How do we live an almost completely mobile life carrying belongings in small, 20-25 pound packs? In part, we live in a cloud.
As we prepare our last bags tonight at our friend Lisa’s house and head toward Latin America in a few hours, we are wondering if the preparations of the past three years will work. During those years, we slowly converted everything we could to electrons. We have learned a lot from reading reviews, blogs, and asking others about their path to freedom.
We scanned most of our old photos (or at least Jess’s nephew Jack did!) and in the end, sent the last few hundreds to Digmypics. They professionally brought the memories of a lifetime to us via a DVD and albums on Google’s Picassa. The images are more available than they have been to either of us in the past decades and the memories are rich. We converted all of our music with Itunes to mp3 files. We took pictures or scanned things that we had moved from house to house for years including notes from friends, old sports awards, etc. We went through our filing cabinets and scanned important papers. All of these and more are available to us on the Ipod Touch, Iphone, and Ipad as well as anywhere there is web access through a wonderful program called Dropbox.
Mail was a particular challenge for us. Because we no longer have a physical address in Gunnison, Colorado, we had to find somewhere to receive mail. The solution was a service called MailForwarding.com. We changed our address to Michigan and the company there receives our mail, scans the envelope, and notifies us via email that it has arrived. We then may request that they open it, forward it, shred it, or scan and email it to us. As a backup, Sally’s sister in Fort Collins receives any forwarded mail. (Sandy, you rock!)
We researched the one financial institution that refunded ATM fees, charged no foreign transaction fees, and offered excellent online banking (Charles Schwab). We obtained a credit card with the best exchange rates and no foreign transaction fees (Capital One).
Piece by piece the physical manifestations of our life became electronic and accessible. Our phone will be turned off at midnight but if our preparations have worked, we will be in contact through our emails, Skype accounts as well as this blog.
Posted in Los Angeles, California