On the road, finally
(re-edited on March 19, 2017)
About six months ago my husband and I were perched and bloated on the couch after our usual extravagant Friday night dinners. We looked at each other and said "it's time to take a detour". From that day forward, we initiated a plan to sell our business and our home and leave Seattle and start a new life in a new year. In all honesty, we were ready to leave right then and there, but it seemed like it would be wise to give ourselves a little time, since we had never actually been good at planning. Six months seemed like plenty of time to tie up loose ends.
Of course, we failed to anticipate the emotional toil it would take to peel off and discard the many layers of our lives, stripping away our identities to a thin strand blowing in the wind. Our beloved dog was old and suffering, we were tired of our house, the bakery had come to full fruition and it was time for a new project, and Seattle was officially under reconstruction and the ground was literally being pulled out from under us. These things made it easy to leave.
However, we soon realized it was much easier to say good bye to a sweater at the Goodwill bin than a friend. At times, we began to think if we did not slow down, we might gain too much momentum and end up with nothing and nobody.
As the process of our great exodus from Seattle unfolded, obstacles we never thought possible revealed their ugly heads. At one point, we started to think the Gods of Seattle, perhaps Chief Sealth himself, were trying to keep us in Seattle just a few days longer, or maybe forever. We questioned daily whether it would all be worth it.
We had no foundation.
We fell in love with Airstreams because they have always been made in America, and they were easy and more stable to tow, which was important since we were new to towing. But Airstreams are basically the VW bus of the trailer world, as we learned both second and first hand.
Our first was a very affordable 1978 and the plan was to paint the cabinets and slightly remodel the interior, and swap out the twin beds for a queen folding futon. Turns out, not only was the sub floor rotten, but the frame underneath was cracked in the rear near the bathroom. In order to fix this, the entire shell would have to be removed, which needed to be done professionally, and no restoration specialists had any openings that fit our timeline or budget.
So we sold our 1978 and purchased a 1992 only to discover the sub floor was also rotten. Maybe we should just stay and rebuild our foundation here in Seattle.
Also, we could not leave Seattle without a truck, and our truck was a lemon.
Our first truck, a 2004 Dodge Ram, had been known for engine failure, but this one had already had it's engine replaced. Problem solved. Not really. That truck gave us more trouble than any other car we owned, including both VW Buses, including breaking down leaving me stranded in Mt. Vernon so after investing several thousand dollars failing to diagnose the problem, we sold the truck, at a huge loss. We bought a very expensive almost new 4x4 Diesel Van, the last car we we ever own.
Every day was filled with doubt.
Selling a business was initially very fun since I had never done anything like it and I love trying new things. But until you get that check in your hand, every day becomes a question about whether or not the deal will go through. Living with that doubt on a daily basis had no other possible outcome than taking a toll on our emotional state. Exhausted, simple decisions immediately took on a stronger impact.
You might lose your favorite thing.
When we began this process, John had six different bicycles and I had two. After careful consideration, John chose to keep his custom bike, and I chose to keep my steel bike that I had taken on tour. On our last week in Seattle, John's custom bike broke leaving him with zero bikes.
It turns out there is a process when you coat your bike in something like nickel called "hydrogen embrittlement" which in short means "it will crack your bike in two" if you do not drive the hydrogen out after dipping it in nickel.
And so, last minute, John had to get and build a new bike. He's not happy to have to make such a quick decision, but he can at least keep the pedals moving.
But in the end, our persistence prevailed, and we knew that it was super important to trust our gut and we knew deep down that all of the obstacles had just made us stronger. Also, the weather had gotten so cold in Seattle that Fall that it became really easy to push forward. And so our journey begins with multiple endings, and we press forward into chaos to no place or no where in particular.