All my bags are packed
I'm ready to go. . .
I'm ready to go. . .
. . .'Cause I'm leavin' on a jet plane
Don't know when I'll be back again. . .
Don't know when I'll be back again. . .
-- Lyrics by John Denver, sung by Peter, Paul and Mary
And for the first time ever, we won’t be returning to a home base in Washington State.
We’ve always had a home in Washington. And that’s what makes this such a journey into new uncharted territory for us.
|From the airplane - Washington State's Mount Rainier|
[For those new folks – we purchased a home in Greece 2.5 years ago and obtained our residency permits this spring. It was the nudge we needed to go from our part-time to full-time ex pat life.]
With treasures tucked away in storage, given away or sold, we put our home of 30 years on the market two weeks ago. In a head-spinning blink of time it sold within 48-hours.
In two weeks, we’ll be boarding a flight to Athens. With our heads still spinning, we have yet to feel the euphoria of freedom and adventure that so many ex pats before us have promised will happen.
Not Here Nor ThereInstead of swooning over newfound freedom we are teetering between two worlds; feeling neither here nor there. A Twilight Zone of sorts.
|Our destination: The Mani, Greek Peloponnese|
In the grand scheme of things, our Twilight Zone is nothing. Compared to those uprooted and homeless as result of hurricanes, wild fires, floods and social unrest, what we are experiencing is a blip on the comfort zone. Yet, when your world is shifting – if even by choice, as ours is – the change process is seismic.
The Logistics and Lists of LeavingWay back in June we told you all that we’d be back in Greece by mid-September. Heck, yes! No sweat! We’d clean out the house, put it on the market, come back in a few months when it sold and complete our move.
|Arriving in Athens, Greece|
That was the plan alright but as the old saying goes. . .life has a way of happening while you are busy making plans for it. Time to regroup, take a closer look at those lists and logistics and forge ahead. . .
|Regrouping and refocusing - taking a closer look at details|
If all goes as planned (and that phrase is our new mantra) paperwork will be completed one day, we’ll finish moving out of our already-pretty-empty-house another, we’ll spend a couple nights in a SeaTac Airport hotel and two weeks from today we will fly to Greece.
* A lesson learned: we were able to change both the date and destination of our return flight on British Airways for little over $1,000 for both of us and we were able to stay in the previously booked premium economy section. That was less than we’d have paid if we’d have cancelled this the trip (the return leg of our trip here in June) and rebooked it using premium economy with the low-cost Norwegian Airlines and a regional airline.
“Moving abroad. . .must sell. . .” the reality is that no matter what they tell you about storage units, you can’t get the contents of a three-bedroom home into a 200-square-foot-storage unit. And further, in a hot housing market, volunteer agencies get mighty selective in the donations they accept.
*A lesson learned: We’ve attempted to donate some of our furniture that won’t fit in storage, to organizations serving the needy and homeless. Several of them have on line lists of items they will accept. Two organizations in the Seattle area, charge a fee to cover the costs of picking up your donations. The fee is $300 for one group and $500 for another. We’ve opted to sell the furniture using on-line classified ad sites.
|Our cars and Herbie|
Soon to be Car-less in Seattle: After having been a two-car couple for decades, (with Herbie my ‘69 Bug a pretty face in our garage) we are going car-less. We sold both of our cars to friends in the eastern part of the state. Herbie (sob!) has been sold to a local classic car enthusiast. Timing is everything at this stage of the game and our friends are working around our schedule, taking our last car the morning of our departure for Greece.
*Lesson learned: Opting to sell the cars will result in no storage costs (for Herbie alone the quotes were from $200 US a month to $350) nor insurance payments or licensing costs which amount to savings of several hundred dollars. On the downside, we will need to rent a car when we come back for visits, but the savings will pay for it.
|This was too many bags - we'll have more this trip!|
*Lesson learned: By flying premium economy we are each allowed two free checked bags, an additional carry-on bag and one personal item. We explored the cost of shipping a suitcase or a box the size of a suitcase and found it to be $200 for each piece and some who do international suitcase shipping don’t serve Greece.
|Washington State ferry and Seattle Space Needle - icons of our life here|
“The address and phone number associated with this account?” I’ve had three encounters in recent weeks – at retail stores, service providers and state agencies that all asked for some account identification that included either an address or phone number. Hmmm. . . so what do we use to access those accounts when we don’t have an address or phone numbers?
*Lesson learned: We will maintain a U.S. address by using a mail forwarding company in our town. For $20 a month, plus a small charge and postage costs, they will forward our ‘snail mail’ to Greece. By not having a land line, internet provider and cell phone as we do now in the U.S. we’ll save more than $300 a month, nearly $4,000 a year. We’ll rent a mobile phone during future extended stays in the U.S. or do like we did only a few short years ago when we traveled without mobile phones. Wouldn’t that be a novel thing to do?
Home for the indefinite future will be in our Stone House on the Hill, on the edge of our olive grove overlooking our slice of The Mani. In three week’s we’ll no longer be ticking off lists and logistics, but will be scheduling our olive harvest. We’ll still be listening to our UW Husky football games (broadcast live in the early morning hours of Sundays) and following our Seattle Seahawks on internet feeds and FB updates. We’ll read the Seattle Times and watch televised feeds to keep up with Washington and U.S. news. We’ll welcome guests from the Pacific Northwest to our home. We’ll come back and visit.
*Lesson learned: In June I was thinking of life as chapters - this one closing and another beginning. I've changed over the summer. I now think of it as life's continuing story, a single chapter in which the setting may change, new characters are added, the plot will have new twists and turns; but it all will serve to make the chapter larger and more interesting. It won't be a chapter's closing.
Again, thanks for being with us and all your words of encouragement and excitement as our adventure unfolds. We appreciate your time and love reading your comments and emails. Hope you’ll return again next week and bring some friends and family with you! Safe and healthy travels to you and yours~
Linking this week with:
Through My Lens
Our World Tuesday
Travel Photo Thursday –
Weekend Travel Inspiration