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The Transition: San Francisco

Packing Up

It just so happened that my Dad and Step-Mom, Ann had been planning a big trip to Costa Rica while I was trying not to be a software engineer. They invited me to come along and of course I accepted. These people don’t travel on the cheap. I was a little worried about the expense but I was able to find a good ESL training outfit in Quepos, Costa Rica near Manuel Antonio, the last stop on the vacation itinerary. So that was settled. I signed up for my ESL class with TEFL International for February and booked a one way ticket to Costa Rica. It felt pretty good to have made up my mind and committed to something exciting like this.

Initially I planned on keeping my apartment in San Francisco while I did the ESL training and vacationed with the family. I guess I was still sitting on the fence a little bit. I shit-canned that idea. Here’s why:

  • Seven weeks of bugging some friend to water my plants and pick up my mail

  • I wouldn’t be able to start teaching after completing the ESL course. I would have had to go back to San Francisco, pack up, and then return to wherever I was going to teach. That’s a bunch of wasted money.

  • If I returned to San Francisco after training I might have just chickened out and not taken a teaching job.

Instead I decided to pack up all of my stuff, put it in storage in San Francisco, and move back to Colorado (where my family is) for a month or so before I left for Costa Rica. By getting rid of the apartment and sponging off of my family for a month I figure I saved as much as $10K. That’ll go a long way in Cost Rica, depending on what my beer budget turns out to be.

Deciding to pack up your stuff and put it in storage is one thing. Packing up your stuff and putting it in storage is another. What should I keep? I guess that depends on how long I’ll be gone. How long will I be gone? Beats me. Remember all that awesome home entertainment stuff I bought? What am I going to do with that? I can’t just shove that stuff into a storage unit can I? And my old, dirty (really dirty) Pottery Barn slip cover mega-comfortable couch that has become a part of me? How do I get that to Costa Rica? Have you ever heard the expression, “You don’t own your stuff, your stuff owns you.”? I agree with that 100%. I decided to whittle down all of my belongings to a studio apartment worth of stuff ... and if it wouldn’t fit into a $118/month 5‘X10’ Public Storage unit it was gone. By the way, a 5‘X10’ Public Storage unit in San Francisco is really a 4’6”X9’ storage unit. If things go bad with my transition to an ESL career I can fall back to San Francisco. If things go really well with ESL then I have a bunch of stuff that I don’t use and pay to store sitting in San Francisco. I’ll deal with that when I need to. Let me know if you have solved this problem already.

It was a major league project to decide what to store, sell, throw away or haul to Colorado. Here are the highlights:

  • Beloved couch and wobbly dining room set was picked up by a company called “Got Junk?”. A moment of silence for my couch please.

  • Bed, coffee table, kitchen table sold on craigslist.

  • Four jeep-loads of stuff went to Goodwill.

  • Plants went to friends or were left on the curb and picked up by strangers.

  • Ski stuff, Winter clothes, and stuff for Costa Rica was packed into my Jeep.

Disassembling my San Francisco life was a total drag. I put it off for as long as I could and then had to kick into high gear to get it all done before December 15th, the day the building manager was coming over for inspection. I stared at my stuff a lot and wondered why I was putting myself through this. I’d start to freak out ... but I could always talk myself down just by saying to myself, “You gotta do something, dude.”

One way or another it all got done with some help from a couple of friends at crunch time. Thanks Mandy. Thanks Scott. Time to hit the road.

Posted by dfilipia 13:20 Archived in Costa Rica Tagged preparation

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