For the first time since I was in college, I don’t have a firm plan in place for where I will be living. This is at once freeing, occasionally even exhilarating, and a bit disorienting. We just moved out of our lovely downtown Los Angeles loft last week. We had been there 7 years. It was a wonderful community in my favorite LA neighborhood. I was able to walk pretty much everywhere — my car would only be driven a couple of thousand miles a year, a rarity for an Angeleno.
We sold the loft with no idea where we would be living next.
The reason we left is that although our loft was wonderful, although it had partitions, it did not have rooms or doors. This was fine when my wife and I were working from offices, when gyms were open, and there were coffee shops and restaurants to go to. But with a couple of busy professionals on Zoom calls all day, the lack of sonic insulation became impossible to tolerate. So we did something rash: we sold the loft with no idea where we would be living next.
Our current status is one of semi-limbo. All of our big stuff is in storage. The two cars have been packed with everything we will need to live in a furnished rental for a long time, in any climate we could imagine. The plan is to carefully consider where on the planet we wish to live and what sort of housing would best fit our needs. This is a radically new possibility, as with the advent of Zoom-everything we can more or less live anywhere on the planet. Sort of.
With the advent of Zoom-everything, we can more or less live anywhere on the planet. Sort of.
We had a taste of this new lifestyle in the spring when we were in Utah for what was intended to be a month but turned into 4 months. We learned that we can live and work in places outside of big cities. Who knew? We also learned that we missed our things and that we missed our people. The idea of the sort of dual life that some people lead with having a second house in the country made some sense, although this would produce twice the upkeep and twice the expense.
Our situation is not entirely untethered in an On The Road sort of way, it is more semi-tethered. We have a rental, we have an essential pile of our stuff with us, and we have the considerable daily obligations of running our jobs and businesses. However, at the age of 61, I find myself in the somewhat puzzling circumstance of not having an address. We quite literally do not have a mailing address. This presents a number of issues for the mundane day-to-day such as insurance, voting, dentist, magazines, credit card zip code, Amazon deliveries…Some of this is being handled by a traveling mailbox service we have set up, but a lot of it is yet to be figured out.
Currently, we are renting back in Park City, Utah, as being out of a big city for the election seems prudent. It seems that off-season ski resorts are excellent places to rent a furnished condo for far less than a similar unfurnished unit would be in a city. Should the ski resorts open, and should people decide to travel here in the winter, that will change, but we can always pack the cars and head somewhere else.
Where are we considering moving to?
Where are we considering moving to? This is, of course, the question we are constantly being asked. It is a big world out there, and of course our thinking is subject to constant change, but at the moment there are a few checkboxes. Is there a major airport nearby? Is there a connection to global culture? How absurd are the real estate prices? How much adjustment to local culture and language would be required? At the moment, all signs point back to Los Angeles which, even though we have lived there for a considerable time, is so huge that there are vast sections of it that we have no idea about.
Next week I’ll detail what we have learned about what one should bring with one’s self on these sort of relocation adventures so that one feels most comfortable. Packing the car for a mulit-month trip is a greater endeavor than for a weekend getaway.
I’ve been thinking of “Me and Bobby McGee”: “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose,” but let’s not go full Janis on this adventure. That doesn’t work so well in the long term.