Escape: break free from confinement or control
Never has ‘an escape’ sounded as good as it does right now.
|Seeing the Peloponnese and its wonders - 2013|
Our summer reminds us of that time back when our lives were governed by our 8-to-5 jobs. It was a time when we lived for those one- or two-week vacation escapes allowed in our employment contracts. In that life, even the promise of a long holiday weekend made us giddy. We enjoyed the anticipation as much as the escape itself.
|Setting out to explore the Wadi Rum - Jordan, 2015|
Fast forward a few decades and we are again in the ‘anticipation phase’; dreaming of an escape from what will forever be known as our Summer of Slogging. “Slogging” -- the term I’ve borrowed from my ex pat friend Anita who writes No Particular Place to Go -- is the process of cleaning out life’s accumulations in anticipation of having a new adventure somewhere else in the world. For Anita and Richard it is Portugal, for us it will be Greece.
Slog: work hard over a period of time
|The Stone House on the Hill - a catalyst for change|
Now the process of discarding and downsizing was a long-overdue task especially at the ‘boomer ages’ that we find ourselves. And we are blessed to be tackling it so that we can have a new adventure and not because health or finances have forced the task upon us. While spending more time in Greece was the catalyst to get us off our duffs, the reality is, that it is time.
We are certainly not blazing any new trails, simply following the path of so many ex pats before us: packing up and storing away this life until we are ready to return to it. And that means discarding and downsizing.
|Our new digs: a 200-square-foot storage unit|
The intent of this blog has always been to inspire travelers to step outside their comfort zones, to travel to places they’ve never gone before. And I have to tell you – this summer we’ve taken our own advice and done just that.
Closing out, this longest chapter of our lives together, is proving to be one of the biggest adventures we’ve ever embarked upon. While it sounds simple enough to ‘clean up and clean out’ we’ve found the process in many ways to be surprisingly unpleasant and stressful as deadlines loom and the ‘to do’ list grows.
Frankly, it would be so much more fun to be packing for a summer road trip.
|Monument Valley - Utah, 2016|
But the bright side has been taking a road trip of sorts down Memory Lane.
Memory Lane: the past, especially the past shared and remembered by a group of people, thought of as a path that can be traveled along to revisit former times
While never leaving the house, we’ve been back to our childhoods, our teens, and our early years together. Our travels and those never to be forgotten ‘good times’ with friends have been savored as we sift through faded photographs. It’s been a great route though and in its own way has provided a bit of at least a mental escape.
|My friend Mary and I and our first concert - 50 years ago this week|
With a Little Help from Our Friends
Since I wrote about our plans to live in our Stone House on the Hill in the Greek Peloponnese for a longer period of time, many of you have shared your stories with us. Those emails and comments have kept us sane as we go about our slogging: Misery does love company!
Some of you have moved short distances to smaller digs or have opted to rent over home ownership and its headaches. Some are moving (or have moved) to a far distant place within your country of residence. Others are taking (or have taken) the quantum leap to a new country. And you all lived through it with most of you being able to laugh about it now.
|Someone else is escaping to a new adventure|
You’ve also shared some great tips and words of wisdom about downsizing that we are using and that I want to pass along five of them to others who might be contemplating the writing of a new chapter in their lives:
1. If in doubt, take a photograph and toss or give away. This advice has worked well with those items that I’ve ‘had forever’ but never use and seldom look but with which I hated to part.
2. Weigh the cost of buying a new item someday with that of the storage space rental. My kitchen appliances will likely head to charity and when we return, I’ll get to buy new ones. (And using that discard plan, I can keep my parent’s old electric popcorn popper in the freed up storage space!)
3. Give gifts back to the friends who gave them to you. They say you give gifts that you would like to receive. I’ve returned several birthday gifts to girlfriends who gave them to me and told them to use and enjoy them while I am gone – we can discuss ownership after I return.
4. Share family heirlooms with the younger generation now – we’ve given a number of things to the next generation of family so they can be used and enjoyed instead of stuffed in a box in a storage unit for years.
5. Give it away. One of the beyond-best things we’ve had recommended to us as part of our efforts is the Buy Nothing Project, a community-building effort that is using FB to achieve their goals. You search FB for a Buy Nothing group in your area and request to join. Once accepted you can give away items to your heart’s content or on the flip side, seek items. We’ve seen posts from those who’ve cooked too much of something for dinner and have offered to share it with others (and they’ve had eager responses). We’ve given away an incredible amount of stuff to an incredible bunch of people – all of whom live near us, but whom we’d likely have never met.
|My 'toss' has become 'treasures' at Buy Nothing|
Words of Advice
We are nearing the end of this process and are now thinking Greece. A number of you have asked for our downsizing tips. Our answer is: start now. Fill a bag with clothes you no longer wear. Get rid of Aunt Nellie’s cookie jar that you never wanted in the first place. Give grandma’s mixing bowl to another family member. Don’t wait until, like us, you are faced with the task of doing it all at once.
And after you’ve taken that first step, hope you’ll be back with us next week. We are gearing up for our return to Greece and next week want to tell you about the wine country not far from us there. It’s a refreshingly different experience than we are used to in the States.
Until then, safe travels to you and yours. Thanks for staying in touch and for the time you spend with us ~
Linking up this week with:
Our World Tuesday
Travel Photo Thursday –
Weekend Travel Inspiration
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