You might ask how can both things be happening at the same time…but it is true. We are winding down our old way of living and are winding up to our new adventure – exploring retirement!
Indeed, we have spent the better part of the last two months winding down – from selling the house, closing all the accounts (utilities, services, etc.), packing up items for storage, discarding/donating items we no longer can use, packing clothes and essentials for the almost three month stay in temporary housing and then pre-packing our clothes and essentials for our six month trip. Exhausting? To say the least.
Even so, there are a number of items still waiting to be finalized. We planned on selling our cars right before we left. But life sends a curve ball now and then. Zaf was in an accident – he is just fine, but the car (mine!) was totaled. That was not part of the original plan so we had to regroup after the initial shock.
Because the car was so old, we did not have collision coverage so I scrambled around looking for a junk car dealer and finally found one that offered a decent price. Now, I’ve got to go the motor vehicle department and deal with all of that! When Zaf sells his car, we then need to cancel the auto insurances.
Moreover, making sure that all entities we are part of, such as social security and supplemental medical insurance, have our new address (we are using my sister’s address for now) is a daunting task. It’s a long, long list and every day I remember yet another company I have to call. This winding down seems to go on and on and on!
Hence, If you are like me, you don’t really realize the number of places where you are listed and how much of your information is out there in the universe. This is a good time to delete, cancel, consolidate, etc.
Business Beckons Too!
One of our business is being taken over by some lovely people who will be managing it for us – we are very lucky to have found them! Blessed for sure, but there is work to be done, I’ve got to lay out the whole system for them: daily activity recap, train them on payroll, pre-pay some bills, contact the vendors to assure them they will all get paid and make sure the employees are happy!
At the same time, I’ve got my own work to do. My trainings and consultations continue. Remember, my retirement is part-time, and the icing on the cake is that everything is done online, so I never have to leave home! I check in every morning, take care of business and then am free for the rest of the day. This new change of pace and less stress has given me a greater sense of peace and contentment.
I could also thrown in the “work” that I do for my blog – but is it really? Nah, just a great way to chronicle our retirement journey and share it with you. I enjoy writing, it’s fun trying to figure out a photo that will work with what I am saying, and I love sharing it all with you – so no, it’s definitely not work!
The winding up part is getting ready for the trip. Double checking passports (I did this three times)! came first. Reviewing our flights online and making a paper copy. Tucking into my suitcase, a copy of the family tree – what I have so far – to update and revise with my Greek relatives and making sure that all their names and phone numbers are in my Big Brown Notebook.
I started this book two years ago when we made the monumental decision to sell everything and spend six months in Greece, as a springboard to our retirement life. In it, I’ve listed all the places where we have been before and more importantly, all the places we want to see for the first time. Meteora is a prime example…look it up and see for yourself how amazing it is!
Speaking of the “notebook”, Italy is a part of it. As I read about a hotel or a restaurant or a site to see in a magazine or on social media, I would make a note of it and all those notes were put into a large white box. Well now, I’ve transferred them into their own little section and they serve as a little peek into what awaits us on our travels to Tuscany and environs.
It’s good to reassure myself that I have also recorded the contact info for family and friends who will be getting postcards from wherever we are, so they follow along on out itinerary.
Other items we had to investigate and set into place were a few hotels stays, renting a car, getting international driver’s licenses, exchange rate, use of ATM’s… all good now but harrowing when they loomed up at me from my many lists of things to do!
Additionally, looking into travel medical insurance has been an eye-opener…it’s Not Cheap! Eventually, I found something decent and purchased it…a necessity for sure. We have packed a smaller suitcase with all our medical supplies – mostly needed pills and vitamins, but band-aids, pain relievers, etc. are in there too. I keep adding as Zaf says: “They have band-aids in Italy now.” 😊
Another wind-up activity – since we bought into a 55+ development for our future home, we are kept busy deciding what cabinets, flooring, counter tops, etc. we want. It is amazing what choices are available, at different price points for sure, but still, I felt like I was on an episode of a home decorating tv show.
The location is about a half hour away from where we are now, so we try to go in the afternoons; we then spend some time driving around our new neighborhood getting familiar with where the supermarkets and banks are; for me I found the library and for Zaf he found several golf courses!
Going over our selections is nerve-racking. Did we make the right decisions? Will the alabaster white color go with the grey backsplash? Is the quality of the flooring worth the cost? Hours of sleep were lost as I tossed and turned; but mornings bring confidence as I look at the materials at hand and am happy with our choices.
The undercurrent to all of this is pandemic, of course. When we started out, two years ago, in thinking through the steps we had to take to get to this point, we did not anticipate this concern. And yet, we are moving forward. We have taken both vaccine doses, wear masks and sometimes gloves, stay away from people as much as we can and pray for the best. We also check to see what travel restrictions we can expect; we will be doing our testing before we take off and hope for the best. We do have EU passports so that might help, but you just never know. We’ll see – I’ll let you know how the entire thing plays out.
Let’s all live out loud, and Retire Well, Helene 😊
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