My home looks like a post-Super-storm Sandy clean-up effort, without the salt water. For the past two weeks, I’ve spent all my spare time sorting out books to take with me, books I’m giving to friends and family, books for donation to my school library, packing books in boxes to donate to Better World Books, and a few boxes of books to store here for my return. I’ve also shipped a box out to my friend Kath in New Mexico, who is kindly storing them in her garage for me until I get out there.
I decided that I would take one standard, rectangular milk box of books with me to read. Then, I over-filled that box by a factor 4x and had to sit on the floor surrounded by piles, to reduce the numbers and negotiatie with myself to make an adequate mix of genres, and eventually I made a bare bones selection fit in the crate. The rest are packed away in the closet, awaiting my return. I had to keep telling myself that I will still be retired when I get back. I don’t have to read them all right away this year.
When my shoulder was killing me from moving boxes around, and I couldn’t touch another book, I sat down with the maps and the laptop to make campground reservations. This summer I will be traveling in the crowded North East, visiting Maine, and then as much of northern and western NY State as I can fit in. I’ll also be up in Nova Scotia and Cape Breton at the end of the summer, and since these are peak vacation times for many people, I was advised to make reservations in the State and National parks, which have the least expensive rates for spending the night. There is a significant difference between a week at $23.00 per day reservation fee, for Hamlin Beach State Park, and the KOA at Grand Isle/Niagara Falls, for $75.00 per night. If I were just on a two-week vacation, sure I’d like full hookups, a laundry room, and cable. But this is a year on the road, and I don’t want to run through my funds before my fun is done.
Another part of this transition time is adjusting from a life at full salary, and figuring out how to live on my pensioner’s portion. I’m not sure how far the money will go, so I’d best travel frugally until it becomes clear. When I think in broad terms about how much I’ve been spending on transportation around the city, and eating out/ordering in, I think I will be able to afford the gas and tolls for this trip. I’ll have Jess covering the apartment rent here, so I should be able to spend that much on campgrounds each month, and that sems in line with my current spending. I will miss shopping at the Park Slope Food Coop, but I guess I will learn to manage with grocery store food prices. It’s just for one year.
Now, on to the most difficult box. I have to pack up my grandkid’s toys to bring out to Long Beach. Every time I try to do this, I end up in tears. I suppose these toys symbolize the physical place I created for them in my home, and for this next year of travel, I don’t have that kind of space available. And truly, there are things in their cupboard that are totally baby toys. They will need to be handed down to friend’s diaper babies, or to the mother’s center at the library. Deep breath. I will pack up the box and let Alice and the boys decide what to do with it all.