Closing up and getting out

Finally everything is packed, stored, sold, given away or trashed. The house is cleaned, keys handed over and the Smart found a safe place in a garage. All there is left to follow us around the world is 32 pounds of clothing, computers and toiletry separated into 2 backpacks.

On ferme tout! La Smart est au garage, la maison est vide et nous sommes pret a partir.

BBQ

The last days: Time slips through our fingers. Cutting corners. How much is too much prep? We need to get out of here! The storage starts reaching it’s limits…

The last 2 days were packed with “last time” activities: Tai Chi class at Friday nights, having drinks with friends at Donna Rosa, dinner with friends, shopping at Trader Joe’s, BBQ…

We said good-bye with something which became a trademark of LA for me: A BBQ in a friends backyard. Coming from Berlin I always find it amazing that you can rent your own house with garden in the middle of a city where you can have BBQs all year around.

Thanks Shelley and Detlef!

The group photo shows only a few of our friends who stopped by. Thanks everybody!

Money, get away

How did people travel without online banking, credit cards and pay pal?

These days you just take a bunch of credit cards and ATMs and you are all set. Or so you would think: If you are a real world traveler you are always looking for an opportunity to safe a buck towards your next meal or accommodation. Longtime travelers like Nomadic Matt and Wandering Earl did some serious writing about this. The two guys from Voyage autour du Monde even analyzed their own budgets and other travel blogs and came up with an average daily budget per country. This way you can balance your itinerary around the world between cheap and expensive countries to make it fit your financial resources – and last longer.

We will find out if all the theory will play out as expected.

Smart moves

Our Honda is gone but there is still so much more to move! We are putting our Smart to the test when Nadine does a run to the “Out of the Closet” donation center to drop off whatever we couldn’t sell at the garage sale.

Meanwhile, at home, I did a try run packing my suitcase. Looks like I should get away with 22lbs/10kg max. As recommended on multiple travel sites I use compression bags to reduce the volume. Smart thinking!

Later in the day we stopped by the Army Surplus Store to buy some warm base layer, socks and gloves. In this store you can find great equipment for a quarter of the price you would pay at any other outdoor outfitter shop – if you can ignore fashion . Smart shopping!

The gear is here!

Last week we spend boxing, selling and trashing our current belongings. Today, eight days before our departure, we started buying our gear. After months of research and checking out equipment we have our shopping list ready to be executed. I’m not  going into the details. Anything you need to know about packing for an Around-the-World trip you can find at Voyage autour du monde, Never Ending Voyage, Ridiculously Extraordinary or Thinking Nomads.

I’m just saying: We are getting close!

Garage sale

Second day of  our garage sale. Almost everything is sold!

Yesterday morning the professional vultures were already waiting in their cars in front of our house watching us  carrying out our treasures. Watches, gold jewelry and computer parts were in demand – nothing we could provide. The vultures made room for the treasure hunters who were followed by the bargain hunters and eventually the late risers.

iPhone apps where used to scan ISBN book barcodes to identify a bargain, a local photo student came by to take pictures for a school project and an older Mexican gentleman shopped for little gifts to bring home to family and friends. While a set of liquor glasses will pretty soon board a plane with the Mexican gentleman our radiator made it only into the cold basement of our neighbor.

Tai Chi guidance for the road

My Tai Chi teacher Sifu Sun Anguang allowed me to record him performing the Chen and Yang style long form routine. I want to continue practicing Tai Chi during our trip. The recordings should help me as a guidance.

I feel very honored that I got the privilege of these recordings.

For anybody in Los Angeles who wants to learn any style of Tai Chi I can only recommend Sifu Sun Anguang’s Tai Chi Academy in Alhambra. Say Hello from me when you go!

“I have so much junk!”

We thought we had cleaned out our boxes during the last move. However, there is always more you can get rid off.

When you set your mind to travel for a year with carry-on only you can’t believe all the “junk” you collected over the years and carried around with you.

Last night at a dinner somebody asked us where we would send things to. “Things””didn’t register with us right away. She was talking about the collectibles we would acquire on our trip. We never thought about this. Our mind is set to reduce ballast. Our home is a virtual place for the next year and collecting items to decorate a future physical home didn’t cross our mind.

I guess we deal with it when we cross this bridge.

Real Los Angelinos

Now we are real Los Angelinos. We rent a storage!

It seems to me that one step to become a Los Angelino is to own a storage with a bunch of boxes and garbage that you don’t even remember. While everybody comes to LA to move on and up most people have a problem to let go. While reaching to the stars they are bugged down by the ballast of their past.

Let’s wait and see what will happen to us.

I spent some time to research how to access our Netflix account from outside the US using VPN servers. Very interesting from a strategic point of view. But then again: Why? Wasn’t the trip all about shaking it up and moving on?

Mittens moves out

Our cat Mittens moved to our friends Carsten, Colette and their son Simon. Anticipating that Nadine and I will be stressed out and not paying enough attention to her until our departure in 2 weeks she decided to move her belongings today. From her new home she will follow our travel blog while enjoying the comfortable life in Southern California. We are happy that she found such great hosts! And she made already a new friend!

www.usservas.org

We applied for membership at Servas today.

Servas is a worldwide cooperative cultural exchange network established in 1948 and composed of member hosts and travelers working together to foster peace, goodwill and mutual respect. Servas seeks to realize these aims by providing opportunities for person-to-person contacts between people of diverse cultures and backgrounds. Servas’ mission includes providing approved US and international travelers with opportunities to be guests of Servas member hosts around the world.

We are looking forward to meeting Servas members along the way and to participate in the life and work of our hosts and local communities.