Drumroll please…WE ARE GOING TO VIRGINIA! My head is spinning as we try to figure out all the logistics over the next two weeks. Conor is transitioning out of active duty, we have to prepare the boat for a 12-day journey, and, hardest of all, we have to say goodbye to everyone we love in North Carolina.
We will take the ICW up to Virginia Beach. Without kids, it would take about 6 days. With kids, we plan on doubling our timeframe. To complicate things further, the marina we initially picked out is undergoing extensive construction (read: no dock house or laundry available) so we are scrambling trying to find another marina up there. If you have any insights or can offer any help, please reach out to me on the contact page. I’m so excited for this scenic journey with our little family, but a bit terrified at the same time. I plan on posting lots of pics and updates during the move, so stay tuned!
Right now, we are trying to check a million things off our to-do list, so I’m going to keep this short. Also, it is election day, so I hope some of you are reading this while in line at the polls!
WE MADE IT! Not gonna lie, it has been a long few days. I’ll keep this short and to the point as we recover. Tip: If moving across the country, take more than 5 driving days to do it. Our days were intense, and the 14 hour drive from Nebraska to Knoxville, TN about did us in. Scout mutinied, and projectile vomited in the car and at 4am in the hotel room. Here was the good and the bad of the trip:
We surprised Conor’s sister in Omaha for her college graduation! The look on Ashley’s face when she saw us was priceless. We spent a lovely 2 days in Nebraska with my in-laws, and parted with tearful promises that they would visit us soon at Camp Lejeune.
Conor got two tattoos! On his feet (ouch!)
No speeding tickets or car crashes, and we are still speaking to each other 🙂
Vomit. So much vomit.
The disturbing amount of religious billboards damning us to hell as we drove through middle America. Why do people pay money to advertise messages of hate and judgment?
Road food. I can only eat so many burgers, and I think we gained about 5 pounds each.
But, despite it all, we are here. We have an appointment tomorrow with Mike Wood from Neptune Yachts to look at the boats! After everything it took to get this far, it will be surreal to climb aboard. Fun boat updates to come!
Drum roll please…WE ARE ON THE ROAD! After all those months of preparation, interim living, and tying up loose ends, we’ve finally left the Golden State. Conor and I packed up the car early on Monday morning and drove toward the rising sun. I promised myself that I would give an update every day, but failed on the first day (of course) so here is how the first TWO days of the trip have gone:
Day 1 was a long haul—San Clemente to Albuquerque (12 hrs)
Highlight: Stopping for lunch to visit my WONDERFUL great-aunt and great-uncle in Prescott, AZ. I hadn’t seen them in years, and they are very much my ‘grandparents’ in every sense of the word.
Lowlight: When Conor accidentally dumped an entire bowl full of wet dog food onto my lap. I don’t know who was less pleased, me or Scout.
Day 2 was Albuquerque to Colorado Springs (6 hours)
Highlight: Visiting the candy store in NM that supplied the blue ‘meth’ rock candy for Breaking Bad (see my badass self below) and walking around Old Town.
Lowlight: It’s freaking freezing in Colorado. Like, there’s snow on the ground. In May. I don’t understand.
I almost forgot to thank our lovely California friends for a great send-off! We decided that instead of tearful goodbyes, we wanted to make it a happy ‘see you later’ event, so all of our friends joined us for an Open House at an outdoor bar. We had a steady stream of people coming by all day to drink a beer, wish us luck, and give us hugs! (Disclaimer—I may have cried a bit once it was over).
Time for sleep before our next adventure tomorrow.
It’s official, folks, we are out of the house! Though I’m sure you will miss my posts about downsizing, minimalism, and moving…JK—even I’m sick of writing about it. Now that the PITA part is over, we can get to the fun part! I am excited to focus on our adventures in San Clemente and our boat search over the next few weeks.
As I mentioned in my last post, our boat broker has come back with two AMAZING boats for us already, and will be sending along the link to a third boat sometime this week once it has been uploaded. Right now, we are looking at a 42′ Endeavor (1989) and a 48′ Bavaria (2000). We are waiting to see the details of a 44′ Catalina (1989).
