The Simplifying Life

As you can probably guess, I've been practically glued to the Internet the past couple days browsing travel message boards (, in particular) and have already started to plan the route we'll eventually take to cross Canada by train. CanRail has a pass that gets you 12 days of train travel within a thirty-day period for $850 (peak season). The idea of using it to travel a heavily interrupted month-long route from Prince Rupert, BC to Halifax, Nova Scotia is exhilirating. Yes, I do believe I used the word "exhilirating" to describe potential train travel. But that's because we're planning a lengthy side-trip to Churchill, Manitoba during the height of polar bear season. Exhilirating meet totally freaking awesomeness! As for getting to Prince Rupert, the Alaska Ferry System makes stops there (Prince Rupert is just south of the border with Alaska, and a stone's throw from Ketchikan) and we anticipate beginning the trip on that ferry, leaving Bellingham, WA and making our way to Sitka and Homer and eventually Denali. The latter of which would be over land of course. We were actually planning on doing that ferry-based Alaska trip next summer, but we've decided that patience would be beneficial for us grasshoppers.

Anyway, the real purpose of this post was to say that I've also started looking around the house for stuff we could do without in attempt to streamline things. Both for now and for later. I started with the closet in my office. For 7 years now, everytime I author a guidebook I get a box of 10 contributor's copies. I give some of these away, but there's a lot of times that I'll write a guidebok for a less-than-popular game and find no takers. I literally had several hundred pounds of these books on a metal wire shelf in my closet. And yes, I was indeed scared to stand under it. Well, I finally went through roughly 15 boxes of guidebooks, set aside two of each book (in addition to the one I have on my shelf) and bundled the others us. I hate to do it, but I'm taking them to the recyling center.

It looks much better now. Trust me.

I also finally sorted through the box of "desk" stuff that I've had sitting in various rooms ever since we packed up and left North Carolina over 5 years ago. It was all mostly software that we've long since updated. And books about writing cover letters and tips for small businesses and other things of that sort. I gathered up all of the non-videogame books (along with a few Stephen King hardcovers I've had since I was 14) and am going to take them down to Half-Price Books in Bellevue today to get a little money for them. Hopefully enough to warrant a mid-month transfer to our savings account, but probably just enough to buy me a beer or two after tonight's mountain biking ride.

Looking elsewhere in the house didn't reveal too many things we can part with, well, other than my music collection. Ever since I got my iPod last year, I can't say that I really see the need for music cd's anymore. My Element has an MP3 jack right in the dashboard for the iPod and if I'm not at my desk or in my car, I'm not really anwywhere I need to listen to music. Why keep the cd's? I can back up iTunes onto my external harddrive, might as well sell the music, right? I couldn't do it all at once, because even the world's best music store isn't going to want me rolling in with a handcart and boxes of 400 cd's. I'll have to go in trips.

Either way, the transformation is in progress. I'm not about to quit buying the occasional videogame or books to read or other things, but I do feel like just by cleaning my closet out and unloading some old books was a good first step. And Kristin is glad to be ridding ourselves of some of the stuff too.

We've been talking about The Trip every day now since last Friday and the possibilities are endless. Not just in terms of places to see, but also in terms of what might happen to our desire to come home. It's not inconceivable that we end up wanting to spend another 6 months somewhere teaching English. Or that we come home only long enough for me to write another two or three guidebooks (as an example), then head back out again for another year. Who knows? There's plenty of people out there who do it. I don't know if that's even something we would want to make a habit, but I don't know that we wouldn't.

But that's a long way's off. A much more pressing concern is trying to sell the surfboard I haven't used in 5 years.

1 comment:

Criscipline said...

I think you guys may be happy to be home when this is all over. I know it may not be for long but who knows?

I just know that my hand won't be going into the empty gallon pickle jar I keep my change in for a loooong time.