The reality of a paper-free lifestyle… Check out last year’s photo of Tom at the Cu Chi Tunnel in Vietnam…

Our new Brother color scanner we purchased to replace the five-year-old Doxie model we used in the past.

When we first began traveling the world, we’d already been working toward becoming as paperless as possible in our old lives. As a result, no spot in our house had stacks of papers waiting to be handled.

In part, I suppose becoming paperless was due to my somewhat compulsive desire to avoid clutter in our surroundings. But, as it turned out, this bit of obsessiveness proved helpful when it became pertinent for us to avoid carrying papers in our luggage, adding to the weight.

Long ago, we’d chosen to receive everything we could online.  Once we decided to travel the world, we excited the process by ridding ourselves of all junk snail mail and spent weeks scanning photos, important documents, certificates, and anything else we may need along the way.

Subsequently, we don’t receive more than a dozen or so pieces of snail mail each year at our mailing service in Las Vegas and only receive packages for items we need to refill our supplies inventory.

As a result of this decision, we needed to carry a portable scanner with us. In this process, we also decided not to print cruise documents, boarding passes, and other travel-related confirmations when we so easily can present them on our phones after we’ve extracted them from our travel sites and those arriving by email.

This bag is filled with receipts we need to scan in the next few days.

When we first began our travels, we’d purchased a portable printer.  But, within a few years, it quit working. We decided we could live without a printer if we became more diligent about keeping all necessary documents on our phones to display appropriately. In addition, carrying the difficult-to-handle rolled paper was weighty and inconvenient.

Since we keep copies of all potentially tax-deductible receipts, having a scanner proved to be a must. Some may use their phones or cameras to take photos of receipts, but we’ve found the image clearer and more manageable when we can slip it through a paper feeder in a scanner. For example, if the receipt is wrinkled, we slip it inside a clear plastic sheet and then feed it into the scanner.

When our most recent Doxie portable scanner died while we were n Minnesota, we ordered a  Brother DS-620 Mobile Color Page Scanner for $85.99 with free Prime shipping.  For some odd reason, Amazon notified us that it had been lost in the mail, gave us a refund, and ordered it again.  It arrived two days later.

When I looked up the scanner this morning for the above link, I discovered the price had gone up to $10 since we purchased it about 10 days ago. I suppose it pays to keep an eye on such items for a few days to check for price changes. In our case, we needed it right away.

For those less than savvy computer folks out there, setting up a scanner to work with a computer can be tricky. It took me about 20 minutes of monkeying around to install the software and get it working. When Tom tried to do the same on his laptop, I helped. It was very tricky.

Also, an important note for iPad, Apple, Kindle, and other product users; A USB plug-in on your device is a must to use such a device.  There may be some Bluetooth scanners out there, but we never have a shortage of USB outlets as PC users. 

Box of photos we’re scanning today.

Plus, the necessary software is on a CD. We hadn’t used a CD on our laptops in so long; I’d forgotten we had the drive. Sure, the necessary software could be downloaded online, but this also may be cumbersome for less adept users.

Once I downloaded the software and got the scanner working properly, I immediately followed the instructions to “register the product” for the one-year warranty. 

Much to my shock, Brother tried to “get me” to sign up for a monthly $3.95 fee to store my scanned items on their cloud or, if I preferred, they had a one-time $9.95 fee to download a storage file on my device. Of course, I didn’t fall prey to such “trickery” in trying to get me to “buy more” since we each have our own cloud storage. 

Also, all the files are automatically stored in the “Pictures” file and can be moved to the desktop on any named file if one prefers. We each did both… I made a file in the cloud and kept a local copy for easy access at any time.

Beginning today, since I visited Susan yesterday, and we’re staying in today until our Meet & Greet tonight at 5:00 pm at The Elephant Bar in The District in Green Valley Ranch, I’ll begin scanning the massive bag of receipts, documents, and photos we found in the bins we’d left in Richard’s garage. 

Once we’ve scanned everything, we can toss it all, and when we leave Henderson in 11 days, we’ll do so with nary a personal item of ours left behind in Richard’s garage.

The scanner weighs less than one pound, and although we didn’t bother to purchase the carrying case (more weight), we’ll wrap it in clothing for safe traveling.

A scanner isn’t for everyone, based on our above comments. But, should you be in a situation similar to ours or don’t like paper clutter in your home and surroundings, you may find it valuable and worth the few minutes required to figure it all out. Again, free tech service is readily available by phone for those needing assistance.

With lower temperatures today, with a high of only 104F (40C), we plan to spend some time outdoors and in the pool. With such high heat since we arrived two weeks ago today, it will feel good to be outside today.

Have a great day, and we’ll be back with you soon!

Photo from one year ago today, July 21, 2016:

It’s hard to believe that Tom managed to climb out of the tiny opening at Cu Chi Tunnel in Vietnam. I was scared he’d be stuck after all the carbs he ate on the two-week cruise. But, instead, everyone in our group cheered when he made it out! For more photos of our visit to the Cu Chi Tunnel, please click here.