The logistics of leaving. It’s an interesting situation in which we find ourselves as we continue to wait, wait, and wait a bit more for our Portugal visas to come through.
“The line between disorder and order lies in logistics…” – Sun Tzu
The Logistics of Storage
It’s one thing to put your mail on hold for a couple of weeks, stop the newspaper and maybe ask a friendly neighbor to keep an eye on your house while you’re gone. It’s a whole other ballgame when you consider the logistics of actually packing your life into a mountain of boxes and stacking said boxes into a 10 x 30 storage garage. And, it’s not just about the stuff. It’s about compartmentalizing pretty much every aspect of your life. What to take? What to leave? And, do we really want to pay for storage?!
And, what about our car? After much back and forth on the topic, we decided to park our car in storage, turn in the tags and cancel the insurance. When we return, we’ll just pick up where we left off. Seemed silly to pay for tags and insurance while the car sits in storage.
The Logistics of Moving
If you’ve been following for a while you know we sold our house. That was the #1 big ticket logistical item. We sold our house in part because we are going to travel, but more importantly we sold it because although we loved the house, it just wasn’t the right fit for the long term. The timing of the sale has left us homeless for several weeks. But, as fate would have it, we received a gracious offer to house sit, even though they really didn’t need it. Kindness. I think it plays a role in logistics. Or, at the very least it should.
No longer owning property the next step for us was to update our living trusts. Easily done. We have one son so it’s pretty much a no-brainer logistically, he gets it all, but still a good idea to have a written document for those just-in-case scenarios. We keep electronic copies, as well as a hard copy.
The Logistics of Banking
The logistics of banking. Because we’re going to be in Europe for who knows how long, we will of course need money. Electronic banking makes it easy, but there are still considerations such as transaction and exchange fees and having a credit card that does not charge a foreign transaction fee. We’ll primarily be using VISA, since AMEX is not widely accepted in Europe.
The Logistics of Health Care
When you leave home for that long-awaited vacation, it’s pretty easy to pack along any necessary prescription meds. Leaving for an indefinite time period makes it a bit more interesting. There are online prescription sites and many insurance companies will work with customers for vacation overrides, but again, the indefinite time period makes it all a bit sticky wicky. I take one prescription tablet every single day of my life. After consulting my doctor, she ordered blood work and then wrote a new prescription for six months, with one six-month refill. Since my prescription insurance coverage is minimal, and really not worth the effort, I ordered all 12 months of meds and I paid cash. Fortunately, it is not an expensive drug.
In the past, we’ve purchased travel health insurance. But, just when we had decided we would go without this time, our Portugal visa applications required us to purchase insurance. After many hours of research, we chose Allianz and we bought the absolute most minimal coverage we could find, basically, just major medical. In Europe, you can walk into any pharmacy and pretty much buy anything you need to make yourself feel better, so paying for travel insurance is one of those, “is it worth it” quandaries.
The Logistics of Packing
Packing. We’re minimalists when it comes to packing and we’re big believers in don’t pack with the “just in case” mindset. I should tell you that packing for the indefinite, and all four seasons, put my packing skills to the test, but I did it. And, I have to admit I did pack one “just in case” nice outfit for each of us. Are you in love with packing cubes? I am! Cold weather gear and that “just in case” nice outfit; they are what packing cubes are made for.
When we travel our standard practice is one suitcase and one backpack per person. This leaves us each with a free hand, which is always a good idea, especially when moving through airports and train stations. Unfortunately, there are those who lie in wait to “carry” your bag up/down stairs and then basically hold it hostage until you “tip” them. Never! And, because I have the upper body strength of a limp noodle, my absolute limit of being able to lift a suitcase is about 30 pounds, and that’s pushing it. With all of that being said, I managed to pack everything we’ll need into these two suitcases and they each weigh in at 32 pounds. Why do I think they’re going to gain weight as we travel?
The Logistics of Portugal
As I’ve said on several occasions, we really have no idea where this journey is going to lead us. But, as Abi says, we won’t know until we find out, and we can’t find out unless we better position ourselves. I won’t bore you by repeating myself, so here are the links to our posts about the process of applying for residency in Portugal.
Portugal: The Expat Experiment
And, that my friends, is just a glimpse in to the logistics of leaving. Don’t even get me started on the logistics of planning an eight-week Eurail trip. But, here’s a hint… 13 cities in 62 days. It’s going to be amazing!
