Category Archives: On the Road

Old Friends and New Friendships

Facebook categorized this as a ‘Life-changing Event’. That is an understatement at best. But the best IS that this has totally changed our lives. One of my big fears was the possibility that I would feel as if I were on a trip rather than a lifestyle, and easily yearn for getting off the road. There is definitely a trade-off in such a condensed ‘soup can’ of a home (luxury by RV standards, as validated by the stares and inspections we attract on any campground arrival, yet sparse compared to our previous 4k sf space, filled with all the things we loved). Surprisingly, controlling how much water we use, constantly monitoring our simplest of systems, repeatedly cleaning, recycling trash by item, have provided a small but satisfactory contribution toward appreciating everyday living. As well as leaving us free to explore, enjoy the history and magnificence that is the pride of the land we call home. It is a lot to ask family and friends to keep us in their everyday lives when we aren’t often physically there. The advent of social media has helped bridge this extremely difficult ambition to be everywhere. Traveling around often as we have been still provides a routine to set up our home on arrival. Hook ups of utilities if available, 2 slides out, anything in the interior that isn’t safely bolted, velcro’d or otherwise tightly secured, gets rearranged. The small things that now

To Friendships,  old and new

To Friendships,
old and new

make up our humble home also include any opportunity to utilize the special pieces we were able to salvage from our purging carnage. Brian, putting out the hand-made ‘Castellano’ welcomes Sheila every time. We have only sparse wall space to hang anything, saving what we can for making our home more homey. Our coveted ‘Peggy originals’ found a perfect spot on our LR wall, thank you Peggy Dembicer, for sharing your repurposing talent with us!
Our exposure to America and its hidden agendas, gems and beauty is truly, to steal an overused metaphor, priceless! I have learned that although we hear and know about economic hard times, there is an enormous wealth evident everywhere we go, contrasted only by the extreme poverty. A shift in class separation? I hope not, we are on the cusp and could tip either way, dependent as we are on the government and stock market. Same rule on the road, no politics and no religion and we can all be friends.
The whole ‘leaving family and friends’ dilemma is really just the adjustment to out of sight but NOT out of mind. We remain intensely interested in what and how everyone is doing and enjoy sharing where and whatever we are doing, either through Brian’s select, unabridged email distribution or this Odyssey blog I am striving to keep up with and remain informative, for our loved ones and fellow nomads.
The dust settles (usually right in our home), the true friendships survive and continue with the fervor of distance making your hearts stronger. But the interesting phenomenon for me, is the time constraint of being on the road bringing out our years of experience and intuition, allowing us to make ‘fast friends’ with our new ‘neighbors’. Quickly sharing our stories, tips and creating a bond that will surely be resurrected when we meet again down the road. In the condensed time we seem to shed the introductory stage and don’t have the constraints of busy lives that often don’t leave enough time to let new people in. We are more open to the variety of people who now cross our paths and the interesting perspectives, stories and advice they bring to the table.

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Downsizing and Transitioning to Full- time

Last Bash

Last Bash

Ready or Not

Time to Shed and Transition

The more we planned, the less we were seeming to follow it. RV purchased, storage lot found, make it a bit homier and cheerier for full timing and investigate ways Brian will be able to work via the internet, phone and email. Basically the same set-up he has been enjoying for years at ‘home’ wherever that was (NY, Colorado, Houston, Colorado). I retired from full-time work, taking spontaneous positions when they came available, very sporadic and basically, retired. Turning 62 last May, I decided to really reduce the stress and avail us of the hard-earned social security in our account. All part of the grab it while we can attitude we believe we are striving for. That was very appealing to Brian and without a second thought, turning 64 end of July, and he was retired too! Health insurance remains an important component for us and we agreed to pay for Cobra out of pocket for both of us until he turns 65. We will live on social security, continue to invest wisely and cut costs to make ends meet.

Now that we are free to go, we set our transition date to early August. I will never know for sure, but if I had to shed all of our belongings not coming with us, by myself, it may have been overwhelming. As it was, the emotional tear of leaving our recently married, only child, daughter regardless of the promise of returning to our beloved Colorado frequently, had me in flummox. Keep calm and carry on, this dream is worth following and everything good comes with a price, my mantra for months.

Happy Birthday Leo's!

Happy Birthday Leo’s!

I started going to Estate/Tag sales in the area to get a feel for how they are run and what might work for us. Mostly mayhem, but it certainly proved there is a market for just about anything you have, for a price, cheap price that is. Something is better than nothing as I tend to give everything away once complimented anyway! It did make me decide that I wanted arms length selling, worth the (rather large but worth it) percentage (35% in our case) you have to share with the estate sale company for their extremely hard and laborious work. As with anything, interview several people, ask lots of questions and then just go with your gut (best case scenario is a personal referral from someone you trust who had their own experience). Some things to ask: percentage charged, are there additional fees (credit card, tax) and who pays them, can we put a bottom line price on individual items, where and when do you advertise. Our estate sale company of choice was A Bluebird Estate Service. Lori and her son Johnny Angel were great people to work with and felt like friends in no time. Lori gave me a range of the value of all our items for sale and came in spot on at the top of the range!

Link to our sale (in the past)  http://estatesales.org/monument-co-estate-sales/monument-estate-being-liquidated-431445

Bluebirdand link to their information and phone contact:

http://estatesales.org/estate-sale-companies/5479

To be ready for the sale, all that we were taking (and, thankfully, able to gift to our newlyweds) had to be out of the house by the time they came (4 days prior to sale date) to tag and price everything. You must tag anything that is NOT for sale clearly. Better to just remove it altogether so there is no confusion. We had been sorting through the house for months, paring down, some rooms and things took several ‘passes’ in order to ‘let it go!’

We were able to park our monster motorhome in front of our house for several weeks (we lived on a cul-de-sac and our neighbors and otherwise rule crazy HOA kindly looked the other way) prior to leaving for the Camping resort a mile away, set to be our transition home base while we tied up loose ends and hugged our loved ones. The convenience of being able to cart things up and down our driveway was an unplanned windfall. Probably had us taking more than we will ever need, but better to shed than to repurchase!

Arrived and settled in our transition space up the road, we begin to experience our new chosen lifestyle. Brian hops out of the RV, goes over to thank our new neighbor for moving his car that was parked in our way, and two minutes into the conversation he calls me over to introduce a man I had worked with for years before his retirement in ’05. It IS a small world, after all.

 

Leaving with Jeep and I Following

Leaving, with Jeep and I Following

Last View from House

Last View from House