MICE, Ink & Wanderlust

Steps to Leaving the States

As the months until my departure turned into weeks, the countless tasks seemed overwhelming. Putting them in writing, then in order of priority was the only logical way to tackle them without things falling through the cracks. Here’s the outline for how I broke down my exit strategy.

  • Where to?

    First step was deciding where I want to go! Easy peasy. Click "Destinations" in the navigation menu to view the current version. How did I choose my destinations? Most of them have been on my bucket list for over a decade. Some I've visited already--but didn't stay long enough. Guatemala I chose solely because I wanted to take the total immersion Spanish course at Ixchel School there.

  • How much?

    Reduce expenses, determine current budget, research costs of living in new destinations, and create travel budget. I cover my own finances at length in another post, "Financial Planning for Global Travel."

  • Figure it Out

    This stage is intensive and ongoing. I utilize various internet resources and databases along with my travel agency search engines. I'll detail the tools I use in another post.

  • Downsize

    I've been downsizing since 2018, and I STILL have too much stuff. This time I donated easily half my clothing, which was actually not all that difficult. Some things were easy to toss in that donate box, mainly clothes and shoes I haven't worn since I moved to Houston 2.5 years ago. Since I'm planning to return to the States at some point, I wasn't trying to give everything away. As I sorted through it all, I stuck Post-Its around the room noting however things should be packed: deep storage, accessible storage, DFW, sabbatical, discards, and donations. I placed boxes beneath each note and threw in whatever fit that category as I worked.

  • Pack

    Imagine packing up not just 95% of your possessions for storage but for a however-long sabbatical and a two-week interim trip to visit family and friends in your adopted hometown before you leave--all at the same damn time. What a challenge! I just hope I have everything I'll need and none of what I won't.

  • Shop

    This is worthy of its own post. I scoured lists of 'what to pack for long-term travel' and created a list of necessities that could make my trip easier, better, smoother, safer, or more adventurous. I'll post my shopping list in a future post. I swear I spent more on the stuff I thought I'll need than I'll spend on my entire first month gone. smh

  • The Business

    While you're busy doing all the above, certain business matters also need to be tended to, such as finding storage, figuring out what to do about your mail, where and how to store your firearms securely, where to move your money so that it's accessible everywhere in the world (and without fees and penalties), what insurance is necessary, COVID matters, and two dozen other little details requiring your attention.

We’ll go into some of these (especially The Business) in future posts. But just remember, the trick is simply to not get overwhelmed. Break it down, WRITE IT DOWN, and tackle it step by step.

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