Life in Two Piles

We have been quite busy since our last post. This past weekend, we started seriously sorting, packing, and stacking everything that we will not be selling at our estate sale. We moved the furniture out of the guest room and converted it into a temporary storage area with two piles; one for everything we will be taking with us and the other for the mementos and clothing we will be piling into a 5’x5′ storage unit. For comparison’s sake, that’s smaller than the walk-in closet in our bedroom.  These two piles will stay in our guest room for the next two weeks and be off limits to the throngs of people we are hoping will walk through the house to purchase everything else.

However, before turning over all remaining items in our house to the estate sale company, we had two more big sales ourselves: our last car and Doug’s second-to-last mountain bike. Last week the woman who bought our Honda Civic brought her friend over to look at our Honda Element. As it turned out, Doug already knew her friend, the owner of the local bike shop, Singletrack Cycles, where Doug bought many of his bikes and parts over the years… it’s a small world, indeed. She loved the Element and bought it with the agreement to delay transfer until after we move out of our house in the middle of March, provided Doug had new brake pads and rotors installed. That couldn’t have worked out better! Then one of my friends saw Doug’s post about his Specialized Stumpjumper 29er being ready for a new home. Her husband was looking for a new bike — they were literally standing in a bike shop when she saw the post on Facebook — and they came by to look at it last night. This was a double win for me in that I got to see an old friend and Doug was able to know his “Stumpy” was going to a good home.

A childhood companion set to be packed away with winter coats and snowboard gear.
A childhood companion set to be packed away with winter coats and snowboard gear.

After just nine days on the market, we sold our house and are working out the last few details from the inspection. Fortunately, Doug wrapped up all obligations associated with his strategy guide writing and finished his first self-published travel novella, One Lousy Pirate, so he had some time to handle the activities for the house sale. He talked regularly with our real estate agent  — Justin donates $500 to the local mountain bike organization for every house he buys/sells — to negotiate and finalize the closing. Between figuring out responses to the buyer, scheduling quotes, and then trying to decide which repairs were necessary, it kept him quite busy over the past few weeks. It was great to have him available to take care of these time-consuming details.

The contents of our 2100 square-foot home has been reduced to these two piles.
The contents of our 2100 square-foot home has been reduced to these two piles.

As Doug mentioned in our last post on February 4th I let Expeditors know of my departure plans just over six weeks from my last day, March 14th. Giving six weeks of notice gave me time to execute on a succession plan while being in a good place financially to survive on the outside chance that I was immediately shown the door. Reality couldn’t have been farther from that latter statement. I talked with a dozen people that day, all managers, directors, and the new CIO, with whom I had done multi-million dollar infrastructure projects. I needed the right people to know for the formalities of succession planning to start. These discussions were emotionally harder than expected, but everyone was very excited for us and made me promise to contact them when I was back in town and ready to rejoin the workforce. Additionally, the CIO, who I attended business school with and who recruited me to Expeditors, told me to promise to bring our company branch list with me. He reminded me that we have over 250 branches all over the world and that if we ever find ourselves in trouble to contact the nearest branch and they will help us. My eyes welled up again at the amazing support that I was receiving given the bad news I was delivering. Fast forward to last week and shockingly, my departure was still known by just a few people until Wednesday. My supervisor decided to announce my mid-March departure for our round the world cycling adventure in a full department meeting (over 80 people). News like that travels fast in a large company and within a few hours, I was bombarded with congratulations and  questions. I finally had the opportunity to talk openly. What a relief… and distraction, but mostly a relief.

The Doug Walsh Collection -- a copy of every strategy guide he wrote.
The Doug Walsh Collection — a copy of every strategy guide he wrote. They used to be so thin!

Lastly, snow, snow, and more snow in the mountains over the last two weeks has all but dashed our hopes of leaving western Washington via the North Cascades highway. The Cascades received over seven feet of snow in the last two weeks and taking highway 2 over Stevens Pass seems all but inevitable. We still have our fingers crossed for a Pineapple Express (or three), but we’ll have to wait and see. Speaking of waiting, the next four weeks before our departure seem so far away, but we’ll fill the time by refining our packing strategy, dragging Doug to spin classes (he’ll go kicking and screaming the whole way) and plenty of lunches, dinners, and laughs with friends.

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4 Comments
  1. This is so wonderful, guys. Everything seems to be working out the best you could have hoped for. Great photos!! Congratulations on all the successes.

  2. The word “awesome” is rarely used in its true meaning and so overused it’s crazy, but the way that things have been lining up and continue to line up for the two of you is nothing but AWESOME and inspiring!

    1. Thanks Eric! We’ve been walking around in quiet astonishment lately. On the one hand, we planned this out and talked over the details for so long that we’re not completely surprised. But, on the other hand, the serendipity is beyond what we could have dared hope for.

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About Us

We're Doug & Kristin Walsh, a couple of Washingtonians who love to travel, both abroad and in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest. We set off to travel the world in 2014, primarily by bicycle. We're back home now, but the travel bug continues to be fed every chance we get.

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