girls there is the education aspect, which I have written more about here in the blog and on Location Independent Parents. Both Hannah and Marlie wanted pizza with their friends on their last day of public school, and their last days held surprisingly few tears. Also, I didn’t realize the registration for Hannah’s Compuhigh was via snail mail, so it has not been completed yet. A little odd that an online school wouldn’t have online registration. Now what remains is the doing, falling into a routine that will work while we wander.
I had hoped to sell my car before leaving, but somehow the payoff amount I got from Ford was not correct. They must have deducted the upcoming scheduled automatic payment from it, because when I canceled and sent them the larger amount, it was short by one payment. Unfortunately, I didn’t figure this out until yesterday. Now my logistics include getting the car sold after we are out of the country. It’s detailed and ready to go, though. Somehow, having been used as a mobile tack room and kennel filled with saddles and dogs, it has not looked this nice in years.
Packing lists are an obvious concern. I swear with all the electronic paraphernalia we’ll have to carry there will be no room for clothes. To set up a mobile office and school for four people is huge. I am glad to have found the Igo chargers a long time ago, with tips for all sorts of things that need recharging. Fortunately, I think we can do without the mobile printer and scanner. Still, the cords and adapters alone have a bag of their own. Thankfully, there are abundant lists on the blogs of those who have done this before me, and I have added many of their suggestions to mine.
The packing lists then transform themselves into shopping lists. Of course with new equipment and shoes need to be tested and tried. Much better to trouble shoot where we still speak the language like a native and have easy access to Best Buy and TJ Max.
The details of our communications logistics needed attention. We settled on Earth Class Mail, a service that will scan and upload our mail, so we can get it from their website. They’ll also make deposits into our bank account, so payments from clients can find me. Skype accounts are set up for each of us; Marlie has already had fits of giggles video chatting with friends.
Naturally, our health insurance will not cover us for this extended period overseas. I’ve been working with April Medibroker to find the right balance of coverage and cost. Unfortunately, the HIPPA compliant expatriate plan they found for us also had a sticker price that almost gave us heart failure. I guess we’ll just have to go through the waiting periods again when we arrive back home and switch back to a US plan.
John is still working, and will be fairly tied up until a day or two before we leave. While it has been good to have the income, he struggles to keep his nerves from getting the better of him when he thinks about what he has yet to tie up. I have been looking for projects, and have been lining up clients and work to take with me. I wish I had more, but am hopeful. Not working full time as we head toward this adventure has been a blessing, and fortunately a couple of clients are not on a time crunch.
The girl’s passports would have expired while we were underway next year January, so we avoided a visit to an American consulate by renewing them now, and also got extra photos for all of us for visas. Those of you who have followed for a while know about my life lesson in passports. John and I picked up our international drivers licenses the other day. Those always seem hokey to me, but I guess we need them. Weird to me that AAA would be recognized by foreign countries as an authority where the State of Oregon would not. But, I don’t have time to argue that one.
This is all without starting the travel planning. Hotel reservations, researching cities, finding vacation rentals. Train routes and schedules, tourist visa requirements and where to apply for them while we are underway. Our first month is planned, beyond that we cannot see through the lists in front of us. As they shrink and disappear, I breathe easier.