Getting to this point was hard work. Stephen King said in “11/22/63” that the past is obdurate and fights change. The same can be said about going home free. There are many obstacles that are thrown in the way of going without a home.
One of the first considerations revolves around the mail. It would have been easy to change our address to our daughter’s home or to another family member as we have many. It was important to us that we not create a burden on anyone else because we chose to chase this adventure . So we sought other solutions.
The USPS is only good for 30 days so that was not an option. St. Brendan is the patron saint of Mariners and there is a company located in Green Cove Springs, Florida that is a registered mail forwarding company named appropriately “St Brendan’s Isle” which we selected.
Not only do they collect your mail but they scan the front of each envelope and put it on their web site and with your passcode you can look at each letter and chose to save, shred, to send it to the temporary address of your moment. If there is a letter of concern, they will at your direction scan the contents for you to read on line the next day. They also assist you with establishing Florida residency, registering to vote and getting plates for your auto.
While SBI is a dream to work with many others are not. Our bank could not accept the virtual address provided by SBI as a permanent residence. They were fine with using it as a mailing address so we did have to provide the address of a relative to them. They were wonderful in working with us. All mail will be sent to SBI so we were happy. As the process moved along we found more of these little things that popped up from time to time.
An advantage of being home free are all the monthly bills you do not get. Comcast was one of them but our email@example.com email address was important to keep but we did not want the monthly invoice. Comcast does allow you to attach that email to another customer who agrees with no charges to either party but getting it done was like getting Congress to work together .
We spent almost three days just changing over addresses on credit cards, cell phone services and financial institutions. Prescription drug services produced it own series of obstacles.
To make a very long story acceptably short, let’s just say that packing up the stuff we were keeping was easy compared to the ordeal of address change when you are not REALLY going to have an address.
The preparations to go home free have really been going on for several years. We have always loved travel and since we retired close to five years ago we have probably not been home 50% of the time which made our beautiful home a rather expensive storage locker. We had talked about this for some time but about 3 years ago a dear friend sent us an article written by Lynne Martin who had already done our dream. We read her blog and studied her book while we planned our version of their adventure.
Our first thoughts were that we would keep very few material things. We started selling and giving away “stuff” that filled our home. Hundreds of books to the library. Hundreds of articles of clothing to the mission. Several sets of place setting and silverware to friends and charity. This was a several year process.
Last year we began to prepare our home for sale. Karen who is a retired Real Estate agent wanted everything perfect when our home went on the market. Things that we had lived with their imperfections such as a refrigerator which occasionally froze the vegetables got replaced with Karen’s dream French door model which we got to enjoy for more than a year.
While we sold the 1964 1/2 Mustang Convertible; somethings were impossible for us to release. Paintings, photos of family and friends, favorite chairs and our collection of individual wine glasses from all over the world had to have a place to stay till we could reunite.
We decided to lease a 10 by 10 storage locker in Gettysburg as we had already decided to return to Gettysburg each year for doctor and dentists as well as the wonderful friends we made over the last 23 years.
While that solved the problem of those few things so dear to us it created a scenario similar to the old story of the Arab who let his camel put just his nose in the tent to keep it warm; once we had leased space, other things became more precious. Nature abhors a vacuum! Among the things around the house needing repair was the wooden shed around the swimming pool filter and pumping system. After enlisting a friend to help him replace the rotted wood with recycled plastic decking material, Eric remembered how much he love woodworking so the tools that we’re going to eBay now went to the storage locker. Karen’s baby grand also made the cut. We ended up with over 9000 lbs of stuff going to the moving and storage firm in addition to the storage locker.
The offer on the house came much faster that we had thought. We quickly went into high gear arranging movers to move to storage the much larger quantify of furniture that we now found we could not part. We needed a place to stay not only for the few days we needed for final cleaning of the house prior to closing, but also a place to sort out remaining clothing and pack our bags for 10 months of travel already planned.
That place was Willow Lodge, a vacation rental by owner near Gettysburg .