I guess I’m a nomad!

Hello faithful readers of BeleiveitOhrNot. I’m sorry I haven’t posted for several weeks. I’ve taken a brief hiatus for two reasons; 1) We’ve had a lot of company keeping me/us busy.
2) We’ve been swamped trying to plan our upcoming seven-week trip to Korea and Japan with a brief stop in Russia.  Korea and Japan planning has taken way more time than we anticipated. We needed to book a lot of hotels, research Japan Rail Passes, and figure out how to best follow the cherry blossom route.  All of this has been challenging and time- consuming. We’ve right at the tail end of planning with just one hotel left to book.  I’m so excited to go back to Asia!

Having company has been awesome!  It’s been so much fun to show people around Zihuatanejo who have never been here. And its been nice to have repeat guests, too.   All of our guests have been gracious and easy.  If you visited us, you are welcome back anytime. Nobody ever comes to Zihuatanejo just once!  It’s impossible.

Here’s what I think makes an awesome house guest:

1.  Being willing to bring your hosts items from the United States. We really appreciated guests carrying a bottle of our favorite contact lens solution or bringing down other requested items from the U.S.  We miss things we can’t get here, so being willing to bring requested items earned serious brownie points.

2. Not complaining about the guest bedroom accommodations. Free lodging=no complaining 🙂

3. Being flexible and being open to experiencing varied cuisine. If you come to Mexico and you don’t dig taco stalls,  we would have booted you out. Our guests were great. They happily chowed down.

4.  Finally the most important rule of being a great guest. Clean up after yourself!  In my case, I’m a tiny bit uptight about our house. I don’t like dirty counter tops and I like clean common areas. Our guests were quite respectful and kept their stuff in their rooms.

My sister (from Michigan) arrives for a ten-day visit on Thursday along with my mom’s brother and his girlfriend. I think Andy and I may move to my mom’s at least for part of my sister’s stay so we can spend more time together. My uncle and his girlfriend are staying at a nearby hotel.

Decisions, decisions, decisions

Now it’s decision time. We’ve been in Zihuatanejo for five months with one month left to go on our six-month lease and we have to decide where to live next.

When we first envisioned this adventure, I think we both thought we might want to live in Zihuatanejo year-round. Now, after living here for five months, we’ve decided against it. Zihuatanejo is just too small for us. While we’re not bored, we’re not exactly living a thrilling existence.  I feel like the walls are closing in around me. Andy doesn’t quite feel the same way, but he doesn’t want to live here in the summer either. We both agree it’s way too hot after  being here in May and June of last year, and we think six months is just too much time here. We’d prefer a shorter stay, so we will talk to our landlords about this soon. We love this house and really do want to return to it, but not for as long.

I’m not exactly sure how our adventure morphed into moving around, but I’m very happy it did. We are going to be serious nomads for the next eight months and I’m looking forward to many new, fun adventures.

Here’s the tentative plan, with room aplenty for changes.

March- Return to the Bay Area for three days at the end of March.  I need to see my oncologist, visit my dentist, and do a bit of clothing shopping.
April- We will spend the first week of April in Seoul, Korea,  Then we will be fly from Seoul to Japan. We’ll be in Japan all of April until May 8th.
May- On May 8th we will board  a two-week repositioning cruise (Celebrity) that sails from Yokohama, Japan to Vancouver, Canada.  There are two ports of call in Japan and one port of call in Siberia, Russia. Towards the end of May we will stay in Vancouver with friends for three days and then go to Astoria to see Andy’s sister, and perhaps our friends in Portland.
June-September-Morelia, Mexico.  We have already rented a three-bedroom apartment of an ex-pat. The apartment is in the central historico and we are very excited.
October- Oaxaca, Mexico. We hope to be there for Day of the Dead this year.
November- Chiapas, Mexico
December-March- Return to Zihuatanejo????

When we first conceived of this adventure,  we didn’t envision we would be traveling around so much, but now I actually prefer it and I’m engerized thinking about it. There is a lot of Mexico we want to see. The country is fascinating and I think we’ve only seen a very small percentage of it. Andy concurs.