Both the Endeavor and the Bavaria have everything we are looking for—center cockpit, fiberglass hull, blue-water sailing capability. The Bavaria has room for us to grow into, while the Endeavor fulfills all of our needs right now, and is at the right price point. I can’t say which we are leaning towards at the moment, at least until we can compare the Catalina as well. We should be able to view all 3 of these boats in person once we get to North Carolina (if they are still on the market) before we make any decisions. I am confident that we will just ‘know’ once we’ve found our new home.
I have a feeling there will be a pro/con list for each of the boats posted sometime soon for you guys to see 🙂 Until then, we are spending the next month recovering and unwinding with numerous glasses of wine before diving into May. Thank you for all of your encouragement and sticking with us as we orchestrated the move!
My voice echos through my empty house, my suitcase looks like it exploded, and I’ve only eaten sandwiches the past few days to avoid cooking. As I shove the last boxes into a tiny 7’x7′ container, I marvel at the fact that this POD now holds everything we own in the world.
Packing up the POD is more than just putting our stuff in storage for the next 2-3 months, we are also saying goodbye to any sense of ‘home’ for the near future. Giving up our stability and security is an adjustment, but by pushing ourselves outside of our comfort zones now, our sacrifices will be exchanged for greater gifts down the road. At least, that’s what I told myself last night as I tossed and turned in my sleeping bag.
For the time being, we are adrift. Well, about to be cut loose, anyway—checkout is on Friday. It is terrifying and exciting all at the same time, and we get to discover what we actually need in order to get by day-to-day. Familiar creature comforts are gone as we prepare to live out of 1 suitcase each for the next 2 months, from temporary living at an Airbnb, to driving across the U.S., to our TBD situation on the east coast.
The great news is that I heard from our broker today 🙂 I will update with boat info soon! He’s found us some truly spectacular options.
We are in the final stages of moving out! Sorry there haven’t been as many posts during these last two weeks, but you guys really haven’t missed anything. We’ve been doing more of the same—getting rid of stuff on Bookoo and Craigslist, cleaning out the house room by room, and making numerous trips to the dump.
Here’s the really fun part over the next few days: I get to pack up the POD all by myself! Conor has a field op, and it’s on me to move us out.
Every time I almost have a panic attack, I remind myself that no matter what, by the end of the month, it will all be over, because it has to be. There is no other option. I will do the best that I can to prepare everything, but by the time I need to check out of the house, nothing will keep me here. Didn’t have time to fix the holes in the walls? Charge me, I don’t care. Didn’t mow the lawn? Okay, fine me the $25.
No matter what happens, come March 31, I’m tossing the keys to the housing office and burning rubber out of here. The end result will be the same regardless, I just have to breathe.
I’m daydreaming about April, and our month-long Airbnb vacation in San Clemente. When we get to relax and unwind for a month while still in California before taking a cross-country road trip, all of this will seem worth it. Middle of April is also when our boat broker in New Bern, NC will ramp up the search for our perfect boat!! We should have 4-5 boats lined up for us to see in May.
Taylor and Conor
PS- If anyone you know needs a washer/dryer or a couch, send them my way. They are the last few things we need to get rid of by next week!
As we get further along with our downsizing, it has only gotten easier. It might be the excitement of getting down to the final weeks, or maybe I just want it to be over with because it is EXHAUSTING. Either way, I don’t feel any pangs of regret as our house empties out. The rooms do feel smaller now, though, as everything that made this house uniquely ours is disappearing.
Stuff is just stuff. If we change our minds in 5 years and decide to move back onto land, then we can get more furniture. What really scares me is the thought of forgoing the liveaboard dream because we are too afraid to let go of a favorite bedroom set/couch/dining room table. I refuse to let inanimate objects dictate what we can and cannot do in life.
However, it does make me happy that our stuff is finding new purpose with other families that need it. Donating has been my favorite part (Craigslist and Bookoo are a pain in the butt). Giving to friends and family and neighbors has brought joy to this process. I feel like Santa. Or Oprah.
