Thursday, September 30, 2021

Goodbye Minnesota!

Today I'm saying goodbye to the only state I've lived in, Minnesota. People often say they are impressed with my craving for adventure as I travel throughout the world, often times alone. I have never been anxious about traveling. However, I have always felt overwhelmed about moving out of Minnesota. Today it does not feel that way. I'm ready. I'm excited!

In my last post I shared Ten Steps to Moving as a Nomad. I was on step #8 and promised I would update you when on step #10. That is happening now. 

  1. Live minimally
  2. Create a budget
  3. Figure out where you want to live. Refer to #2. 
  4. Get approval from Work (and possibly your kids)
  5. Look for housing
  6. Find a place to donate your possessions
  7. Create a project plan
  8. Execute project plan
  9. Take a deep breath and believe in yourself
  10. Jump on an airplane that will take you to your new home 
The most stuff I have ever flown with

My driver - I'm going to miss her

The last couple months I have been executing my project plan. 

Ship Off the Final Offspring. In August my youngest, Annelies, moved to college. I am proud to say I kept both children alive through adulthood. As most college students do, Annelies will stay with me over winter break. I cannot wait to show her my new city!

Annelies at MSU

Secure Storage. As a minimalist, storage facilities make my skin crawl. From a business standpoint they are brilliant, tapping into the overconsumption that plagues America, but I wish our culture would promote sustainability instead. With skin crawling, I secured a storage unit for my favorite possessions as I begin this nomad adventure. The eight (8) totes I am storing include my photo albums (3), collection jars (3) and two (2) totes of miscellaneous memorabilia, paperwork that is not electronic, and high school yearbooks. I have no idea when I will get this stuff but I prepaid two years. 

Storage unit sans License Plate Map

Pack. People keep asking "what are you bringing?" Even to me it seems odd to look at what I packed. I love that my "important documents" are in the same envelope my birth certificate arrived in when I applied for my first passport, in 1991! I kept the letter I wrote to the courthouse. Why I kept that letter, and not the other hundreds of things I donated, is hard for me to explain.

Letter to Courthouse in 1991

Below are questions I asked to determine if I would donate, store or bring with me to California: 
  • For items I do not use for daily activities of life: When you are done with this nomad life, will the item bring you joy? If yes, put in storage. If no, donate.
  • For items I do use everyday: Can you purchase in California? If yes, will it be cheaper to buy new or ship? I considered the sustainability aspect of buying new but justified my decisions knowing if I buy new, my old items would be donated. I know this isn't perfect but I'm buying very little (I will create a post for that later). 
Answers to those questions resulted in stuff to fill one (1) carry on suitcase, two (2) boxes small enough to check-in with Delta, four (4) boxes shipped via USPS, and one (1) gigantic monitor shipped via UPS. This boxing and shipping strategy didn't go exactly as planned so I documented lessons learned at the end of this post. Below is a photo of everything I own (except things in storage). The duffel bags were converted to boxes as I realized they were not sturdy enough. This is it. To me it was way more than I thought I would keep, but I think I did pretty well. My goal for years has been "to fit everything I own in the back of a Prius". I no longer own a Prius but my possessions would have easily fit inside. I call that success!

Everything I own going to California

Boxes shipped via USPS

Moving day meals (Big Mac & Lean Cuisine)

Donate. Obviously, I owned enough to furnish a two-bedroom apartment. I had a vision it would go to a family in need. So I shared that vision on Facebook a couple months ago and my friend Melanie answered the call. Melanie works with Westminster Presbyterian Church, who is working with the Minnesota Council of Churches, to sponsor a refugee family. It isn't always easy to do the right thing, so I cannot thank Melanie and all her refugee champions for working with me on this effort. On Saturday I moved 99.9% of my possessions to the Westminster garage where they will be stored until the refugee family arrives. Melanie just texted today saying a family from Afghanistan was flying into MSP - the same day I'm flying out. As I leave to start a new chapter, that family will be starting a new chapter of their own. I'm hoping my donation will make their transition a bit softer. Wow, this was emotional. In a really good way.

Melanie & me with my donation

Say Goodbye. It didn't feel right having a party to say goodbye due to Covid (I hate Covid) so I spent the last few weeks slowly saying goodbye to friends one-on-one. I moved out of my apartment Saturday and stayed in a hotel the last few days. It was so nice having my last few days with nothing to do but work and say goodbye to friends. Annelies surprised me by driving up from MSU and my last night in Minnesota was spent with my girls!

Last night in Minnesota

Annelies bought me Minnesota chocolate

Jump on an Airplane that will Take you to your New Home. That is where I am now. So here I go my friends! I'll connect with you from my new home...San Jose Cali(freaking)fornia! 

Lessons Learned from Flying to a New Home Nomad-Style:
  • If staying for enough time where you are securing a lease (versus Airbnb), try to find a new building so you can secure the lease a few months out. It helps with planning.
  • It will most likely be cheaper to buy new than rent furniture. Don't sacrifice your home just to get a furnished unit if you live simply.
  • Use a floor plan tool to draw out your apartment before purchasing furniture. Annelies created a digital floor plan for me and I was shocked to see how little I can fit into my 450sf apartment! I used Home By Me.
  • I mailed four (4) medium-size boxes I bought at Home Depot via USPS. The weight ranged from 25 to 45 pounds. It was ridiculously expense ($356.10). I estimated $250 and I'm still not sure why I was so off. The weight didn't matter - just the size of the box. One thing I learned is California has the highest shipping taxes. My first introduction to the California cost of living. 
  • I paid UPS to box and ship my 35" monitor as I didn't have the original packaging. It cost $389 new and $196.05 to ship! Yep, you read that correctly. As I said to the cashier "let me look up the value as I may buy new when I get there and throw this out" she hugged the monitor and said "I will take it". I decided to just go with my original plan and ship. In hindsight, I should have bought a cheaper version when I arrived in San Jose. Lesson learned. But I do love that thing and I will hug her when I land in San Jose.

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