As our countdown gets below 40 days until we depart, we keep finding there is still more and more tasks to get done. We made a quick drive over to San Martin, California to see Tracy’s Aunt Debbie and Uncle Gerry.
We delivered some family heirlooms Tracy received from her grandfather, Deb’s father. With our efforts with minimizing possessions, we have been distributing keepsakes to family members before we go. Tracy brought photos, papers, memorabilia collector money, and a family Bible from her grandfather that she thought should go back to her Aunt Deb. We also asked Deb to keep a three-inch binder of legal documents for us: certified birth certificates, marriage and divorce paperwork, baptismal certificates, etc. We are bringing a smaller zippered binder with us to Europe with our essential legal documents. Debbie is kind enough to hold our extended paperwork collection should we need any additional documents while abroad. Deb would be able to send needed documents by DHL when and if the need occurs.
We were able to squeeze in a hike in at Uvas Canyon County Park and Waterfalls. Deb and Mac the dog guided Tracy, Kiara, and me through the green, lush park. Great hiking trail with scenic bridges, flowing streams, multiple waterfalls, and quiet pools. One of those amazing “pocket parks” tucked away unexpectedly at the end of a county road.
The next day we drove to Carmel-by-the-Sea. Carmel is a favorite locale of ours and the visit let “California Girl” Tracy see the Pacific Ocean a final time before we relocate. It was a beautiful day walking along the beach, watching the waves, looking up at Pebble Beach golf course, and a picnic lunch. Dog-friendly Carmel welcomed Kiara to have her first visit to the ocean and opportunity to walk along the beach.
On our way back home we discussed the logistics of travelling with eight bags and whether or not we needed to rent a car in Toulouse in order to transport it all to Carcassonne. We decided we could minimize our luggage still further from our first practice run packing our luggage. We believe we could lighten the load from a three bedroom house to luggage still more.
We repacked our bags using our first packing list. We started this time with eight bags weighing a total of 270 pounds. We then unpacked and split the contents into “must have,” “maybe,” and “eliminate” piles. It wasn’t just the idea that extra bags cost progressively more, it was the realization of the work and potential frustration trying to move eight bags with only two arms each. We considered the cost of replacement versus the cost for items compared to re-buying the item in France, the necessity of having the item in the first place, and the frequency of use for the item. Could we justify a $100 for an extra bag, $285 for a third or fourth bag? Could we justify having rent a vehicle to transport luggage rather than just using public transportation? Would the replacement of an item be difficult or extremely costly in France?
Immediately we reconsidered the books we slated to bring. We are “book people” and wanted art, history, and language references to come with us, but you just don’t realize the weight of a stack of books. We had already gone digital with Kindles for our recreational reading, so we reduced the number of physical books to just a few art books. We decided to scan and digitize the remaining books into PDF files we could upload to our computers and Kindles.
We further eliminated packing materials, a few clothing items, some carry bags, decorator items, and an additional “back-up” camera. We decided to pass some additional keepsake items on to the kids. I replaced my previous carry-on bag with the maximum size possible carry-on bag. We re-shuffled and re-organized the contents from eight bags down to six bags weighing 200 pounds total: a single checked bag and a carry-on bag each, with a camera bag for me, and Kiara’s carrier for Tracy.
The final results was that we eliminated two checked duffel bags and 70 pounds from our initial packing practice. Tracy is already talking about a third trial run to maybe eliminate still more.