While living like a nomad is going to be cool,  I’m still trying to decide how much of a minimalist I can be. It’s a real challange for me because I like my stuff!  I’ve been watching a plethora of interesting internet videos from mostly 20 somethings who travel around the world with nothing but a backpack on their backs. They don’t even bother with toothpaste. It takes up too much room. They use toothpower instead!   I blogged about my downsizing several months ago. Now it’s time for me to downsize again.  But can I do it?

I don’t want to bore you with logistical details of how we plan to pack for our seven-week Asian adventure, and our time away from Zihuatanejo, but one challenge we are facing is how to pack for Japan and Korea while at the same time packing for a two-week cruise. We want to backpack throughout Japan and Korea with very minimal clothing since we are going to be moving around so much. Plus Japan hotel rooms are TINY.  They will barely fit us, nevermind a ton of suitcases.

Of course, I could choose to wear the same clothes for both Japan and Korea and on the cruise, but this really isn’t me!  I want to dress up at night. Half the fun of going on a cruise is wearing fancy clothes you don’t normally get to wear!  So Andy came up wtih a great plan.

Ship Shape

The tentative plan is to bring an extra suitcase of cruisewear and warm clothes (for Russia) with us to Japan and then mail said suitcase to our final hotel in Japan. The hotel said they would hold our luggage for up to 30 days. We will bring that suitcase aboard the ship and we should be set. Then after the cruise, we will make our way back to San Francisco to drop off our warm clothes and cruisewear and then fly back to Mexico. The minimalist videos I have been watching have helped me understand how my travel adventures will greatly be enhanced if I can manage to bring less stuff, and I’ve invested heavily in packing cubes (thanks to my friend Kara) to organize and compact my stuff.  I have a plan,  I have the right attitude, now I just need to get rid of my natural desire to overpack and wean myself off of my serious dress and skirt obsession.

We’re still not sure how much stuff we’ll have to store in Zihuatanejo (or where we will store it) until we return in December, but we’re working on that next. As you can see, all of this has greatly taken up my time and has prevented me from blogging.  These are fun problems to have!

What do you want to know?

I’ve decided to write my next blog post on things you might want to know about living abroad. So please email or post ANY and ALL questions you might have. I’ll pick out some and answer them in my next blog.

Peace out!

 

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9 thoughts on “I guess I’m a nomad!

  1. Another marvelous and exciting blog post Stacey. Just today I wondered what you were up to. I admire your good sense to pack lightly. I always wanted to pack like those fashion magazines suggest, “8 must have pieces for your trip!!’, but instead carry everything that fits into a bag. A very large bag. Can’t wait to hear more…

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    • Sandra, I’m 100 percent obsessed with these videos! I’ve watched tons and tons of them over the past several days and I’ve decided that I need a bit of a wardrobe update to prepare for my trip to Asia. I’m going to be going to Goodwill to find a few “musts” such as a long tunic sweater, and a few neutral colored tank tops. I also bought a fancy scarf to wear with jean leggings. I even found a pair of navy leggings with a built-in skirt attached to it!

      The women in Japan dress beautifully all of the time. They put French women to shame and I want to look fashionable and be comfortable. The problem is that these clothes will not pass muster in Mexico because people dress much more informally and it doesn’t make sense for me to spend a lot of money buying things I won’t wear after Asia, so Goodwill it is! I even went on EBAY the other day and bought a used Old Navy green travel skirt for ten bucks!

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  2. I really enjoyed reading about these “problems” Stacey. Makes me think about what to do if I were to take a big trip like that. I spent a month in Europe once and ended up buying another big suitcase in Italy (shoes and jacket and scarves you know!). So I know that doesn’t help but it sounds like it will be a miraculously awesome adventure.

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  3. your trip sounds wonderful! my husband and i lived in nagoya from 7/11-7/16. depending on where you are in japan, it may be pretty warm and muggy in april/may so keep that in mind when packing. wherever i’ve lived, (3 times in japan 1 time in sicily for a total of 10 years) i have always dressed for comfort, the same goes for traveling. a few nice pairs of slacks, a skirt and some tops to mix and match plus your backpacking clothes should be fine for japan.

    have a wonderful trip, until then, enjoy your company. if you have any questions about japan, feel free to ask.

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