July? It’s July? Are You Kidding Me??

Somehow all of June went whizzing past, and here we are staring down the barrel of the Fourth of July! (Well, hopefully not down the barrel – sounds like a fireworks display about to go very, very wrong) … but I digress …

Getting a signed contract on our New Jersey home took only 32 days, which might be cause for panic in some quarters (“OMG, we sold the house! Where are we going to live? How are we going to get it all done? The closing’s in just 6 weeks!!”), but Tim & I had a plan, you see.

We had met with a builder/Realtor® in Bar Harbor not once but twice – the last time being just 7 months ago – and I had been in touch with him via phone and email all throughout the time we were preparing our house for sale and while it was on the market. Our plan was to rent one of his 8 available brand new townhomes, right across the street from and with a full view of Hulls Cove on Frenchman Bay. So I called him as soon as we got the house under contract to say we were ready to sign a lease … only problem was, he had just rented the last unit. After 18 months of having units available, he had literally signed the last available lease the prior week.

This – and what happened next – in and of itself merits a full chapter in my [future] book, but let me sum it up thusly: In my long, long list of “What Not to Do When Relocating” is an item in bold with a large, red asterisk next to it that says, “Don’t – I repeat DON’T – wait until May to try to secure a year-long rental in a summer resort area.” As obvious as that sounds as I type it, it did not occur to us that this could be a problem until we had solicited the help of no fewer than 4 REALTORS®, scrutinized 58 MLS listings (hoping that maybe one or two of them might consider renting their properties to a responsible, mature couple with one very well-behaved cat), contacted almost a dozen rental property owners, and completely traversed the second largest island off the United States’ East Coast in search of something – anything! – that would keep us from becoming one of the homeless. Much of what we saw made homelessness seem like a viable alternative.

On Day 4 of our 5-day house-hunting excursion, I sat on the edge of the bed in our room at the Acadia Inn, dejected and wondering, “What have we done??”

And then a miracle happened. One of the REALTORS® (the one who’d emailed me the 58 listings, bless her) mentioned that her broker had a townhome for sale that she had been prepping for weekly summer rentals but she would consider offering it to us on a one-year lease. [Cue the heavenly chorus] But (and there’s always a but, isn’t there?) … there was a requirement that not every lessee would be amenable to. Well, at this point, we figured we’d better go have a look because it was, quite literally, our last hope – we were leaving in 36 hours and had completely exhausted every option we’d had.

Long story short, we took a look at this 5-year-old in-town beauty, realized it met virtually all of our criteria (OK, admittedly, at that point our “criteria” had been downgraded to “fully enclosed against the elements / working heating system / carpets that don’t squish when you walk on them / plumbing that has been updated within the last 65 years”), and, after a very late morning breakfast of wild Maine blueberry pancakes, we looked at each other and said, “Let’s do it!”

So, from the 5th of May to the 2nd of June, we boxed, bagged, sold, donated, tossed, and gave away the contents of an 8-room house, somehow paring it all down to what could fit on a 17-foot U-Haul truck and into a 5-room townhouse.

The actual details of how “Moving Day” became “Moving DAYS” and how we got the non-traveling cat here is another story for another day, but suffice to say May was a “lost month.”

June, on the other hand, was … another lost month. Unpacking, buying furniture to replace some of the too-large pieces we had to get rid of, making the new place feel like home, and – oh yeah – working all conspired to consume the month of June. So much for blogging, restarting my eNewsletters, ramping up new my eCommerce site, and all the things I thought I’d do after “settling in.” I guess that’s all starting now.

Welcome to July!

How Often Should You Blog?

Hmmm … I’d have to say, simply: A LOT MORE OFTEN THAN I HAVE BEEN LATELY!!

It’s hard to believe my last blog post was March 4, but life’s been … um, shall we say “interesting” around here since then …

After 20+ years of thinking and dreaming about it, we put our NJ house up for sale and are moving to … drum roll, please …

BAR HARBOR, MAINE!

