I did it! I rented out my house, sold my car, and pretty much everything else. What I didn’t sell, I donated to various organizations and individuals. It’s been a challenging couple of weeks -logistically, physically and emotionally. After a ridiculous final day at home involving many trips to my storage unit (I wasn’t about to donate or sell grandma’s antique chest – the wood kind, not the boob kind), cleaning out drawers filled with cosmetic experiments that didn’t quite work out, having people pick up some donated furniture, vacuuming floors, closets, dryer vents and anything else requiring suction, mopping floors and wiping down counter tops and having my carpets professionally cleaned (man, I sound like Cinderella! Just waiting for my fairy godmother), I’ve met a guy at the bank and signed my car title over to him. I’m emotionally drained, and all I can think is that I need a shower.
While waiting outside my house for my neighbor, Kevin, to come out to drive me to the airport, my other neighbor, Rich, pulls into his driveway, spots my shovel, and asks if I’m selling it. “Um, okay, sure,” I respond. So now I’ve made $5 from standing on a street corner (apparently I’m cheap). Kevin drops me at the Hyatt Place Hotel near the Phoenix airport where I’ll stay tonight before I catch my very early morning flight to Berlin. It’s quite fitting that I’m staying at this hotel as this is the hotel that gave me free parking and shuttle service on the first Drop Me Anywhere trip to St. John’s, Newfoundland. Now that I’ve decided to rent, sell, or give away everything in order to continue on and turn this into a book (yes, there will be juicy tidbits that I haven’t shared in the blog, as well as the how’s and why’s of taking this leap), it feels like a full-circle moment. I’ve used a voucher for a free night which Hyatt was nice enough to give me during a Twitter travel chat (another full-circle moment as the idea for Drop Me Anywhere came from a Twitter travel chat), so this hotel has cost me nothing (a good thing as, well, I gave away my bed). Jon checks me in and he could not be nicer. I’m trying to hold my emotions in check and he’s just what I need. The hotel has already arranged my airport shuttle for 5:00am (yikes!) after I listed an early flight when making my reservations online.
I head up to my room and am very pleasantly surprised. It’s got a beautiful seating area with a large sofa and ottomans (much better than your standard hotel furniture which claims to be a sofa but is really just a park-bench with a cushion). Friends call and text, wishing me luck on my adventure, as they have for weeks now, showing their support for me in taking this big leap. I’m grateful. I order a flatbread and a much needed glass of wine from the 24-hour pantry and am told that they’ll call me when it’s ready for me to pick-up (I truly love this hotel). After finishing my dinner, I take that much needed shower and attempt to get a bit of sleep.
The 4:15am alarm followed by the 4:20am wake-up call (always have a Plan B) gets me moving and I’m downstairs ready for the shuttle right on time. It’s dark and rainy with Christmas songs playing on the radio. I head to the American Airlines counter to check-in. I know that, after the Ireland trip I vowed to avoid USAir at all costs, and I’m aware that they’ve now merged with American Airlines and are, therefore, the same company but, as the flight was booked through Webjet and I’ll connect to an Air Berlin flight, well, concessions must be made sometimes. It can be difficult to get out of Phoenix without flying USAir/American. The good news is that Seborne, the ticketing agent is really nice. The baggage allowance is 50 pounds for my checked bag. As everything in my bag is what I will carry with me for at least the next six-months, I’m pretty proud that my bag weighs only 50.5 pounds. I smile, make pleasant conversation and Seborne says nothing about that extra half pound (I’m a woman so I attribute it to water-weight).
I head up to security, show my passport and boarding pass where they’re scanned. While everyone in front of me has the machine beep once, for me it beeps three times. Uh-oh. I ask the agent if three is bad and he tells me that it just means I was randomly selected for TSA Precheck status which means I don’t have to take off my shoes. Really, the flying gods seem to be traveling with me today as, to help with the weight and space issues in a bag packed as tightly as the airlines pack people into planes, I’m wearing my hiking boots. I don’t normally do this as it’s the sign of a travel amateur. Slip-on shoes are key to going through security quickly, and I’ve been known to give a pointed eye-roll towards those who violate this unwritten rule. I was all ready to apologize to the people in line behind me. Now I have a smug look on my face which implies, “Peasants, remove thy shoes. I will proceed onward.”
After a quick stop for breakfast, I head over to my gate and join with boarding group two (yay, airport gods!) to head off into the sunrise. Berlin, here I come – by way of Chicago.
Tomorrow – will the flying gods stick around? I (hopefully) arrive in B