The Million Dollar Question: Decisions Have Been Made

They say you can’t go home again, but I’m going anyway.

LOL – I said I wasn’t going to write this week, but guess what I’ve been doing!

For the past several weeks, day after day after day we have talked and talked and talked some more about where or whether to settle, have over and over the pros and cons of each option again and again, have made lists, and have debated whether we wanted to buy a house again or not (we even went so far as to get a pre-approval from our bank to see how much house we could afford) or buy a car.

We changed our minds several times, and went back and forth, with a new option added to our list at one point, not that we needed another one in the mix. But, eventually we were able to come to a decision.

I now believe that our indecision is what brought on or worsened my insomnia – once we made up our minds all of that went away (well, that and a drastic reduction in the amount of caffeine I consume). All I could think about every night was where should we live? What’s the best location for us? It was driving me crazy and keeping me awake.

The order of our final list feels right. Nothing has been chiseled into stone yet, but we can finally start thinking more about and working toward what comes next.

Here is the new list, and how we ordered our choices:

  1. San Clemente, CA. I’m still a California girl at heart. And, I’ve always loved San Clemente and the surrounding area (Dana Point and Laguna Beach) – back when we decided to leave Portland, it was the #2 area on our list after Hawai’i. The opportunity to live there now ticks off a lot of the most important boxes for both of us though: warm, sunny weather, low humidity, being close to the ocean, and friends living nearby to name a few. It’s eas(ier) for family to get there, and a place people love to visit. Our biggest hurdle will be finding an affordable place to live – coastal prices in California can be like Hawaii’s, or higher, but we’re into living small and simply these days so that will help us find something affordable. We’ve definitely decided we don’t want to buy again, and we’ve also pretty much decided that we’re not going to buy a car, and that we’d like to try to get by without one for as long as possible. However, there’s a trolley service in the San Clemente area that can get us around somewhat and otherwise we will use a rideshare service like Uber or Lyft, or we’ll walk. If we want or need to take a longer journey we’ll rent a car. Also, Amtrak connects San Clemente to both Los Angeles and San Diego – San Clemente is located halfway between the two cities.

    The town of Laguna Beach is connected to San Clemente via Dana Point by the trolley service.
  2. Another year of travel. This option sort of popped up unbidden, but once we started talking about it we became interested in the idea, and realized we could continue if we wanted.  There are still many places we want to visit, and we’ve come to see that a longer stay in each place works best for us rather than moving around ever few days or so. However, while the thought of spending time in new places is motivating, it also feels a bit exhausting right now. To be honest, I was more enthusiastic about the idea than Brett – he would rather settle down and then travel once a year or more, staying in a place for a month or so and being Occasional Nomads versus Full Time Nomads.
  3. Northern Arizona. This was our mystery location, another choice that just sort of popped into our consciousness, but once it did it really took hold. We liked the area a lot when we visited in 2017, and there were several locations to consider: Flagstaff, Williams, Prescott, and Sedona. The big drawbacks for us were the extreme dryness and lack of water, and the cold winters, but we otherwise love the natural beauty of the area, and the proximity to the Grand Canyon and other areas in Arizona and the southwest. We’d absolutely need to purchase a car here though, something that eventually made this location less appealing.
  4. Strasbourg, France. This option went to the bottom of the list not because we don’t love, love, love Strasbourg, but because as we talked it over and got into the weeds, we could see how complicated it would be, from the language to applying for a visa to finding housing to the kids visiting and so forth. A move there is really more than we want to take on at this stage of our lives.

One of the biggest factors contributing to the order of our list as well is that beginning in 2021 we will need to contribute somewhat significantly to the cost of YaYu’s education at Bryn Mawr during her last two years there. While all the girls currently receive generous financial aid because of all three being in school at the same time, that number dwindles to two next year because Meiling graduates this June, and beginning in the fall of 2020 it will be just YaYu attending college. She’ll still qualify for aid, but it won’t cover the full cost, and we want to help her through enough that she won’t need to take out student loans, or at the least, borrow very little (both Meiling and WenYu will graduate with no debt). After crunching the numbers, a simple life in Southern California actually puts the least amount of strain on our income, even with the high rents. Although California has high taxes, we’ve done the calculations with our income and ours shouldn’t be much, especially if we don’t own a car.

