Now we Pack the Car

June 27, 2017

The hardest part of downsizing has not been choosing what to keep and what to get rid of; the most difficult aspect has been trying to figure out what we will need for the next three months on the road.

We’re avid hikers – without giving away too much, I can tell you that we have day hiking planned in at least 4 states in the first two months, plus two five-day hikes – so hiking clothes, raincoats and pants, tent, stove, water filter, sleeping pads and a new down blanket are all musts.

But, we’re not going to be hiking all the time and we have two weddings to attend, so casual clothes as well as some dressier clothes are also being stowed away.

Can’t travel without some tools: hammer, duct tape, flashlight, air compressor, extension cord, etc.

Our first attempt to pack the car with everything we hoped to take with us resulted in a drastic editing – out went all of the oatmeal and peanut butter and other storable foods that I had hoped to bring for our 12-day stay in a rented house. Into a box in the pod went extra pants, jackets, shirts that were “nice to have” instead of “need to have” articles. We still have all those things, but I think we now need to do laundry about once a week instead of every 10 days or so.

Of course, it doesn’t help that I’m a bit of a clothes horse and, while I dress for functionality while hiking in zip-off pants, synthetic t-shirts, wool socks and hiking boots while on the trail; I am not going to wear those clothes while exploring some quaint town or going out to dinner.

In addition, we have guides and maps for at least some of the cities and parks we’ll be exploring. We will be throwing these out after we use them, so the plan is for our car to get a little emptier as we travel – that is so long as I stick to my policy that “we’re not buying anything.”

We’ll see…IMG_2791

Packing the Pod

June 23, 2017

After 2 months of sorting, selling and giving away belongings that we don’t want, we have packed away everything we want to keep in a single 16x8x8 pod that will get stored for us.

It has been an interesting experience, assessing each of our possessions and asking “is it worth storing for 2 years?” (since we think we will be traveling for a year and then hope to build a house, our best guess is that we won’t see most of our stuff for that long).

We can access the pod at the storage site, so we will have to make stops back in the area if we desire fall or winter clothes, our skiing, tennis or golfing equipment. Otherwise, we don’t expect to open the boxes containing our books, dishes or knickknacks until we’ve finally created a home for ourselves.

Even harder than choosing what to keep has been the realization that the pod leaves the house a week before we do, so we have to keep things out that are going on the trip (naturally) but also things we need to survive for the next week – pillows, blankets, coffeepot, dishes – but are willing to give away at the very end because it will be too late to pack in the pod.

Weird because typically you get rid of things early that you know you don’t need to keep and we need to hold till the very end a few things that we won’t mind pitching.

This is without a doubt the strangest moving process.

Not in an RV?

For the past four months, my retired husband and I have been selling, donating and tossing most of our worldly possessions – downsizing our four-bedroom house into a 16×8 storage unit – so that we can hit the open road.

We will be spending the next two months traveling from our Northern Virginia home to Denver via a northern route. The genesis for the trip is my husband’s niece’s wedding in Denver in late August. We’d already begun the planning when my brother proposed to his girlfriend, so now his wedding at the beginning of the summer will serve as the East Coast bookend to our trip.

Virtually everyone we have told of our plan assumes that we will be traveling in an RV. You know, something cushy with indoor plumbing and a queen-size bed. We have no intention of taking the easy way out. Although we are retirees, we will be traveling in a small convertible, spending about half of our time overnight hiking (as in, carrying all of our bedding, food, stove, gear on our backs), the other half in various hotels.

So, come along with us as we play like the carefree kids that we don’t look like but sure feel like inside.