And the Adventure Begins~

Well, sort of. As I wrote out earlier in the year, for us 2015 represents transformationAlthough several types of transformation were included in that post, one that was particularly linked to the success of some others, was the sale of our house. We could transform our bodies while still living there, but for our REAL transformation to begin, that of going from cubicle 9-5 to digital nomads, required the sale of those physical things that tied us to this place. The biggest, of course, being a home.


We had planned to put the house on the market in April, but as happens, April came and went. We moved into serious mode in mid May, shooting for the end of June to hit the market. Ironically enough, around that time, a dear friend mentioned that his sister just might have asked to come out and view the house. We thought sure, why not? Truly, things don’t normally just happen quite that easily and we didn’t really think much would come of it. We continued working on updating bathrooms, painting trim, fixing up flower beds, all while fretting about what a total pain in the arse it would be to keep the house spotless for showings, what to do with the dogs during such showings, how long would it last on the market?

I guess fate and the universe had other plans since absolutely none of those concerns have come to fruition. The  Alchemist, one of my very favorite books, often refers to the premise that “when you truly want something, all of the universe conspires to help you achieve it”. Now, obviously, easy enough to say in some situations. I could want all day long to look like Cindy Crawford, and yet, that is simply not going to happen. I do, however, subscribe to the believe that when your heart and soul are fully connected and moving forward towards what you want, opening yourself up to opportunities that might arise in the process, that the Universe transpires to help you create a remarkable life.


And so, it goes. And yet, fate would intervene again causing the decision to not hit the road right away. Oh, it is so tempting to simply move into our tiny house on wheels and head for points South. The reality is that it’s damn hot in Baja in August. Yes, it will be hot in Baja whenever we head down, but to save ourselves and, especially the black dogs, some panting we are waiting until cooler temperatures are in the forecast.

In addition, Jim’s dad took a spill and broke a bone in his back. All travelers understand that to follow our dreams, it means we leave things behind… the most important of which is the people; the family and friends we love. Our fall will involve helping them move into a smaller home, closer to his siblings in Portland. Or, at the very least, spend a few months helping get their home fixed up for the market and reducing, reducing, reducing the stuff, to make the future transition easier.

And so our days consist of continuing the grind of commute, work, commute, now coupled with the the lists, the never ending lists of what to keep, what to sell, what we need for our trip, to remember to check our travel vaccine card to see if we really need to re-do yellow fever shots. All of those endless things we’ve put off for 6 weeks during the sale process.

This time is different. When we sold our previous house, in 2007, Jim happened to be laid off from work the very day the house sold.  While stressful, this facilitated SO much towards our departure. That time around we kept a large storage unit full of our life, we kept two cars, a boat, a horse, a goat, all requiring money to be looked after properly. We needed to pack in three sections; that to go to our temporary apartment, that which went into deep storage, and that which we carried on our back around the world. Jim found a safe place to board our pets, rented us a storage unit and an apartment, and mostly packed us up.

2015 finds us in a different place. Determined to truly divest ourselves of the things that require thought once gone, nearly everything goes. With both of us working, it has become a team effort to have everything done with the house, while selling and divesting ourselves of most of our physical possessions. It’s incredibly freeing, and at the same time, absolutely exhausting. Because we will still be here for a few months, we still need to determine what we’ll need for our rental. But this time, no storage unit exists. With no more livestock and the black dogs coming along for the ride, there is no need for a boarding stable. Our only vehicle will be our Tundra topped with our tiny house on wheels. Our only other worldly possessions a few plastic storage bins stored with family.


It would appear that it should be SO much easier to simply rid yourself of possessions, rather than pack it all away. And in some ways it is. We’ve already found great success on Craigslist, and other than the wearing process of dealing with idiots in the process (really? you want to dicker on the price of a $25 refrigerator AND you want me to deliver it. Really?), we’ve been seeing items leaving each week. Most of our furniture sold with the house, further freeing up both our rental and our moving van.

And yet, even though we’ve done this before. Even though we know what we need to get rid of, it’s interesting how often we question the process. Personally, I have no problem selling or giving away pretty much everything we own, but I am completely overwhelmed by the sheer AMOUNT of stuff. Why, I wonder, did two people ever need plates for 30. Yes, we do like to throw dinner parties.. but for 8, not 30! We have two entire cabinets full of glasses; plastic glasses, beer mugs, wine glasses, oh wait more wine glasses, water bottles, more plastic glasses, juice glasses and that doesn’t even take into account my beloved shelves of Mexican glassware. Funny, isn’t it, that I’ll soon be in the land of $1 cobalt rimmed glassware, and yet I am having the hardest time considering selling those I already own.

