Chucking Stuff

I’ve been raised a bit of a pack rat. I hope my folks don’t get too offended for being sold out on the internet, but my mother has plastic boxes full of ten year old brochures. Heck, she has plastic boxes full of plastic boxes that she no longer uses. My Dad saves all the old screws and nails he pulls out, in addition to everyone’s favorite, the cutout underwear waistbands. I don’t think anyone knows what those are saved for (Dad, care to chime in and clarify?). Needless to say, I was destined to be a “saver”.

What I’ve never really understood is the whole psychology of it all. I’m always worried that something I throw away will be the exact thing I will need somewhere down the line. And therefore, I figure I can just file it away for when that time comes. It’s also the same reason I’ll buy something I don’t need when its a ridiculously good deal. I figure, it’ll be perfect someday, and then I’ll be so thankful I got it when I did. But most of the time, it never actually is useful. But I guess the rare occasions I do have exactly what I want reinforces the behavior enough.

So that’s why I think the most daunting part of this trip is probably what to do with all of the stuff we are leaving behind. In four years of living in this apartment, I’ve managed to accumulate a lot of things. A surprising amount. Especially for the small amount of closet space our apartment allows. Among all the things we are going to need to do this summer, packing up all of our things is going to be a big project.

I keep saying I because Theresa doesn’t have this issue that I do. I keep finding small bundles of clothes in the corner whose presence Theresa explains to me as “I don’t wear them anymore, so I’m gonna throw them out.” I’m pretty sure I have more clothes than Theresa, but I usually wear the same ten shirts, three jeans and four pairs of shorts.o fortunately, I have her to help me out with my “affliction.” She’s got a pretty good gauge of whats useful or not and she’s more than happy to share it with me. It doesn’t necessarily make throwing it away any easier though. Of course, I know to ignore her indignant stares about my video games and other electronics.

But needless to say, it’s the one thing about preparing for this trip that I’m dreading the most. Which I guess is good, because as far as issues go, its a pretty minor one. So are you a chucker or a saver? A Theresa or a Jeff? How are you able to fight your compulsions? I’d love some psychological help this summer.

Time’s a Ticking

October still sounds like it’s a long way off. With summer just taking off, I think of October, a distinctly fall month, and I convince myself that we have plenty of time to get things figured out. But, the truth is, the clock is tick, tick, ticking.

Our mid-October departure date is only 4.5 months away, but in reality we have even less time than that. Jeff will be leaving for Sweden in late August, and I’ll be following him at the beginning of September (provided we get the okay next week for him to proceed with his thesis defense). We won’t return until the beginning of October, at which point we’ll tie up loose ends and take off. We’ll be notifying our landlady in just one month of our intent to move out, actually moving our stuff to Louisville in mid-August, and turning in the keys at the end of August. That’s soon!

Which means there are a lot of things to be done in a short amount of time. (And in saying that, I’m just referring to trip planning things, not Jeff’s writing his thesis or me hiking my remaining 40 trails and completing my book.) Fortunately, if there is one characteristic that I have it’s discipline. I can always buckle down and get the job done. I do what needs to be done, and I don’t accept excuses. So I’m going to lay out a couple of items here that I want to get done in the upcoming weeks. Having them here for all the world to see will provide me with the necessary motivation to get them done. I’m not sure, however, how inspiring Jeff will find this. He doesn’t seem to have the guilt issues I have.

To Do in the Month of June

1. Lay out a general itinerary for the South America leg of the trip (estimated length of stay in each country and must-see sites).
2. Purchase life insurance.
3. Reorder contacts and get a large enough supply to last the entire trip.
4. Determine what vaccinations we are going to get and when/where we’re getting them.
5. Figure out what we have to do to assign power of attorney to someone else to handle our finances. (Any lawyer friends out there want to help us make sense of this?)
6. Make a list of everything we still need to buy.

I’m tempted to continue, but I’m trying to be realistic (not always my strong suit) about what we can accomplish. Anything you can think of that I’m leaving off but should be getting around to about now?

Ahhh Beaches

We are now back from vacation. Life starts again tomorrow. We enjoyed our vacation to the fullest. No thinking, no doing, no working, just relaxing on the beach.

Having grown up in Hawaii, I have quite high standards when it comes to beaches. Smooth sand, hot sun, warm, clear water good for bodyboarding and with lots of marine life to investigate. Well, Litchfield Beach was 4 for 5. The water could’ve been clearer =). The sand softly massaged your feet, the sun slowly baked you (and in some cases fried you to a crisp … just ask Theresa), and the water was a refreshing relief. We saw alligators (on our river kayak trip), sting rays in the surf, washed up jellyfish, ospreys carrying off their catch, pelicans soaring by, scores of shells littering the beaches. We had a great time playing in the surf, getting crushed riding the waves into shore. There’s just nothing quite like a great beach.

So I’m really, really looking forward to the plethora of beaches we’ll happen across as we travel. I’ve already noticed myself seeking them out in our borrowed guidebooks, in Nicaragua, Venezuela, Ecuador and Peru (to say nothing of the legendary Brazilian, Thai and Vietnamese beaches whose country’s guidebooks we have yet to look at). I know that we won’t be able to take the time to relax at them all, but man, there’s no better place to recharge after a bustling city or a weeklong trek. So here’s to hoping we find the time to settle in a few times at a cozy beach cabana and relax a day or two away.