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John and Mandi

us --> van --> overland
1,722 days a wanderin'

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Locking the Door, One Last Time

Nov 24, 2014
by John

This keychain came with our house, gotta pass it along

This keychain came with our house, gotta pass it along

The sale of our home is a gigantic step towards beginning our Pan-American trip. It's probably the largest obstacle we've faced up to this point. It's also the hardest thing we have had to do during our preparation. Getting rid of the majority of our stuff has been a breeze, we have been breaking the sentimental ties to inanimate objects for many years. Any item not going with us that wasn't handed down through our families has been sold or is currently listed. Mandi already parted with the antique wedding ring we bought to replace the original engagement ring I gave her, something that wouldn't have been considered by our former selves.

Things don't hold meaning, we hold the meaning within ourselves. Our memories are what we will keep forever, for as long as we can remember. Things may remind us of those memories but they aren't the memories themselves. The events we are tied to are what make us who we are, regardless of our ability to recall them. Trading in our things to make new memories is the best spend we could ever make.

The conundrum with our house is who shared it with us. There are those we are afraid to forget so our hearts are conflicted. All three of our dogs enjoyed our little house with its sizable yard and all three have subsequently passed. This place will forever be where we remember them so we have a fair bit of apprehension about selling it. We know it's not rational, but this house with its fenced back yard was bought specifically for them. A year and a half has gone by since our last dog was with us, the back yard has mostly gone unused, the emotional cost to mow it almost too high.

Letting go of the known for the unknown is unsettling. We've always thrown our chips in the wind but that's easy to do when you are comfortable. Tossing them into the ocean with no sight of where they will settle is quite nerve racking. We are no longer testing the water, we are wading in to start the arduously exhilarating swim to a distant shore. Excitement is building but these little apprehensions and heartfelt sorrows are tough, almost impossible to explain.

This past week we spent most of our available time performing all of the mundane maintenance tasks on our little house to make sure it greets its new owner with all of its charm. It's a great little house that provides the foundation for a gargantuan home. It has been the space that Mandi and I have shared the longest, one that has experienced and delivered our family though a lot of wonderful and tumultuous times. A happy place that is full of sunlight, we refused to cover any window that wasn't necessary. The reasons we love it are the reasons it's hard to leave it. It doesn't feel, yet we feel for it so much.

Handing over the keys was the unofficial start to our adventure. Locking its door for the last time was turning off one light before turning on another. What lies ahead is unfathomable, what lies behind has been phenomenal. Our heavy hearts are not due to the sale of our little home but for the loss of those from our lives and their absence from our future memories. Our tears are both of sorrow and joy. Our first real step into the direction of the unknown.


Say what? (5)
Nov 24, 2014 at 06:42 PM
Wow... a big step to be sure. And yet, such an important one in this evolving story of your life. I'll love to continue to hear about your feelings once on the road. When we sold the first house to go traveling we were burnt out, my mom had recently died, our dog has passed... even though we had loved living there, we SO needed something different we couldn't wait to leave. Our dilemma this time around is that we don't love our house.. it's lovely, to be sure, but it was simply a place to live until we can get back on the road and getting the work done to put it on the market is simply not interesting to us. But, as you commented on our site, it's all part of the process, in whatever form it takes for each person. Good luck on this next stage of your life. Perhaps a little furry face will even join your pack somewhere down the road :)
Nov 25, 2014 at 07:24 AM
Thanks Rhonda, like you, we're going to do our best to share the mixed state of emotions involved in embarking on a trip such as this. We've read about it but it's entirely different to experience. Good luck on getting your house ready and liquidating your belongings. We're thinking tiny home next time, less is just...less.

I have a funny feeling somebody, furry and four legged, will adopt us along the way but Mandi wants nothing to hear of it. She has put the kibosh on any mention or inkling. Her heart is still healing from all of our previous fur babies. We also know we'll steal some love from the overlanding pooches we encounter, your two big black dogs included!
Nov 26, 2014 at 01:49 PM
Less is certainly less! We're all over that idea. I am hoping Mandi will come around... when we lost Maddy our hearts were well and truly broken and just typing her name brings me to tears. But adopting Porter, and then Aspen healed some of the wounds. Dogs will show you that there is always a place in your heart for a new furry friend. And, lol, we'll warn the black dogs.. prepare for hugs!
Nov 27, 2014 at 12:45 PM
An emotional step for sure but the beginning of another freedom. Doing the same almost two years ago, I know just realise how many things I'd got I just don't needed... ;-)
Keep believe in your pan am project guys ! ;-)
Dec 1, 2014 at 09:09 AM
Thanks Claude-Alain. A week later and all is good. We are settling into our intermediate groove and are getting back to the van. Time, our friend and yet our current adversary!
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