Hello and welcome back. Today is the first of March. My last day ever at work was 28 February 2018. I had breakfast, recycling pickup, dropped the car with pink slips signed over to my ex wife’s house and took Bart to a hotel by SFO. I left for Japan after a night of beer. Imagine the shock and surprise of no calls, work email, texts after 20 years of all those.
I had prepared to go for months before. I did the following stuff:
- Signed up for social security with direct deposit to one of my two bank accounts.
- Got rid of all property including car, small furniture, clothes, paper that could be shredded. I had a recycling pickup on 28 February and all was gone. The car went next. I was left with a Tortuga Outbreaker travel backpack and a daypack. I left a small Rubbermaid container at my ex wife’s house with memories and I think an iPad when I dropped the car off.
- Got rid of all debt. I had zero bills. No credit cards. No recurring debt. You want this. This is like getting rid of property and things.
- Setup some basic services to use when gone. Things like google voice and a mail forwarding service. Tie the two bank accounts together for ACH money transfers. You want google voice and it’s easier to get when still in the US. You can make calls, receive text and voicemail messages as though you are in the US. Very handy for two factor authentication and verification texts from banks and other agencies. You want a US mail service that is not your family. They’re not responsible for your crap. So find one. You want your banks to be completely separate but tied together.
- Decide on reasonable electronics to take. I took an iPhone 7 Plus and a MacBook 2017 12 inch laptop. I also took a fujifilm x100f camera. Decide on small footprint charging cables and devices. Make sure of voltage, plugs and power needs a few times.
- Here is the final thing. Get rid of everything else. You don’t need it. Don’t be a minimalist. Be a realist.
So on 1 March I was ready. Tickets for my flights from SFO to Japan and then on to Vietnam. All my things seemed done. I was on the airplane at 30k feet when it occurred to me that I was done. No more work. No responsibility. No tasks. No nothing. 20 years come and gone. But it would take longer to realize I was truly done.
I felt like I had done the things above best as I could. The main thing was I was flying away. I’d spend a week in Tokyo, some days in Hiroshima and then Osaka. I’d ride the Shinkansen to all destinations in japan. From Osaka I would go to Vietnam.
Chapter 2 will tell you some more. Stay tuned. This is not about the places though. This is about the how and why of it. The escape to Japan was the basic step. Now we will cover the how and why.