Blog 4: Almost There
We ordered our luggage and packed up all our summer clothes for the trip. I’m either proud to say or not too proud to say (can’t make up my mind there) that I managed to pack all of my clothes for the next 6 months in just one side of my suitcase. While it’s vastly different than packing for any other trip that’s been longer than a week, the idea of bringing so little with me is pretty damn freeing. I made a couple trips to our storage unit with most of the remaining stuff that we weren’t bringing with us. My team at work had a nice farewell luncheon for me before I worked my last few days there. While I won’t miss the daily grind of work, I will miss many of my coworkers. I’m not sure a day went by where I didn’t laugh or throw out at least one movie quote. “I wouldn’t say I’ve been missing it, Bob.”
So as I sit here typing this, I’m not sure it’s really sunk in yet that I no longer have a job. I think it finally dawned on me why I’ve been growing my hair out too. I’m jobless and basically homeless (temporarily at least). I just need a sturdy stick and to tie a sack on the end of it that carries my few clothes before I’ll be all set to wander about the world. There’s actually an entirely different reason for why I grew my hair out, but I’ll likely cover it in another blog. However, since it does seem to fit the narrative at the moment, I think I’ll just roll with that for now. I finished 2019 off with one last day of “work” and then kicked off 2020 by going through my last 4-day shamanic training session. I know the word shaman tends to weird some people out, but it’s really just a fancy way of describing someone who has realized the vast connection between this world and the spiritual world. And while I do not have the space now to go into detail (I’ll just add it to the ever-growing list of topics to discuss in another blog), suffice it to say it was an emotionally and spiritually charged but altogether truly amazing way to start off the year.
I finished the training on Sunday afternoon and we planned on leaving Tuesday late-afternoon to make the drive to Florida. So that meant that we had two days to figure out what to do with the car, pack up the van, put a carload of stuff in storage, and clean the lake house. We had the car listed for sale for a few weeks already, but no real interest. Unfortunately, trying to sell a front-wheel drive car in Wisconsin in the middle of winter isn’t exactly a recipe for success. A 4WD truck would have sold in a matter of hours, but not a car that also needs four new tires. Luckily, through a friend, we found someone who sells vehicles on consignment. The updated plan was now to drop the car off there on the way out of town on Tuesday. We scrambled all day Tuesday, got everything done we needed, and then managed to say goodbye to the lake house by mid-afternoon. We are beyond grateful for Sheri and Kim for offering it up for us for the past month and a half.
I dropped the car off, signed some paperwork, and we were on the road by 4:30 PM. We planned to leave around then so that we could miss the heavy traffic in Chicago, Nashville, and Atlanta by driving straight through. It was bold, especially considering we would have to be in the van for 21+ hours, but we also knew from past experience that stopping for a hotel stay never panned out very well and we’d always end up only getting a couple hours sleep anyway. It was clear sailing through Nashville before I started to feel the effects of the lack of sleep. A stop for a bathroom break, some stretching, and a Monster (I know it’s not good for you, but necessary for our drive throughout the night nonetheless) kept me going until closer to Atlanta when some face-slapping and loud singing were needed to get me through the last little stretch until sunrise.
The good news is that Atlanta is only six hours from our destination in Jacksonville. But the bad news is that, because we had made that drive back and forth at least a dozen times when we used to live in Marietta, we already knew the stretch down I-75 from Macon to I-10 in Florida is a bizarre vortex where time crawls forward at an exceedingly slow pace. Needless to say, about halfway from Atlanta Katie and I were getting downright delirious. Like holy shit delirious! Like the kind of delirious that included all kinds of singing, laughing at pretty much everything, and speaking in various languages we didn’t know. It was either really entertaining or complete insanity, and probably a bit of both. Eventually we made it safely to Katie’s parents’ house by early afternoon. It was quite a glorious feeling to get out of the van for good after 20 and a half hours and minimal stops/breaks.
We had nine more full days until we flew to Costa Rica. Over those nine days we managed to sit by the fire under the first full moon of the year, celebrate Asher’s 6th birthday, get out to the beach twice, get at least a little bit of base tan thanks to some absolutely gorgeous weather, order/buy everything else we needed for our trip, tie up the rest of the loose ends here stateside, and I also managed to squeeze in just enough time to write this blog. Our kids got to spend some quality time with their four cousins, aunt, and grandparents. It was mass chaos at times, but still good. Keep in mind that there were also eight (yes, 8!) dogs, two guinea pigs, and an African Grey parrot in the midst of the seven kids. It was an amazing whirling dervish of energy and noise to say the least! I’ve never been more grateful for having just completed all that spiritual training. God knows I needed to draw on that often!
I know I’ve mentioned how the stars have aligned for us, and they continue to do so. Getting near record highs in the low-80s in northern Florida in January was as great a transition to the expected 90-degree temperatures in Costa Rica as we could have hoped. We are meant to do this, I know it in my bones. We took parts of a couple days to run errands and stock up on the essentials such as sunscreen, mosquito protection, shampoos, vitamins, and other personal care products that would otherwise be much more expensive in Costa Rica. The day prior to our flight we spent doing laundry and packing. I had been pretty worried about bringing all the extras with us and still staying under the 50-pound baggage limit, but we managed to make it work and pack everything we wanted (or at least needed plus a bit of wanted) to bring with us. So we’re all set and ready to fly out tomorrow. It’s still pretty surreal, but we are more than ready to start this journey. Cheers to our past journeys, and pura vida to what’s next!