It all sounded so simple.
1. Sell the house. Tick.
2. Apply for Russell’s visa. Tick.
3. Sell all the furniture. Tick-ish (work in progress).
4. Pack up the rest of our life into a couple of suitcases and move to the other side of the world.
Yeah, right. In 4 easy steps.
To start with, there’s a gazillion tasks missing between Steps 3 and 4, which I won’t bore you with. They’re about as interesting as watching paint dry, but manageable with the help of a robust checklist.
That’s not what keeps me awake at night. (Well, OK, sometimes I sit bolt upright at 4 in the morning, crying out ‘mail redirection!’ but it’s relatively easy to drift back to sleep once it’s added to the ‘to do’ list.)
No. It’s the endless requirement to make life-altering decisions that’s the stuff of nightmares.
You see, it’s easy to say ‘sell all the furniture’, but I defy anyone to sell everything.
Take a look around your house. The big-ticket items are easy: sofas, chairs, dining tables, beds, rugs, and so on.
Now, look a little closer. Go on, open a couple of cupboards. I don’t know about you, but we’ve got 27 years’ worth of stuff lurking in our house. Stuff that doesn’t neatly fall into the category of ‘sell or throw out’.
So, the first decision is: what goes (old tax files and smelly sneakers) and what do we keep (photo albums, golf trophies, and everything else we can’t bear to part with)?
Trust me, it adds up.
Now, what do we do with it? Where do we store all this stuff?
And, if we sell the beds, tables, and sofas, what do we sleep in and sit on for the next couple of months?
But if we wait until the last minute, what happens if we can’t sell them?
What do we take with us to the other side of the world? Presumably the bits and pieces we can’t live without, and the things we use on a daily basis.
But if we need them on a daily basis, what do we do while they’re in transit for 12 weeks?
And how do you decide what might be useful in your future life when you don’t know where you’ll be living or what you’ll need?
Either way, it’s going to cost plenty to ship or store, but what’s the tipping point between the two? Is it cheaper to take more and store less for five years, or the other way round?
And what happens when we want to come back? Would it be better not to sell everything so we don’t have to buy a pile of new furniture on our return?
Which brings me back to the all-important question: what do we sell, store and ship? And what if we make the wrong decisions?
That’s what keeps me awake at night.
In about two months’ time, we’ll be packing up what’s left of our life into the last of our suitcases and moving to the other side of the world. This hellish decision-making process will finally be over.
But will we need hard or soft-sided cases? Hard is better for travel, but soft makes it easier to store them when we’re not travelling. And what size will we need? Will large be too large for smaller trips in the future?
Maybe. I don’t know.
I can’t decide.