Divesting yourself of the majority of your earthly possessions brings fully into display just how little we truly need. We went to a talk last year by Joshua and Ryan, AKA The Minimalists. Their favorite game to simplify your life is to pack up your house, your ENTIRE house, as though you were moving. And only unpack what you are truly going to use. The first night, perhaps, you need your toothbrush and toothpaste, some moisturizer, pillows, sheets. The next morning you might need a water glass and plate. And so it goes, for 1 month only truly unpacking what you use. Participants in this extreme game soon find that they never use or need over 80% of what they own. 80%. What does that say about a society of such overabundance that many don’t even realize exactly what they own? Or use what they have.DSCN0972_622

Our own version of the minimalist game will commence in two parts. Part one is already well underway. Part two will come soon enough, when we pack up our few plastic bins to store with family, and have one, final sale to divest ourselves of the balance of our material possessions.

We leave this trip much different than last time. Having done it, we are fully cognizant of what we will miss, and know what we will gain in the process. We will be driving ourselves. We will be traveling with dogs. We will be working from the road. We will be heading South.


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20 thoughts on “And the Adventure Begins~

  1. So excited for you guys! I know it’s been stretched out a bit longer than you wanted, but it sounds like things are falling into place at last.

    I really like the “unpack as you need it” approach. We kept what we could fit in our car, more or less, when we left Portland and left most of it at my folks’ house while we were overseas. When we got back I found myself saying “oh wow, I kept THAT?” Most of THAT is in the basement of our housesitting gig and I haven’t even looked at it since March… Think it’s time for another purge. 🙂

    • you are so right Jen! We’re already questioning more than half of the stuff (which is quite honestly limited compared to any normal household) we moved to the rental house. Even not being a materialistic person, I find the desire to hang on to some things. But, we have a couple of months to divest ourselves of the rest! Thank you craigslist 🙂 I think everyone is like you, I remember when Brian & Kim (So-many-places) first came back to the states and Brian did a blog on why he kept an odd assortment of items. Good luck purging.. to you and US!

  2. The stage you are in is TOUGH and I do not hope to ever go through that again! But it is oh, so, worth it!!! Loved reading this and I am so excited for your journey xxx

    • Well Sarah, yes it is, especially when family concerns pile on top. But, we’re in the rental, material possessions already more than cut in half and continuing in that direction. We, and the black dogs, are settling into a routine of sorts that will work out for now, and YES, all so worth it! Just watch out, we may be seeing you soon! XOXO

    • We’re going to do what most digital nomads do! Some web design, some freelance writing, some selling of photos, maybe even work at hotels during the season, etc. Really, whatever it takes to make it work long term.

  3. I was absolutely enthralled whilst reading this. I am in the same position with selling my home. Although I had thought it would be all riddled up and ready for the market in June here we are in August and it may be ready in a week. I have also been selling things and shaking my head when people want to dicker with you on something that is worth 200 and I am selling for
    I guess for me this really amped up in Feb when I turned 60 and realized the universe willing how many years I would possibly have on earth.
    I have always wanted to live in Canada half the year and mexico the other half but it required selling off all my material things and letting go of a lifetime of moments.
    Well good news is although something’s have been difficult my house goes on the market next Tuesday and once sold my new path begins.
    Thank you for submitting your writing as it gave me some strength in reading about so many parallels that we have shared.
    Happy trials to you, I hope I get to read updates from you along your path..cheers

    • Thank you so much for stopping by Linda! GOOD LUCK selling your house and making your dream come true. It is a challenge during the process, but so worth it in the end. Half of the year in Canada and half in Mexico sounds lovely. Keep the faith moving forward. The road isn’t always smooth, but that is where the adventure lives.

  4. Oh I can so relate to this! We just moved our family to Cozumel less than a month ago. Before that we sold house and everything in it.
    The remodeling, the worrying over getting it sold, the never ending piles of stuff that we didn’t know we had-all of this! And don’t get me started on the idiots that you encounter when selling things online…I was tempted to write a blog post on that alone.
    It drags out and it seems endless, but it does eventually come to an end and then “the next big adventure” begins and it is so worth it. But you know all that already, don’t you?
    I hope you’ll take a look at our journey, and if you’re in the Riviera Maya area come see us! Buena Suerte!