We also want to set aside money every month to cover the cost of a long-term visit to Japan every 15 months or so (for at least a month) and for other travel as well, and we have to buy some furniture too, so all those are some other financial considerations.

Anyway, a decision has been made and we can now move on to planning what comes next and when. It is a big relief to us to finally have a decision, and we’re feeling very good right now about where things are.

The Million Dollar Question

At every stop since we began traveling we have been asked: Where are you going to settle when you finish? The answer is always the same: We still don’t know.

I almost can’t believe we haven’t decided where we want to end up when the Big Adventure is over. I made a list this past fall of possible locations and ideas, but after some more travel we’ve decided against some of those. We had thought Seattle might be a great place to land, but after a month in Portland in December we were reminded of why we left the Pacific Northwest, so that idea fell off the list. After just a 10-day road trip around New Zealand, and never being able to unpack our suitcases, our idea of a long-term driving trip around the U.S. felt a whole lot less interesting as well. We thought for a while that Tucson, Arizona might be a great place to end up – it ticked off a lot of boxes, and we could afford a house with a pool there! – but then we stepped off the train in the middle of the Australian desert and realized we did not want to deal with the climate, pool or no pool. Just as we would be stuck indoors during the winters in Seattle, we would be stuck inside during the summer, or trying to escape.

So, since time is becoming more and more of the essence, we’re still talking about what is important to us, and getting those things on a list. In no particular order, they are:

  • We are happiest when we’re near the water, especially the ocean, but lake or rivers make us happy as well.
  • Abundant sunshine is a must, although we don’t like dealing with extreme temperatures or humidity. We don’t mind cold weather, or snow once in a while.
  • We enjoy city life, but don’t miss it or need it as much as we once thought we did, especially big cities. We’re OK living near a city, but not necessarily in one.
  • We would prefer not to own a car, but can see now that we will probably need to have one no matter where we live, with a couple of exceptions. This will be specially true if we don’t live in a city.
  • We like locations where we can walk, even if we own a car and it’s just for walking’s sake.
  • We need to live where it’s easy and somewhat affordable for our children and their (eventual for some) families to come visit, or for us to visit them. This is the primary reason we decided not to return to Kaua’i, as much as we miss it and would love to go back.

There’s a few more things, but we are clearer now about what we’re looking for in a location, and have narrowed it down to three options. We are still doing our due diligence on #3, so I’ve left off the name of the place for now:

  • Strasbourg, France. We’re still in love with this city and it still has a lot going for it. Pros: The size is manageable and there’s lots to see and do; there is great public transportation (no car necessary); it’s flat and very walkable and also a great place for bike riding; it’s quite affordable; the food is wonderful; it’s in a great location for travel to other places we want to see; and, as for water a river runs through the middle of town. Also, our family have all said they would come visit us there as we’d only be 1.5 hours from Paris. Cons: The visa process (mostly time consuming), and the big one: we don’t speak French! We would have to spend a lot of time and money on French lessons before we go and after we arrived.
  • San Clemente, California. This charming beach town was my home away from home growing up, and is located about halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego in Orange County. Even though I know it’s not the same now, it still holds a special place in my heart (along with Laguna Beach and Dana Point). Pros: The weather and the beach are the primary ones, and it’s a walkable town if you’re located on the west side of US 101 (El Camino Real). We also know people who live in the area, a big plus for us. Cons: Housing costs are very high (think Hawaii high), and there is not a lot available in our price range. We would have to have a car again, and Southern California traffic can be hellish at times. Also, California is not a great place for retirees when it comes to taxes, although we’ve crunched the numbers and our tax burden wouldn’t be much. Living in San Clemente would be all about location, location, location, and because we no longer have children living at home it’s something we can afford to do. It also costs a LOT less to get to and from here than it does from Kaua’i.
  • Mystery Location, USA: We’re still doing research, but this small town is fairly near a couple of bigger cities with a university and medical facilities but without being too close (i.e. not a suburb). We’d have to drive to those cities though for many things though, including some of our groceries and such, so we’d definitely need to own a car if we settle here. The area gets plenty of sunshine overall but without high temperatures in the summer, and humidity is low year-round (it does get some snow in the winter though). The area is affordable, and it’s an OK location tax-wise for retirees, and is located near some beautiful natural areas that we love to visit, so some more positives. There are a few small lakes in the area, but not really a lot of water around which is a bit of a negative for us.

