Pulpology: Mark & Sonia's Intercontinental Absurdities!

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13 July 2008
Wellllll, that sucked
What is the sound of one house not renting?

Maybe in an alternate universe, there's an alternate version of me who is a real estate mogul, and everything she touches turns to gold. Alas, in this universe, the me who is trying to rent her house is not off to a stellar start.

Long story short: after busting our humps for the past week to get our house cleaned up and de-cluttered and ready for potential renters to come by, we got things to a presentable enough state to have an "open house" of sorts. This was recommended to me by a property manager who advised setting up a specific block of time for people to come by, so we don't get barraged with emails. Well, not only did we not get barraged, not a single person showed up. (Cue the trumpets: wah wah wah waaaaaaaaaaahhhhh.)

OK, OK, I'm trying to look on the bright side of life. Yes, the house looks fantastic. It hasn't looked this good since we had it on the market trying to sell it. Yes, we only advertised it in one place, and we do plan to cast a much wider net in the coming weeks. Yes, we had to start somewhere. And, yes, I did use the three hours on Sunday afternoon to update the "Planning" section of the site with lots of juicy tidbits. (I'm particularly proud of the Packing List in the "Gear" section.) But it still smarts a bit to give up an entire weekend, first cleaning and then waiting around for nobody to show up.

Oh well, onward and upward. The right tenant is out there, somewhere! And in the meantime, here are a few lovely pics of our lovely cleaned-up house for your viewing pleasure:

ooooo! look at this lovely exterior!

aaaaaaah, the fabulous partially-covered deck!

oooooooh, and here's another shot of the deck!

and this is the, um, charming spacious living room with walk-up bay windows

OK, I admit, here's where it starts getting supremely uninteresting... but I can't stop now!

just one more, I promise! this isn't even the greatest shot of the kitchen but apparently you have to prove there *is* one in the house...

Posted by soniaz at 5:00 PM | Link | 2 comments

05 July 2008
Independence, Redux

It's a little hard to believe that a year has passed. Exactly one year ago, I'd officially declared my independence from the 9-5 grind and was on a plane headed for Costa Rica to start 10 weeks of solo travel through Central America. OK, so I had a great trip, full of volcano hikes, scuba, meeting other travelers, and the usual adventures... but a year later, what's really changed? On the surface, it would seem not much. I'm back at the same job, still in the house, still cranking through the same basic daily grind. But this life-changing trip did cause a few permanent shifts, some minor, some major:

I've lost my tolerance for air conditioning.
Yes, I know, DC in the summer requires AC. It's tropical. But I've noticed myself getting really irritated at the frigid temperatures at the office, at home, on the Metro. Do we really need to expend so much energy controlling our environment? A little sweat, a bit of discomfort, it's not the end of the world! Plus I think all the moving around from hot to cold is making us sick.

I have a new appreciation for public transport.
It'll never be as cool as the Guatemalan chickenbus system, but getting around on the Metro (and more recently on New York's subway) is not a bad way to go. It takes a bit of patience, especially at the end of a long day at work. And we do still have one car in our household, so I haven't gone completely cold turkey. But I've learned to enjoy the sport and adventure involved in getting from point A to point B with nothing but my trusty SmartCard.

People are out there living the dream... more than you'd think.
Certainly being out & about among other travelers, I met many people who were breaking out of the mold and living their travel dreams. But even since I've been back, I've met lots of folks who are making big changes. Some, like my Couchsurfing cohort Dave Lee, are taking a year off to travel. Some, like Christine Gilbert of almostfearless.com, are moving overseas and making a career change to try something they've always wanted to do. Some, like my sister Laura, are opting for a change of scenery, just because they can. It's inspiring and empowering to hear their stories, and once I got tapped into the alterna-travel scene, I realized it's not as uncommon as I'd thought.

Declare it, set a date, do it.
This one's not new... it's a lesson I've been continually re-learning my entire life. It's so easy to get bogged down in the reasons not to do something, or the mind-boggling number of steps necessary to get started. Setting a date, and doing something irreversible like quitting your job or buying a plane ticket, is a sure-fire way to turn the dream into reality. I would've thought that doing it once before would make it easier to pack everything up into a backpack and leave behind the comforts of home for the adventures of travel. But I have to admit that the daily routine sucks me back into an entropic state more often than not. Keeping an eye on the prize is tough, even as we get closer to our proposed departure date! I think it may be time for something radical, like buying those tickets for the first leg of our trip to Perth, even though there's a seemingly endless To-Do List standing between us and sailing off into the sunset.

Time to shrug off the silky, seductive tendrils of routine and make a new Declaration of Independence! Freedom of the open road, here we come.

Posted by soniaz at 12:00 AM | Link | 1 comment