*The Waldo Express will shortly be removed from the side of the bus. We need to put our own mark on our Big Blue Bus!
Yesterday we sold our house and drove away for the last time. Other than taking the time to capture the bus driving away, it was not a particularly nostalgic moment. Rather it was a thank goodness we are DONE moment. I’ve mentioned before that Jake and I have moved. A lot. In fact, this was our 26th move in 19 years. Although we’ve been in the military 14 of those 19 years and we could have utilized movers which would pack and move us, we’ve always chosen to do the work ourselves. The financial benefits were too great to pass up. Needless to say, we have our fair share of experience with packing boxes, loading up, and switching locales.
However, this move was our most difficult yet. In retrospect, I think there are several reasons why.
Although we had moved in only 10 months ago – we had managed to settle in and infiltrate the nooks and crannies. Everything had it’s place – and all the places were taken. The greatest cause of angst during the move was the sorting process. We had to sort our belongings into 6 piles:
1. For the beach house (Basically for our life here in Florida the next month before we hit the road. You’d be amazed at what was considered necessary.)
2. For the bus (What do we want on the bus with us for the next six months? Those boxes were identified with orange duct tape, for easier identification when we move everything into storage.)
3. For long term storage (We’re moving everything to Alaska and putting our belongings in storage – which we have to pay for – so we were picky about what made the cut.)
4. What to sell (We sold most of the big bulky items that wouldn’t fit in the bus and we didn’t want to pay to store.)
5. What to donate (oh my word – it’s your lucky day if you shop the thrift store after we dropped off the equivalent of a semi-truck load full of stuff.)
6. What to trash. (I keep a clean home – how could there possibly have been so much trash in there?)
The next cause of difficulty was the time frame in which everything had to be completed after being in limbo for several months.
Here’s a little backstory:
Five years ago Jake transferred from the Alaska Air National Guard to the United States Coast Guard, at which point he signed a five year contract. We’ve had some wonderful experiences in the Coast Guard, but Jake’s heart lies with the Air Force. As his commitment approached, he received a job offer to return to the Air National Guard and we jumped at the opportunity.
Several months ago, Jake submitted paperwork requesting a formal separation from the Coast Guard and it took an extraordinary amount of time to be approved. Initially we thought it was going to go through with no glitches and we put our house on the market in preparation. We received (and accepted) an offer within five days. Then the waiting began. Would we (or would we not) be transferring? Each day that went by with no news was excruciating. The days turned into weeks which turned into months.
We needed to pack – but there were so many questions without answers. We didn’t know if we were staying or going. Those questions would be the crux on how we packed. Were we moving into a rental because we had to stay here? Or were we packing to move across the country?
Thus our moving efforts were delayed and instead we beat our heads against a wall waiting to know what would become of us. The lack of control did not sit well with me. I’m a planner at heart and not having information was driving me loopy.
It was just three weeks ago that we received word that the separation had been granted and we could move forward. Then came the paralyzing moment. What would this transition look like? You can read the formation of ideas here (you may need to scroll back a couple pages to get to the beginning).
Choosing what to do over the next six months was a critical decision. We needed to make sure that we used the time to it’s greatest potential. We wanted to do something out of the ordinary and… dare I say it? Epic.
We had to balance that desire with the ever important wise stewardship over our financial health. Living debt free is our goal. We didn’t want to mess that up with adventures that we could buy now – but pay for later. It’s a trap we’ve fallen into before and we’re eager to stay away from it this time.
You see, it’s not a simple hop back to the Air National Guard. There are many hoops to jump through and there is no safety net. In order for the transition to take place, we have to be separated from the Coast Guard. As we check off what needs to be done, we will be without employment for up to six months – if everything goes according to plan. Whenever we think about it, we hold our breath for a moment. The risk we are taking is huge. We’re giving up comfort and security and exchanging it for freedom.
There were times over the last six months that we wondered if we should just shut up and color. Should we simply continue receiving a paycheck, live our day to day life and keep the status quo? Or should we risk it in hopes of something extraordinary? As we weighed the pros and cons, we felt again and again that something was waiting for us.
It comes down to this. We trust our Heavenly Father and we’re putting our faith in Him. Over the last few months we’ve seen His hand continually in the process and we are humbled by His grace. We have no reason to fear or to doubt and we acknowledge that He knows better than us. No matter what happens, we know He is in control.
So we took the leap.
And here we are.
It was a giddy moment yesterday when we signed the papers and turned over the keys to our home. As we drove away, I felt peace.
We accomplished an incredible and difficult task in a short amount of time. Once we heard from the Coast Guard, it took us three days to come up with the bus plan, and only three days after that we purchased The Big Blue Bus. Once the plan was in place and we knew what direction we were going in – then we could begin packing. We packed our belongings and moved completely out of our house in two weeks.
No wonder we’re exhausted!
Mentally and physically, the last few months have been demanding and it all culminated the last few days in a flurry of activity.
Now we begin our adventure.
Are you following us at The Big Blue Bus Tour on Facebook? We’ll be posting our updates there!
From our Instagram Feed: @simplybphotos