We have no need to buy a home, at least not initially. We enjoyed not owning a home when we lived in Hawaii (in spite of our awful landlord), and we’ve gone over the numbers and with new tax laws in place having a mortgage no longer makes much sense for us other than we wouldn’t have to worry about rent increases. We recognize that we are still “restless people” at heart and would prefer not to be tied down with all the many things that home ownership entails.

We’ve committed ourselves to a firm decision by the time we leave Japan in mid May so that we can start working toward that move. In the meantime we will continue to research our options, consult with our son (who is no longer quite so opposed to us living in France), and think about what will be best for us and our family in the long term.

It Was A Very Good Year

2018 was a wonderful year for us. We are well, our family is well and working toward their goals, and everything that we wanted and needed to happen, happened. After several rejections or places on a waitlist, YaYu was accepted at one of her top college choices and she’s now working hard and having a grand time. Although it meant saying goodbye to Kaua’i, we met our saving goals for the Big Adventure and finally put our plan in motion and set out on our travels at the end of August.  Brett and I saw and experienced places and things last fall that we never thought we would in our lifetimes, and we are ready to continue with Part II. We even got our deposit back from our awful landlord, something we did not think was going to happen unless we took him to court this year.

We have 11 more months of travel to look forward to this year, although some of that will be three-month stays in Japan, Portland and England. We’ll be in Portland again next summer, staying on the west side of the Willamette River for a change and living without a car, new experiences for us, so it will still be something of an adventure. Wrapping around our Portland stay will be visits to India, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and England – we can’t wait!

If this year is anything at all like the past year, time is going to slip by very quickly. Somewhere in all our gallivanting around we’re going to have to make a decision about where to land once our travels are over. Even if we decide we want to keep going in some fashion, we need some sort of a solid home base once again. Where that will be is still unknown, with our ideas currently like a bowl of jello, setting along the outside rim but with the center still quite liquid and jiggly. Eventually though everything will firm up and we’ll know where we’re heading.

Do Brett and I have any goals for this year? Of course – we always have goals! Most are fairly general and the same as last year, but we have added one new one at the end:

  • Get where we need to be on time.
  • Enjoy ourselves and each other’s company wherever we are.
  • See and do as much as we can in each place we visit without overdoing it or feeling guilty if we miss something.
  • Stick with our budget, live small, and don’t buy anything unless necessary or planned.
  • Make a firm decision on where to settle when we’re done and then work toward getting ourselves ready to be there at the beginning of December.

Everything else is fluid, with several unknowns right now. They can be planned for later.

I’m not sure we can top last year, but we’re going to try very hard. 2018 was a very, very good year!

Our Gap Year

Our unofficial gap year motto

Gap year: A constructive time out in between life stages. It can mean traveling, volunteering or working abroad.

A short while ago Bob Lowry, in his blog, Satisfying Retirement, wrote a post: Taking A Gap Year: Not Just For Young Adults Any More. Until I read it I had never for a moment considered that our current travels could be considered a gap year experience instead of just a big trip, but it looks like that’s exactly what Brett and I are in the midst of. We’re taking a year off to travel and figure out what direction we want to take next as we segue between forty years of child-rearing and becoming empty-nesters.

