Well, it’s official. We are ON THE ROAD! But, not without a lot of tears being shed! The last couple of weeks have been hard. Incredibly hard. Far harder than we had ever imagined. Even though we have left our lives before for long term travel, we had no concept how incredibly difficult it is to truly divest yourself of everything! Two weeks of nonstop donations and Craiglist nonesense, coupled with the goodbyes to beloved friends and family had us driving away in a trail of tears.
I know it seems like it should be easy to just get rid of stuff. Well, let me tell you, it isn’t. I am not materialistic or particularly sentimental about “stuff”. And yet this was hard. So very hard. Not for the emotional letting go, but the literal and physical act of making all that shit just go away already!
After I ended employment, I had 9 days home with Jim still at work. I figured I’d get everything taken care of. Not so. Yes, I did, in fact, get a huge amount accomplished, not least of which simply finding the RIGHT charities to donate so many items to! I worked my ass off on craigslist, I took endless boxes to Community Warehouse and Goodwill and ReStore. I cleaned, I went to the dump, I got rid of so much stuff! And yet every time I turned around it seemed there was more there, as though the stuff remaining had reproduced overnight.
On top of the removal of goods, there were the times with friends, the FINAL time with friends for at least a few months. Dinners out with Ken and Wendy. A final Game of Thrones marathon with Dave and Anne. A final birthday dinner with Ron and Dario. Beers with Dana. All wonderful and heartbreaking in their own ways. We will miss these people, whom we spend so much of our free time with, and a lot of tears were the result. But also plans to meet up soon. Whether it be Baja in March with Ken and Wendy, Arizona in April with Dave and Anne, or a reunion tour of Puerto Vallarta next summer with Ron and Dario. These people will never be gone from our lives.
We feel good about where most of our unsold items went. Many, our most cherished things, are with the friends, for we know they will be loved and used and enjoyed by the people we care the most about. For the others, although I’ll specify more in a future post, we feel good knowing our things are going to help those in need.
The final two days at the rental were fraught with stress and tears and a couple of meltdowns by all parties. The dogs, very cognizant of our emotions and unsure why there was nothing left in the house, were more velcro than normal and feeling the stress. By Monday afternoon I was completely overdone, unsure how after so much work, there could still be two more loads to go to their respective stops. Jim, having a tougher emotional time leaving family, was on edge.
It was a rainy Tuesday afternoon when we finally pulled away, devoid of everything except what fit in the truck and camper, and with far too much of that. Much more downsizing is soon to come but at one point we just had to say “enough” throw the shit in for now and we’ll sort it out down the road.
Christmas week was a mixed bag. With Jim’s dad sick (a cold I sadly caught myself), rainy weather and high emotions, we soldiered on, enjoying making dinners, seeing a movie, spending time with family, and watching our niece and nephew open presents. We were lucky enough to spend some extra time with my brother and his wife before heading away from them for the final time, at least in the near future.
Now, three days into our road trip, we have already found our road legs. The dogs have relaxed, relishing a life that involves near constant contact with us, along with the most super plush back seat set-up, complete with orthopedic pad, fluffy blanket and body pillow! We have already reached the point of that curious phenomenon portrayed in “A Map for Saturday“, where each day feels like a Saturday on the road because you didn’t go to work today, and you don’t have to tomorrow either.
“DON’T ASK WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS. ASK WHAT MAKES YOU COME ALIVE AND GO AND DO THAT. BECAUSE WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS IS PEOPLE WHO HAVE COME ALIVE.”
This will end, of course, as we get our initial vacation over with and start searching for work to sustain this life we love. But for now, we are sleeping better. Eating less. Walking more. Basically, finding US amongst all the noise of modern life. In three short days, our life has changed more than it has in the past several years. We, once again, are rediscovering that which lights our fire. World ~ here we come!