Three more weeks to go, but we are already sleeping on our mattress on the floor. I’ve never slept better.
Yes, you heard that right…we finally have a concrete plan! I guess all those positive vibes we have been sending out into the universe worked, because we are going to CAMP LEJEUNE! We check out of Camp Pendleton on May 1st. Conor also got his dream job. It feels unreal.
I can’t tell you what a relief it is to have an actual timeline and location. All of the plans we’ve been making over the past few months have been for the best case scenario. We have been holding our breath during the wait, just hoping for it to work out.
We got lucky. So, so lucky.
We decided to downsize, move out of our house, plan a POD pickup, and book an Airbnb for the month of April all under the assumption that everything would fall into place. It was risky (and expensive), but the payoff was worth it, because now the ‘best case scenario’ and the ‘official plan’ are united, and we have already done about 75% of the work!
I also feel like this is the biggest validation that we are on the right path. If our boat plan wasn’t meant to be, it would feel like we were swimming upstream instead. I think the universe is with us instead of against us on this one. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of hard work and planning went into this, and it didn’t just magically happen. However, anyone who has been in the military and rolled the PCS dice for jobs/duty stations knows that the odds aren’t always in your favor. Our outcome is serendipitous, to say the least.
Our to-do list is a nightmare. Seriously. It is all over the place. But Conor found this great tool for keeping us organized and on the same page: Wunderlist. We can both access the app and add info/notes when one of us checks something off, even if we’re apart. One-stop access is so nice because some days I feel like we are chickens running around with our heads cut off. I definitely recommend it for anyone organizing a move, vacation, adventure, etc when multiple people are involved in the planning process. (www.wunderlist.com)
Here’s just an outline of what we are dealing with over the next few weeks:
Before we move out:
Figure out what DITY move entails
Boxes for storage/move
Storage for short term/long term in both California and (hopefully) North Carolina, maybe PODS?
Send stuff not going into storage to our families in Seattle
Move-out paperwork with our housing office (Lease ends March 31!)
Sell furniture on Craigslist
Make 5,000 more trips to the donation center…
Clean ENTIRE HOUSE
Move-out inspection at the end of March
Living in limbo (in California still):
Air BNB or month-to-month apartment lease if we have to stay in California through April or May?
Transfer medical records
Any last-minute vet/doctor/dental appointments
Auto appointments for the cars
Sell Conor’s car
TAXES (shit, almost forgot about those)
Forwarding/change of address for mail
Obsessively look at boat listings and daydream about fast-forwarding to the fun part
Heading to new duty station:
Contact boat brokers in the area, start the boat search!
Road trip across the country/where are we stopping? I vote Nashville!
How much PTAD leave can Conor take?
Military move reimbursement?
Getting the BOAT!:
Meet with broker, look at possibilities he or she has found for us
Pick the right boat
Contact surveyor and have them check everything out
Get boat loan
Reserve slip at marina
Get our boat delivered
FINALLY MOVE IN!
Have a headache yet? Welcome to the club. Those are just the big things on the list, not to mention the smaller day-to-day stuff that pops up. There will be a lot more detail added to the “Getting the Boat” section once we get closer. We just have to stay on top of everything and take it one step at a time.
There are SO many amazing benefits to living aboard on a military base marina. Gottschalk Marina at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina is our dream marina. Here are the perks:
Close proximity to commissary, PX, and hospital
Walking distance to the gym
Central to base
Reasonably priced and it has immediate slip availability (this is the most important part)
SUPER helpful marina staff
‘Clubhouse’ with free laundry
On the bright side, even if we don’t get Camp Lejeune, Marine Corps bases are (almost) always on an ocean. This is different from the Army and the Air Force, where it is possible to be stationed pretty much anywhere. That would be bad news for our sailboat plan if we had to be in middle America! So at least we can operate under the assumption that we will be on a coast, near water, and have a place for our boat, no matter where we end up.