Up to now, I had only thought of the Big Adventure as a wonderful travel adventure. We’ve been having the best time, and are looking forward to further destinations and experiences in the coming year. We’ve learned lots along the way, about ourselves and each other; seen and experienced things we never thought we ever would or could; and our marriage is stronger than ever. It really is the trip of a lifetime.

However, our travels have proven to be more than just going from place. Over and over along the way we’ve found ourselves discussing options for what will come next and where we’d like to end up. Those choices have also turned out to be a bit more fluid than we imagined. The big changes in our lifestyle that have occurred, like living with so much less than we did before, and identifying as a couple once again versus full-time parents, have given us new insight as to where and what we see ourselves doing at the end of next year. Just like how plans for the Big Adventure changed from what we initially had dreamed of, we’ve been surprised by how differently we think about the future now. What’s currently important to us is different from it was just a few short months ago when we set out.

For example, we had been seriously talking about settling in Seattle when we finished, renting an urban apartment and enjoying life in a big city. We love the Pacific Northwest, and we love Seattle, but just a few days of cold, gloom and rain here in Portland quickly reminded us of why we moved to Hawai’i a few years ago, and that a location with more sun than not will be a serious factor in choosing where we want to land when we’re done traveling. Seattle, we’ve realized, is a place we love to visit, but it’s not where we would be happy living any more.

Getting to take this year off was so much more though than just coming up with a plan and an itinerary, or saving money. It was more than the girls getting accepted into the colleges they attend, earning scholarships and receiving adequate financial aid, more than making the difficult decision to leave Kaua’i. Instead, it was several pieces coming together for us at the right time. If even one of these pieces had not happened the way it did or when it did our life most likely would be very different now. We got lucky and we know it. I’m somewhat astonished these days, when I think about it, by all the things that had to come together to make our Big Adventure happen. We sort of stumbled onto the idea, got to planning and saving to make it happen and everything really did just sort of fall into place.

In hindsight, we could have greatly used a gap year when Brett retired from the navy into civilian life. Also, some time off between sending our son to college and having our girls come home would have let us catch our breath back then. So, I know how blessed we are to have this opportunity now, not only for the experience of travel, but to give ourselves a chance to reset as we segue into yet another different phase of life. What we’re doing is not possible for everyone, nor does everyone want or need a break between different life stages. But we have been given a great gift, a “senior” gap year, and we plan to continue to make the most of it.

We Have Options

If Brett and I have learned anything it’s that it’s never too early to start thinking of the future and making plans, if necessary. Anyone who has been reading this blog or one of my earlier ones knows that we like to set goals and then get to planning so those goals can be achieved .

Our current Big Adventure will continue for another 13 months – we will finish up at the end of a three-month stay in England in November 2019. But then what? We know from experience that it’s not too early to begin thinking of which direction we might like to go afterwards.

So, we have started talking about what happens “after.” While the topic doesn’t dominate our conversations and we aren’t close to a decision yet, we have come up with three distinct options for the future, all of which are pretty much running equal at this point. We’re not in any hurry to make a decision because none of the options will require as much advance planning as the Big Adventure did, and we have the time now to think more about and weigh each plan as well as get input from our family before a final decision is made.

The three options we have settled on at this point are:

The idea of living in a small urban apartment is very appealing.
  • Settle down somewhere. That is, rent an apartment (we have absolutely no interest in buying a home), buy furniture, etc. and set up housekeeping in one place. There are lots of advantages to this option, especially when it comes to our children and their eventual plans, and we imagine this will be their first choice for us. We would like to live in an urban area, where we can continue to walk to get our groceries and use other facilities, or use public transportation when necessary. But, east coast or west coast? Our son and family will continue to live in Japan and they come to the west coast almost every year, but there’s a very strong possibility our daughters will end up living in the east. So, lots still to think about when it comes to this option. And, Brett and I wonder if we’ll really be ready to settle down, even after another year of travel.