Between finishing up the “Honey-Do” list (OK, that was mostly Tim) and de-cluttering and “staging” the house for sale (that was my end of the contractual bargain), well, time just got away from me. Blogging became lost in the shuffle, as did updating the website, getting out eNewsletters on any kind of regular basis, and pretty much doing anything related to “working ON my business, not IN it.” I’ve been working IN it quite regularly through all this preparation to pick up and move almost 600 miles from the only place I’ve ever called home (Trenton/Hamilton/Bordentown, NJ) – but, of course, that’s really all I had time for … well, besides a few Facebook posts and tweets – you always have time for those! 😀

So, as we wind down the last couple of weeks leading to The Big Move, I’m getting all my little ducks in a row and preparing to re-launch my eNewsletters in the first half of June – from my new home office window that looks out on Cadillac Mountain on Mount Desert Island. I think it will be a joy to “go to work in the morning”! 🙂

And I promise blogging will, once again, be a part of my online presence – along with some other extra special awesomesauce! Maybe I did have just a little bit of extra time to create some incredible business affiliations and joint ventures … but more on those in June! Sorry to tease, but …

Stay with me, and I promise I’ll make it worth your while!

Can You Work to Live, Rather than Live to Work?

The following question was recently posed on LinkedIn:

How can you work to live and prevent your life from being all about work? With the increasing demands and stress in the world and the necessity to focus on the important things in life, people should be able to get 15 times as much done in a normal week. How do you work to live and prevent your life from being all about work? Are you living your own life on your own terms? Did you ever ask yourself what do you really want from life? What was your answer?

Here’s how I answered:

My answer is not for everyone – in fact, I don’t know that I ever really believed it was possible until recently – but I’m actively putting into action a plan to live my “Chapter 2” very differently than I lived my “Chapter 1.”

I’ve had a 20-year dream to make my “home base” a place I consider to be my spiritual home, and I’m finally moving forward. At least for a portion of every year I will be living there. I’ll also be traveling to the many places I’ve dreamed of visiting – all the U.S. National Parks, the great baseball parks around the country, and spending time with family and friends who live far from me now.

I started the process by taking an inventory of what’s really important and realized it’s not the house and the pool and the cars and the “stuff.” It’s no longer important to me to strive for things or hang onto possessions just because everyone else does so (and thinks you might be slightly unhinged if you desire something different). It’s no longer a priority to own a home in one place.

I’ve begun taking concrete steps to transform my existing business into something more ‘portable’ so that I have the ability to earn a good income wherever I am. And because of the lifestyle changes I am making (the most significant of which is leaving a state with one of the highest costs of living in the U.S.), I will not have to work as much as I have in the past to live the life I have imagined.

I will, indeed, be working to live, not living to work. And that, in my opinion, is how it should be – even if you don’t decide to “take your show on the road!”

What do you think? Can you see yourself living a different life than the one you live now? And, if so, how will you make that dream come true? I’d love to hear about your plans, so share your comments here.

Charting a Course for 2010

By now it’s no surprise to our closest friends and family that Tim and I are planning to sell our home after the holidays. What they are surprised at is our plan beyond that.

See, we’re lining our ducks up in a row so that we can live “a life untethered” for … well, we’ll see how long … but we’re thinking maybe as much as a year.

What does that mean?

Our plan is to sell the house and one of the cars and any of the “stuff” that we just have no further use for (think: formal dining room furniture!), grab Felix (our cat), and just go … initially to coastal Maine, a place we both feel spiritually attached to, but we also plan to see the old classic baseball parks, national parks and monuments, explore both coasts and as much as possible in between – traveling throughout this great country of ours.

One of the “ducks” we’re lining up is the creation of a “portable” business we can take with us wherever we go – much of the consulting work we do should translate well into a virtual business model, and we’re supplementing that with online businesses that complement our business and personal interests. More on that later, as it starts to really come together.

We have a “home base” in Philadelphia, where our daughter now lives in a home we all purchased together a couple of years ago, and depending on how things work out, we may decide to live there periodically throughout the year (in short bursts – in case my daughter happens to read this post, I don’t want to scare her!), in between trips to wherever our imaginations take us. Tim will photograph the spectacular and the mundane, the artistic and the unusual … while I’ll record the whole adventure in prose. I suspect there could be a book in here somewhere, but at the very least a legacy of words and pictures for our daughter and (maybe someday) grandchildren so they will know – really know – who we are/were.

I don’t honestly know if we’ll ever buy another home and live in one place full time. We’re not rich – far from it – but we’re passionate about pursuing this dream we’ve held for over 20 years now.

As they say: If not us, who? If not now, when?

I hope to gather a tribe around this blog who will follow us to parts (as yet) unknown and learn and grow with us. But more than that, I want to be able to show you – not just tell you – that it can be done. You can “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams, live the life you have imagined” (thank you, Mr. Thoreau)!

Stay tuned – 2010 promises to be interesting!