Burning My Bridges at Fifty (part four)
Now I had retired from full-time parenting, writing, and running my investments. There was only one part left if I wanted to go abroad, an increasingly likely scenario if I could find a place, unlike Europe, that I could afford.
I had to find a way to handle the few pieces of mail and the few bills that wouldn’t be forwarded on to me by the Internet.
I thought about following Tim’s advice about outsourcing personal assistants to India. That wouldn’t solve the problem. I needed someone to look at all the shit that comes in and sort it.
The first thing I did is start thinking about the mail that comes in. So much of it is catalogues, announcements, newsletters, pitches, and fundraising. To the extent I could, I e-mailed or wrote people and told me to get them off of their lists. I had my landlord and my banker start sending notices by e-mail. I got in touch with stopthejunkmail.com and had them go to work taking me off all the lists. I could have done this myself, but I didn’t feel like taking too much time.
This was all leading to a major purchase, an Apple MacBook Air, which gave me a reduction in weight, a good feeling, and I have to admit, a new toy to enjoy. What won me over was the MobileMe service and the ability to use another computer’s optical drive as a remote drive. One can rent movies from the iTunes store and back up files wirelessly. The large files, though, overwhelm the Wi-Fi gods, so I bought a little 250 GB drive that only weighs seven ounces, has its own retractable USB cord and comes with a nice little protective storage bag.
I spent about two days trying to figure out how to back up my files by using Apple’s MobileMe service. It doesn’t work well with large files, so I just figured out how to back up some vital Word documents. My calendar and contacts were already backed up using MobileMe with my laptop and iPhone.
I spent an inordinate time backing up 2000 e-mails on AOL’s AOL Desk Top. This was a pain, but some of my most creative writing during the last couple of years was crafted in this temporary medium. Now I can keep my important 1600 e-mails concerning bill notices, old travel itineraries, forwarded jokes, Viagra, and refinancing along with the 400 more important messages with friends.
I admit that the computer is expensive, but I asked for it as an early birthday present, and the Birthday Bunny left it under my pillow.
I geared up in other ways. I bought a new rolling bag. I bought a travel towel, a rain jacket, a keychain backpack in part because of this post Tim’s post on traveling light and thought about all the things that I could eliminate.
Unlike Tim Ferriss, I have accumulated all the detritus of middle-aged hypochondriasis and several intractable medical conditions. I have sleep apnea and have to carry a CPAP machine with me. I found one that is one-third the size and half the weight. This fits better and saves me from having to carry two bags. I also have a bunch of meds, a night splint, a tendency to get cold at night, which requires pajamas, various gadget requirements such as cords and so forth, and the almost constant schlepping of large volumes that I promise myself I will read. Pens, notebooks, toiletries, over-the-counter medicines, contact lenses and three pairs of glasses—reading, sunglasses, and progressive prescription glasses—are necessities and luxuries that make it very hard for me to strip down quite as Tim, but I am doing a little better.
All of these gadgets can work on 110-240v power which means that I only need a multi-country adapter with no transformer such as the one sold at Hammacher Schlemmer (I know, this is a ridiculously expensive store, but they take anything back that doesn’t work and this particular gadget isn’t badly priced.)
My day-to-day life was outsourced, my bag was packed, my files were backed up, and my financial life had been benignly hijacked. I was ready to go. Where?
No comments yet.