    We could definitely see ourselves living in Strasbourg for a while.
  • Live overseas for a while. We completely and totally fell in love with Strasbourg when we were there and can still envision living there, for at least a year anyway. We loved the city and its amenities, its affordability, its cuisine, how easy it was to get around to other areas in France from there and its proximity to other parts of Europe. Of course, moving overseas would require us doing a ton of paperwork in order to obtain a long-term Schengen visa, we would have to become more proficient in French, and we would have to find a place to live and then furnish it (hello IKEA!). The biggest negative is that we would be a great distance away from our children for a while which is something we would have to seriously consider. However, this might be the time to do something like this, before more grandchildren come along. The option is appealing enough that we are giving it serious consideration.

    Brett and I have always loved road trips and the options they provide.
  • Continue the Big Adventure in the United States. This choice would entail buying a car (a Prius most likely) and driving around the U.S. and Canada for a year or longer, staying in Airbnb rentals just like we’re doing now. Brett and I have seen a lot of the United States over the years, and we’ve lived in a variety of places throughout the country, and both of us would enjoy having the opportunity to stay in different locations for a while and see more of an area than “just passing through.” The biggest negative with this plan for us is having to buy a car and picking up all the expenses that go along with that – it’s not an idea we’re crazy about.

Brett and I are definitely, as our son has said, “restless people.” We are greatly enjoying our current nomadic lifestyle and can see ourselves continuing in some form, but the idea of settling in some place where we could continue to travel now and again also has some serious advantages. All three of the above plans come up frequently in conversation these days, with us discussing the pros and cons and how we would or could pull them off. They always seem to end up getting ranked differently each time we talk about them too which means we need to have a lot more conversation and do some more thinking about each one. Thankfully we have over a year to decide, but at some point we’re going to have to choose one and then let the real planning begin.

Which one would be your choice?

Gelato Every Day: Week 1

Day 1: I chose banana and tiramisu flavors (they paired well); Brett had mint chocolate and cookies & cream with chocolate.

We’ve been in Florence now for just over a week. One of our many goals while here was to try to have gelato every day, and we’ve been doing a pretty good job of it so far. We missed going out the day before yesterday because of the weather, but otherwise have made a point of indulging ourselves every day.

Day 2: Zuppa Inglese and a scoop of panna with chocolate & orange for me; cherries and cream and peanut butter for Brett.

The availability of different flavors has been frankly astonishing, limited only by the gelato makers’ imaginations. I think too that we’re already becoming “gelato snobs;” that is, we always choose the shop with a wide variety of different flavors versus one that only carries the “standards.”

The persimmon flavor was so amazing we both had to get some. I added green tea, and Brett had honey vanilla with his.

One other great thing we’ve discovered is that you can have two flavors for the same price as one – gelato is sold by the size of the cone or cup, not how many scoops you get. What a concept! We usually opt to have our gelato in a cone, but tried cups the other day. I didn’t think it tasted as good from a cup or was as fun so it will be all cones, all the time for me now. Brett is fine with having his gelato in a cup now and again.

Day 4: I chose ricotta with figs and black sesame. Eating gray gelato was a bit strange but the flavor was fantastic! Brett had mandarin orange and crema, which combined in sort of Dreamsicle. As you can see, the gelato was melting fast that day – it got kind of messy for a while there.

One week down, three more to go! Stay tuned for updates. Also, Brett’s job as a hand model is secure.

We tried out the little gelato shop just down the street yesterday, before the thunderstorms returned. After sampling almost all their interesting flavors I chose pomegranate and bergamot; Brett had stratiacella (crema with chocolate chips) and zabajone al marsala (egg creme with sweet marsala). Man-oh-man was the gelato at this place good – we’ll definitely be going back!

