Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Provisions for the Journey

I had a good time with my best friend this past weekend, and one of the things that came up in our conversation was how much fun the old computer game "Oregon Trail" was. I played it occasionally when my kids were growing up. Often, the key to survival in the pre-Walmart West was how well you chose to stock up before you left. I got pretty good at figuring out what needed to be acquired ahead of time and what could be found along the way, so most of my party usually made it to Oregon.

Of course, since it's the 21st rather than the 19th Century, I'll have the option of buying just about anything I need along the way. But, as I'm getting rid of things, I'm also acquiring a few replacements that I hope will fit my new lifestyle as a full-time RVer/eBayer. I've been avidly reading postings on several Yahoo groups as well as books on living on the road.

As a result, I'm "trading in" my big crockpot for a much smaller one and my full-size board games for travel-size replacements. I bought a smaller vintage Wagner cast iron skillet at a flea market recently and will give my larger one to my kid. I've given away many bags of clothing (including many cotton shirts that I normally used to iron), but I've also purchased a few items to replace them--warm, easy to launder items such as fleece.

My best friend gave me a great idea for dealing with the many photos I've acquired over a lifetime of sedentary living. I have at least a banker's box full of photographs. I was thinking of becoming a scrapbooker, something that's never appealed to me. But Helen suggested that I scan the photos and then have SnapFish or a similar company make a few books of the pictures I love the most. My experience has been that, once I get signed up for one of these online photo companies, they give me lots of coupons and special deals. So I could make multiple photobooks on different topics. I find this a lot more appealing than dealing with the hardcopy photos, glue, etc.

Scanning photos reminds me of another "trade" I need to make before I go. I currently use a huge laser printer that also faxes, scans and copies. There won't be room for it in my moho, so I'm beginning to look for a portable printer. So getting the photos scanned before I leave town seems like a good idea, and perhaps I can delegate portions of this task to my kid.

I will also be bringing along an inventory of things to sell on eBay. Fortunately, several years ago, I realized that I was spending too much time and energy figuring out how to safely ship antiques and collectibles. So I limited my eBay sales mostly to textiles, such as ladies' designer vintage silk scarves, antique table linens, and those goofy Midcentury sewing fabrics. (The photo above is a quilt I'm making from vintage fabrics...I'll be sewing and selling these along the way as I travel, too.) All of these things can be stored compactly and shipped easily.

Looking for wonderful eBay inventory along the road will be part of the fun...but I'm also stocking up right now on silk scarves so I'll have plenty of inventory to keep my eBay business thriving once I leave. In fact, I made a major purchase yesterday, buying a Hollywood scarf collector's stash, that cost me almost as much as my Toyota Dolphin. It's the biggest investment I've ever made in eBay fodder, but it will keep my business afloat for months to come, so I think it's the right thing to do.

I'd love input from my friends on the road who are reading this. Play an updated version of "Oregon Trail," and tell me what I need to bring and what I should leave behind. I know some of this is a very personal decision...I'll probably bring more books than I really need, but I've done that my whole life and I'd be surprised if that changes now :-)

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