The process, the gestalt, feelings and reflections, existential angst.

Printing as we shred, an interesting activity…

As part of our quest to simplify and downsize, we are trying to become paperless. Though we’ve heard that’s a goal of many businesses, it’s rarely achieved. Our incoming paper stream has been greatly reduced as we’ve opted for electronic statements. So, much of our accumulated paper is from prior years. I don’t know why I’ve felt the need to hang on to the last paper statement, even when it is from years ago. I guess they give me some form of security, in case the internet disappears one day.

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Grandma’s Accordion

I feel a special responsibility for things that come into my possession that have had great meaning to someone. They are a special connection to the past, just as the Rosetta stone, or the megaliths of Stonehenge, or my father’s High School yearbook. So too, was Grandma Alexander’s accordion. While she was not a blood relative of Jeannie’s family, she was Granddad’s second wife, and she was loved by us all without reservation. We, by chance, came to possess her accordion.

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Existential Angst …

Dear reader, this blog isn’t just for you. This blog is MY journal of the experience of this craziness we have embarked upon. If it were Jeannie’s journal it would be a spreadsheet complete with pivot tables. And she does really GREAT pivot tables, but hardly as riveting as my inspired prose. You will be subjected to a bunch of preliminary preparation stuff and philosophical introspection. And that is one of the reasons for keeping this journal. We will be able to come back here and remember the anguish of those stupid decisions.

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Tetris Anyone?

Do you remember Tetris the computer game from the mid-80s? The objective of the game was to maneuver four-square shapes, as they cascaded down the playing field, by moving each one sideways and rotating it, with the aim of creating a horizontal line of ten blocks without gaps. Our Slow Nomads adventure (and life in general) is much like that game. Unknown things and occurrences appear without our control and we nudge and rotate them so that they all fit together nicely into an entire row and then they disappears. Of course, it doesn’t always work that way.

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Sold?

I have always said that there are three kinds of things: - Things you have to do, - Things you need to do, - Things you want to do. I generally do the things that I have to do, then I do the things I want to do. I ignore the things that I need to do because they will eventually become things that I have to do and will get done, or rarely, they become things I want to do and they get done. And sometimes they just go away.

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Easy, we don’t need no stinkin’ easy?

The garage sales are over, and trips to take items to Goodwill and the county recycling center have finally slowed to a trickle. The house goes on the market in a few days, and we have arranged the first three months apartments in France. It looks as if this is really happening. But then, at the peak of the chaos, Jeannie’s father Gene, at 85 had a bout with appendicitis. That had us deeply concerned and running back and forth to Tampa to coordinate his care with siblings.

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Dryer Vent Cleaner Brush

Getting rid of certain things marks the end of one era and the start of another. Yet somewhere inside a small voice reminds me of my mortality. It reminds me that now is the time. Where is that garbage can? It is important to choose wisely. Take tools for example. Once we return and are setting up a small apartment, will I ever need my hoe or circular saw again? When we are renting will I need to have my tap and die set, or the 10-foot-long dryer vent cleaner brush?

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Another step…

Well, the house hasn’t sold yet, in fact it isn’t even on the market; but we thought we’d better not wait to book an apartment in France – as desirable places get leased early. Once we decided to make our first move in August, we realized that the south of France is a very popular destination in the summer. We are not fans of crowds so we looked at the map and decided on the town of Rennes, in the Brittany (northwest) region of France, to be our starting point.

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Going is not leaving …

One doesn’t come to embrace an adventure such as this without weighing the downsides. We spent a weekend in our college town reconnecting with friends, some we hadn’t seen in many years. It was so good to share time together again, and it isn’t easy to think about leaving such people and places behind, but we are not leaving, we are going someplace different. To me there is a rather significant difference between the two. Besides, we will be bringing them all with us, at least in our memories and hearts.

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Be Here Now

When we first discussed the plan to downsize and travel, we established a loose target date to have the house ready to put on the market. Since the house might sell quickly, we also realized that we needed to be ready regarding the move details, that is we need to decide where to live, research apartment options, visa application, travel insurance and insurance options, banking arrangements, as well as create a reasonable budget including income streams, etc., etc., etc.

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