I’ve been driving through life for a while now without any working windshield wipers. And Portland’s not the right city to do that in. For a while I didn’t care too much; it didn’t bother me that I couldn’t see where I was going a lot of the time, just a blur of rain, and the outline of some road to follow. But increasingly I wanted to be more proactive in determining the direction my life took, seeing a little further ahead and not missing turns.
The first and most obvious change I needed to make was to move – somewhere different, somewhere drier. Despite this strong desire to leave Portland, I found myself not doing anything about it. I’d look at new cities around the country, look into emigrating to Australia, even jobs on various Caribbean islands, but only halfheartedly. Maybe none of these options seemed right, possibly because Amber was not involved in them, and certainly because I just felt I’d end up doing the same thing in a new place.
There was also fear, a resistance to change, however much I wanted it. Even once Amber had convinced me of how great traveling the country in our RV was going to be, I was still reticent, finding it hard to fully commit myself to doing it. To some degree I forced myself by making commitments to Amber that I would do it. Once I did that there was no going back. Looking back on how I felt then – worried about leaving everything, veering a little further from being a ‘responsible’ member of society – it seems silly, considering how excited I am about it now. There were three main reasons I was resistant to leaving my life here – my cats, my stuff and my job…
The hardest task I’ve had has been to find new homes for my cats. There were 4 of them needing homes, all of them very important to me. Finding not just homes, but really good homes where they will get the attention they need and deserve, is hard. So far I have found great homes for two of them, Chompers and Fatty. Mimbo and Stumpy are still with me, though I have potential homes for both of them – I just hope they work out.
I’d worried about getting rid of all my stuff but, when it came down to it and I really looked at what I have here, I realized that, other than my cats, there is very little in my apartment that is precious to me. I listed a few of the important items on my bio page – my bike, guitar, laptop, phone and beginnings of a Nike collection. Few items as there are, it’s going to be interesting working out exactly where all of them are going to go in the RV.
With one exception, I am looking forward to getting rid of everything else. I’ve already enjoyed going through my apartment a few times, filling bags with garbage, others with items for donation, collecting clothes and small things I can sell. It’s felt good to see the amount of ‘stuff’ decreasing. I will be holding an open house some time soon, advertised on craigslist, I’ll just have people show up and, hopefully, over the course of the day, buy up everything. The one thing I’ll miss is my car. It’s going to hurt to sell it. Admittedly it’ll be nice to have the cash, but I’ve really enjoyed driving that car. Now If I could somehow get the engine and transmission just…moved into the RV…I mean, how hard could it be?
Finally, my job – it’s important to me. For a long time, while considering leaving, then planning it, I wasn’t too excited about the prospect of having to quit. It bothered me to have to go tell my boss and the CEO that I would be leaving, because I feel genuinely valued there and I felt it would be a loss to both me and the company if my relationship with them ended. The idea of working contract jobs on projects I don’t care about for companies I care even less about doesn’t appeal to me. Thankfully, I don’t have to do that, as I will continue to be a full time employee with my current company. We will review the way things are working every 30 days, as neither they nor I know exactly how working from the road is going to go. Whether we are way off the grid and working over a 3G wireless connection, or in an RV park on WiFi, we intend to be online full time. We’ll see just how well that works out.
With the cats slowly finding homes, my stuff being sold or donated, and my job still mine, I’m pretty happy right now. The morning we turn in the keys to our Portland apartment, and drive out of the city, I’ll be beyond happy.