Enjoy Detroit

Enjoy Detroit

We did it.

That’s what we keep saying to ourselves as we try to let the reality of what we’ve done sink in.

In the last two months, I left my job, we said goodbye to friends, sold our house and almost all our stuff, and left our home in Ottawa where we’ve lived the past 13 years. After a brief visit with my family in the Golden Horseshoe area of Ontario, we arrived in Grosse Pointe, Michigan where we’re spending July and August adjusting to our new location-independent lifestyle. The real travel begins in September when we jet off to Asia and Europe for the next year.

Ridding ourselves of most of our earthly possessions was gruelling.

Earlier in the spring we spent a Saturday unloading several truckloads of stuff at the Glebe garage sale, followed by several months selling our bigger items on classified sites like kijiji and craigslist. I finished my job at the end of June, so we had a week to focus on cleaning out the house and getting ready to leave. Halfway through the week we still had piles of stuff we couldn’t sell, so we held a Full Circles giveaway one evening, where we watched a living room full of our things disappear in 10 minutes.

The small stuff was the most challenging — things like files, keepsakes and kitchenwares. Everything required a decision and we were drained by the time we got to our last day. In the end, Alison wisely called in 1-800-Got-Junk, and they took away a pile of donated goods, recyclables and garbage the morning we left town. Expensive but highly worth it.

Keeping ourselves busy over the summer

We’ve made a pretty quick adjustment to our temporary life here in Grosse Pointe. I’m doing a short-term contract with my old employer, Alison is writing and coaching, and the kids are enrolled in an all-day preschool program three days a week. We’re living in a flat down the street from Alison’s sister Melody and her family, and enjoying the freedom of hanging out together for an extended period of time — something we’ve had little chance to do in the past few years. Mel and her husband Ben have two girls the same age as Lia and Nico, and the foursome are getting along like gangbusters. We’ve had a lot of fun sharing meals, picnicking in Grosse Pointe’s beautiful parks, shopping its markets and seeing what the area has to offer.

Enjoy Detroit

Although Detroit may not seem the most glamorous of destinations, we’re glad we made the decision to stay in North America after leaving Ottawa. Not only does this feel like an awesome opportunity to hang out with family  for an extended period of time, it’s giving us a chance to focus on settling into a new lifestyle without dealing with the jetlag and culture shock that accompanies international travel. There’s also all the nit-picky details that need to be finalized when embarking on long-term travel plans, and it’s been much easier to deal with that here than from a different time zone halfway around the world.

Plus we get Hulu.

I have to admit I was kind of in a funk after we left Ottawa. It’s painful uprooting a life we’ve spent so many years creating. No matter how committed I am to our travel goals, leaving a good job and amazing friends has not been easy. Also, I don’t do well if I don’t have commitments and obligations filling up my day.

Having a work contract to focus on has been a great help, and Ali and Mel have been great at planning a bunch of activities for our two families so we take advantage of the time we have together. Once we leave for Asia I’m going to have to get my act together so I can start working on the projects I’ve been piling up, and I welcome the challenge of working for myself for the first time in my life. Alison’s ahead of me by a few years in this department, and I take inspiration from what she has accomplished already. It’s both scary and fun to imagine what lies ahead.

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