Life is filled with responsibility. There’s no escaping it. It goes wherever we may go. Self discipline is the driving force to commit us to responsibility.
Some have asked if we will have a sense of freedom, leaving behind work, finally both retired, of the day to day responsibilities of the upkeep and maintenance of a home, a lifestyle we have clung to for decades and the love-centered responsibilities that come with the care and feeding of family and friends.
Will we feel free and unencumbered by “stuff” that for us, as for most, dictates the tone of our daily lives?
The answers to these questions are yet to come from the upcoming experiences in our near future. It’s easy to speculate as to “how” one will feel when a certain scenario transpires. Anticipation in itself is often fodder for disappointment. How do we temper it?
Perhaps, by facing the responsibilities that will follow us around the world. These thoughts are not in an effort to dampen our enthusiasm. It is to maintain a level of reality that essentially will give us peace of mind that will ultimately enhance our experience.
Loaded with tasks to complete before we leave, we must gather the list of that which will carry with us, not in our overloaded luggage but in our minds and on secure Internet storage. Here are some of these:
- File income taxes each year in the same manner we have done while in the US. Our long time accountant is prepared to do our taxes all via email and documents forwarded to him by our upcoming mail service with our direction. He will file electronically (as we’ve done for years) and our refund will be deposited in our bank account.
- Handle all snail mail through our mailing service. They will send us a daily list of mail and will scan and email anything of importance. They will snail mail replacements debit/credit cards and packages for a small fee plus postage.
- Apply for necessary visas and maintain second passports. Second passports are necessary in order to submit a passport with each application for a visa. We don’t want to be in a foreign country without passports in our possession at all times. Second passports must be renewed every two years in the US.
- File insurance claims and stay updated on policy changes as to coverage while out of the US.
- Handle prescription refills. We are still awaiting a response for our prescription plan as to providing us with one year of refills at a time.
- Stay updated on both business and personal email/Skype. Email and Skype will be the primary sources of communication with our family and friends. Tom and I are both diligent checking email and will continue to do so provided we are able to receive an adequate connection. If we have a problem, we will seek out other local Internet resources frequently.
- Seek out health clubs at each location. In Placencia, Belize, there isn’t a health club! There are hotels with adequate facilities and also private trainers. As soon as our bags are unpacked, I will be on a mission to establish a relationship with a facility to ensure I can maintain my current level of fitness. The walking we will surely be engaging in will not be a strenuous enough activity for me, although it may be adequate for Tom.
- Find a dentist every 6 months. Tom and I are diligent about daily flossing and having our teeth cleaned every six months. As the time nears, we will ask the locals for reliable dentists in the area, paying out of our pockets. Our dental plan will be useless abroad.
- Arrange vision exams every two years. Tom’s family history of serious eye disease and blindness require exams by an ophthalmologist every two years. Overall, we will be living in remote areas around the world. Taking the time and bearing the expense to seek out quality care will be a prerequisite. My vision issues are typical age-related, remedied by mono vision contact lenses. I have packed a two year’s supply. Tom will have eye exams and new glasses before we leave the US.
- Family members birthdays. All these years we have given gifts to our grown children and grandchildren at the time of their birthdays. For the future, our gift to our adult children will be occasional plane tickets to visit us for a “free” vacation. As for the grandchildren, Amazon will be our friend and theirs, where we can purchase gift cards, allowing them to choose something fun from Grandma and Grandpa each year on their birthdays.
- Trip planning. We have yet to book beyond the arranged 949 days from October 31, 2012. As the time nears, it will be necessary to book airfare, train travel, ferries and auto rentals. There are some holes in our itinerary that we are holding for the five cruises we want to book that are not posted as yet. Once we are a year out, we will be able to complete some of these bookings, sooner rather than later. Neither of us are “last minute” planners. (As you can see)!
- Food shopping. Our special dietary needs will be a challenge wherever we travel. Finding gluten free, sugar free, wheat free, grain free, starch free, low carb foods will surely be a challenge. Here is another mission for us as soon as we unpack. If we can find grass fed beef and pork, free range chicken and eggs, wild caught fish and organic vegetables, we will be able to enjoy our meals. We use Greek yogurt, almond flour, coconut flour, coconut oil, unsweetened coconut milk, real butter, spices and Stevia. If these items are available, we will be delighted!
- The constant tracking of all of our expenses. Every receipt and all cash purchases will be logged daily in our expenses spreadsheet to ensure we are staying within our budget. If necessary, adjustments will be made if we are over the budget to cut back and cover the shortage over a period of months if necessary. If we are “under” we may choose to dine out more often or upgrade to first class when we have no alternative but to fly. (We are bringing a tiny portable scanner and printer in order to scan receipts, making it unnecessary to haul the receipts with us for years. The printer will provide boarding passes and other documents as needed).
As they say, “You can run but you can’t hide.” Hum…