 

Goodbye June, Hello July

July is going to be busy but pivotal month for us – we’re scheduled to move out of the house on the 28th and over to the condo we rented. We’re greatly looking forward to our stay there because Brett and I will have no obligations other than to relax and enjoy our remaining time on the island – we’ll finally get to take a Kaua’i “vacation” (YaYu will continue to work right up until we leave though). The condo is the same one our son and family stayed in earlier this year, with that fabulous pool, which is where I intend to be spending most of my time while we’re there, either swimming in it or sitting by the side under an umbrella.

The “lazy river’ feature at the condo pool

Here’s how we did with last month’s goals:

  1. Pay at least $900 on our credit card. We paid $3210 toward our remaining balance (we sold an additional $435 worth of things this past weekend). Just a little more to go!
  2. Purchase travel insurance. It turned out we didn’t need to buy this because our credit card already provides insurance for things like lost luggage, cancelled flights, etc. and our health and dental insurance are valid all over the world. In fact, we discovered that – surprise! – because we have military health insurance we were ineligible for regular travel health insurance.
  3. Clean, oil and buff all the tansu. Done! Cheryl and Alan arrive this week and we’ll get them all moved over to their house.
  4. Take down and package TV; disassemble and clean girls’ bunkbed. Done! Both of these items are also going over to Cheryl and Alan.
  5. Take down all art work from the walls; fill and repair nail holes. Done! This pictures went in our shipment, and I defy the landlord to find even one of the nail holes I repaired.
  6. Empty pantry, clean shelves (repaint if necessary). Done!

    The finished pantry closet – it almost looks better now than it did when we moved in! (I wish I had ‘before’ pictures – it was a mess)
  7. Take all items to be shipped for storage into the garage for the movers. Done – the movers came and picked up everything last Friday.
  8. Start pricing items for moving sale. We’re off to a slow start with this, but will finish it off this week, once we’ve gotten everything else out of the house and over to Cheryl and Alan’s.
  9. We also took four big bags of stuff to the thrift store and are working at filling another one.

Here are our goals for July:

  1. Hold garage sale on July 6 through July 8; take all items that don’t sell to the thrift store.
  2. Deep clean the house like we’re preparing for a navy-style white glove inspection.
  3. Detail car and list for sale on July 20. The rental car for our last month on Kaua’i is already arranged.
  4. Pack suitcases and move to the condo on the 28th.

Just four goals this month, but they will keep us busy!

 

Goodbye May, Hello June

June doesn’t actually arrive for another couple of days, but we now officially have less than two months to go before we move out of our rental house, and there is more than plenty to do in the coming month to continue to get ready for that.

First though, here’s how we did with last month’s goals:

  1. Pay at least $900 on our credit card balance. We paid $4613.50 on the balance. We still have a bit more to go though.
  2. Clean out paper files. Brett took care of this, and got our entire file box compressed down to one envelope of papers to keep.

    Before: The original finish on the table was dissolving, and a hot mess thanks to heat, humidity and salt.
  3. Strip, sand and oil table top. Done – the table is beautiful and ready to go to its new owners!

    After: Believe it or not, this is the same edge on the table. Citrustrip, mineral oil and a little elbow grease made the table gorgeous once again!
  4. Reserve window cleaners and house cleaners for move out in July (we’ll need help with the windows and floors). We decided to do these tasks ourselves.
  5. Clean out bookshelves in YaYu’s room and help YaYu fill at least one bag of stuff for the thrift store. The most difficult task of all because she hates to throw away anything (but of course can’t take it with her to college either), but she got it done! We filled one bag of stuff from her room along with another bag from around the house to go to the thrift store.

Here are our goals for June:

  1. Pay at least $900 on our credit card.
  2. Purchase travel insurance.
  3. Clean, oil and buff three tansu for new owner.
  4. Take down and package TV for new owner; disassemble girls’ bunkbed and clean.
  5. Take down all art work from the walls; fill and repair nail holes.
  6. Empty pantry, clean shelves (repaint if necessary).
  7. Take all items to be shipped and stored into the garage for the movers.
  8. Start pricing items for moving sale.