    • Hi Amelia and thanks so much for reading. Good for you for moving to Cozumel. What a lovely island 🙂 It all does seem to be overwhelming sometimes, doesn’t it? But it sounds like you got through it, as are we, and it is absolutely worth it as you said. We will absolutely look you up when we’re going through the Yucatan and, in the meantime, I can’t wait to check out your site!

  5. While walking the Camino de Santiago and for about 10 days after, I wore the same pair of pants every. single. day. 47 days. Would I have liked to change my pants, absolutely, but did I need another pair of pants? No. It’s amazing how little we truly need to live in this world. After 38 years of marriage when we moved east from Oregon to Maryland last year, we did so in a 16′ moving truck. It’s such a liberating experience to free yourself from “stuff.” And now that we’re settling into a new nest, I am super cognizant of not wanting to accumulate “stuff” again. Keep it simple is my mantra. Congratulations on the sale of your house and being able to see the road ahead is closer each day. Are you headed to Baja? Where? We’ve been twice to El Cardonal near Los Barriles. Loved it! Looking forward to further updates and congratulations again, so exciting!

    • Thanks so much Patti and I remember your posts from the Camino! You are absolutely right in that we truly NEED so little, and tend to be inundated with so much… the lines can blur sometimes. I’m glad to hear you’re keeping your minimalistic approach as you settle in on the East coast. In the end, it’s never about the stuff, it’s about the people and the experiences that make a life. We are starting in Baja and will check out El Cardonal. Thanks for the tip and keep following along, it is only going to get more exciting!

  6. It sounds like you’re in for an exhausting few months but it will be so worth it. We had only a rental flat worth of stuff to sort through when we left the UK a few years ago but I remember how difficult, time-consuming and satisfying that was. Good luck with it all and when it gets tough focus on the incredible adventure that awaits!

    • Thanks Amy. We just had a long talk last night about mentally moving beyond the last few months and focusing on how really exciting this time frame is. I was feeling sort of “stuck” in the middle… our house and a lot of our stuff was gone, but we weren’t really gone yet. Jim reminded me that this period of prep SHOULD be about the excitement of it all and he’s absolutely right.

  7. I can’t get over that exercise that The Minimalists laid out. Packing up the house and just unpacking what you need. I mean, I totally get that you would probably leave 80% packed. BUT the idea of just packing up to do the exercise is totally overwhelming. And I don’t even have that much stuff (I think!). Good on you for the progress you’re making. I’m also an Alchemist fan, and love that quote. Cheers!

    • lol.. yes, Julie… if we weren’t really selling and moving, I don’t think I could bear the idea of packing up my entire house to do their extreme minimalist makeover either! And, I suspect few people really do it, but it is a good reminder to live consciously and focus on what you really need and what is really important instead of simply accumulating things for the sake of buying. Thanks and glad you also love the Alchemist. Now we just need to trust the universe.

  8. Yay! Congratulations on the next big step! This stage for us was a mixture of the worst and best part of the prep for us. We too were horrified at how much stuff we had accrued. We didn’t follow the minimalist’s blog, but actually ended up doing exactly as they suggest by packing up our house for earthquake repairs and slowly pulling boxes out of the garage as we needed them—it sure helped identify the excess!.

    The decluttering process is a journey in and of itself. Sometimes it was painful to make the decisions, sometimes it was hard to find ‘precious’ things a home that seemed worthy, but ultimately we walked away feeling lighter and happier—free from the burden of most of our stuff. That was the magical thing, it was worth the journey and is a lesson we still learn time and again with the smallest item that we no longer need but is taking up room in our truck!

    See you on the road 🙂

    • You are so right Emma! It is painful, and yet healing all at the same time. We are making lists, and then redoing them, questioning each purchase and asking ourselves not IF we’ll use an item, but how often we’ll use an item to determine it’s value. All perfect practice for life on the road. Can’t wait to meet up again!

  9. Congratulations on the sale of your house and the first steps towards your new life. Since you have done it before, I guess this time you are more aware of the pitfalls but also the rewards. I am so excited for you and will be following your journey.

    • Thanks Gilda. Yes, we are aware of what we leave behind, just as we understand the rewards, a perfect example of the fact that there is no one perfect path. Hope you enjoying following along.

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