Can’t wait to ride the rails across Europe with you and Abi
Thank you, Donna! We’re counting the days with eager anticipation!
The planning, and even the packing would be fun, but not the waiting. That I fail miserably at. But you two are off on a grand adventure. I am just a bit envious so look forward to seeing where the wind blows you.
Gaelyn recently posted…Exploring Kaibab National Forest: Road 241
The waiting is hard, Gaelyn, not gonna lie about that. I keep reminding myself each day to be grateful for this life we have, but oh man the waiting is hard. It’s been 5 weeks thus far with no end in sight. One day at a time as they say.
Oh, the fun.
And then maybe in 3 years you’ll be where I am right now – shipping all our stuff to Croatia.
As I write this I’m sitting in Montreal, having just shipped the stuff (on a boat right now crossing the Atlantic) and signing off on the sale of our condo next week. So after 3 years we faced the fact that we never want to go back to living in Montreal…so now we’re taking the final step and divesting ourselves of everything we have here.
My last reason to ever visit is my son but he’s now 23 and I think he’d rather visit me in Europe 🙂
Who knows what the future holds for your guys?
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Congratulations on the sale of your condo, Frank. I’m sure you and Lisette feel as if a great weight has been lifted. I always say buying property is the easy part, it’s the selling that gets tricky.
We have no idea what the future holds for us, Frank, but we’re looking forward to finding out!
Patti, the waiting game is frustrating, it has been for us also. But you are getting there, I think the hardest part is all behind you now 🙂 For the money side of things have you looked into those credit cards that you can load money into? They are great, you don’t pay any fee and they convert to the local currency giving you an excellent rate. My son has recently used one called “Revolut”, maybe check that out? I will look forward to following your journey…exciting times ahead 🙂
Hey Gilda, thanks so much for the tip about the prepaid credit cards. I’ll pass the tip along to the banker. 🙂 I’m looking forward to following your upcoming transition as well.
I could have written this a year ago as we prepared for our move to Spain! This summer we go back to the States to reduce the amount in storage and sell the car!
We have private health insurance in Spain and it is so much cheaper than in the US.
I’m excited for you and all that’s ahead.
Thanks so much, Laura! I think a lot of people are redefining their paths, definitely makes life interesting.
Love those cubes. We use them all the time, even for just a weekend in Wisconsin. And you know, they have most everything you need in Portugal and destinations beyond. That’s why you have that extra pound of room in your luggage. Safe travels my good friends. I envy your adventure.
Aren’t packing cubes the greatest?! Why is it that we never think to invent these things? You’ll be traveling right along with us, in spirit!
Oh, I know the feeling, so much to organise! It sounds like things are slotting into place though, I’m keen to hear more details of where you’re planning to go first!
Amy recently posted…At the Mercy of the Mountains, Challenges of Hiking to Everest Base Camp
I like that word, Amy, “slotting” into place. 🙂 And, I know you have definitely been there, done that with the logistics!
The waiting is the worst, isn’t it? That feeling of being in limbo rather than moving forward. And, of course, there’s always that feeling that you’ve forgotten some crucial thing! (Luckily you can find almost everything you might need in Europe.) You’re right too, Patti, that kindness plays a huge role in figuring out the logistics. We had two “housesits” from friends that helped with the money drain and passed our waiting time until we could make our flight and departure arrangements. We’re big planners and detail oriented but really, it seems that a lot of the process (as your story has shown) seems to be about serendipity too!
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Yes, the waiting… waiting… waiting. It’s definitely an exercise in patience and I’m afraid I’m failing miserably. And, yes, so much is out of hands right now that we just have to go with the flow as they say. 🙂
Sounds exciting AND exhausting AND liberating. Are you working with Eurail? I’m looking forward to following along on your adventures. Do you have a date certain for your departure?
Yes, we are working with Eurail, we’ll be riding the rails from mid July to mid September. No departure date yet, everything is on hold until we have visas in hand.
As I was reading your recent post I had a couple of thoughts regarding banking.
We have a friend who has retired to Malaga, Spain and has been there 14 months. He watches the exchange rates before transferring funds. When they are low he transfers.
As for using a credit card, we use a Southwest airlines card. There are no exchange fees. I’m sure you’ve found the same type of card.
I’m very excited for your adventure. Enjoy each moment!
Much love, Julie
Thank you, Julie, that’s a great tip of transferring when the rates are low and I’ll pass it along to the banker. 🙂 Thanks also for the well-wishes!