Let’s see how it goes!

 

Goodbye April, Hello May

Here’s hoping we will be able to go to the beach in May!

Here’s how we did with last month’s goals:

  1. Put at least $900 into our travel savings account. We saved $1005 last month; it all went toward the balance on our credit card.
  2. Continue to look for and possibly book air travel down to Buenos Aires. I found a great non-stop fare from Miami, so these tickets are booked.
  3. Clean out and shut down the garage freezer. Done!
  4. Use up as many condiments as possible in the refrigerator. We made good progress with this; there are just a few more things to use up.
  5. Move my IRA from the local bank to our primary bank; help YaYu open an account at our primary bank. We decided to leave my IRA in the local bank for now to maintain Hawai’i as our state of domicile, but got YaYu’s new account opened.
  6. Order lei and a haku for YaYu’s graduation. We still have to do this, but my daughter-in-law wants to go with me to the flower shop. YaYu will be getting five different lei: one from her brother and each of her sisters, one from Brett’s sister and brother-in-law, and one in memory of her grandparents. Brett and I will give her a floral haku (head wreath).
  7. Take at least one bag of stuff to the thrift store. We could not find enough stuff to fill a bag this past month! We did take some other stuff though.

Here are our goals for May:

  1. Pay at least $900 on our credit card balance.
  2. Clean out paper files.
  3. Strip, sand and oil table top.
  4. Reserve window cleaners and house cleaners for move out in July (we’ll need help with the windows and floors).
  5. Clean out bookshelves in YaYu’s room and help YaYu fill at least one bag of stuff for the thrift store.

Once again, we’ll see how we do!

 

 

Goodbye March, Hello April

Although some good things happened for us last month, I think we were all glad to see the end of March come around. Mainly because we’ve all been pining for blue skies and warmer temperatures, but also because we are eager to keep moving forward toward the fall and the big changes that will be coming around for all of us. We’re making progress, but it still feels like there is so very, very much to get done, and not enough time to do it all. Things are still moving though, albeit slowly for now, but will pick up speed the closer we get to our move out date.

Anyway, here’s how we did with March’s goals:

  1. Put at least $900 into our travel savings account. We put $1067.50 in to our account. Lots of it came right back out to pay for all the reservations we made at the end of the month.
  2. Clean out at least three cabinets in the kitchen. Done! I organized two cabinets and one now holds the dishes we’re storing, and the other holds the ones we’re letting go. I also cleaned out the baking cabinet; most of what’s in there now are items we’re using now but selling later.

    Although we’re still using them for now, these dishes are all being sold.
  3. Clean out and organize my nightstand. Done! There was an awful lot of junk in there.
  4. Clean out the two tansu in the living room (they’ve both been sold). Done! Most of the stuff that’s left are things we’ll continue to use until the buyers come to claim the chests.
  5. Narrow our list of suitable Airbnb rentals for the first half of our trip. Done! We’ve reserved all our homes for the first half of the trip, with the total less than $30 over our budget.
  6. Set up an additional area in the garage for moving sale items. Done! And it’s filling up fast.
  7. Take at least one bag of stuff to the thrift store. We filled one bag last month.

Here are our goals for April:

  1. Put at least $900 into our travel savings account.
  2. Continue to look for and possibly book air travel down to Buenos Aires.
  3. Clean out and shut down the garage freezer.
  4. Use up as many condiments as possible in the refrigerator.

    So many (hot) sauces, so little time
  5. Move my IRA from the local bank to our primary bank; help YaYu open an account at our primary bank.
  6. Order lei and a haku for YaYu’s graduation.
  7. Take at least one bag of stuff to the thrift store.

Once again, we’ll see how we do!