The Moving Aboard Adventure: Appreciating Stuff and People

Image of artists manequin and books. Selling stuff

Anxious to get to Boston and our new life aboard our boat, I keep waiting for this selling stuff phase to be over and for the adventure to begin.

But when I stop and think about all that’s happened since we decided to make this move, I realize that the adventure is in full swing.

Selling as Extreme Sport

Adrenaline junkie that I am, the first thing I did was sell my iPhone on Ebay. That led to a good week of geography study and some practice in due diligence. I researched Nigeria, then Togo, by way Google Earth, and communicated with someone, somewhere. Next I documented statements by the “buyer,” forwarded spoof emails to the PayPal fraud squad and cleared my Ebay rep of the bogus bad review.

Then I learned about cell reception in the hills of West Virginia, (not great) when I talked to a very nice lady who makes and sells jam there. She was puzzled to receive the package containing my phone, but after I explained that I’d been scammed she cheerfully mailed it back to me. I plan to visit my new friend in WV in a few months and buy some of her jam.

I tried selling one more tech item on Ebay. That didn’t go well either, so I called the transaction off before we got to the “ship it to Nigeria” stage. I found that Ebay is best for selling low tech things like brass heating manifolds.

Selling as Design Withdrawl

Etsy is fun and beautiful. I have a few of my nicer vintage things listed on Etsy. In the process I’ve learned to make treasuries, which are lovely, inspiring or funny collections of things other people have for sale. The one I called Dorky Birds was fun to create.

I’ve also spent lots of time researching prices and in the process met some charming people. Etsy is a great diversion. Taking beautiful photos of beautiful old things and writing clever stories about them is right up my alley. But the selling takes a while, so this wasn’t my best avenue for getting a lot of our belongings sold quickly. Plus, working on my Etsy shop keeps me thinking about the design of  houses, and it’s really time to let go of that.

Selling as Literary Diversion

Books. Amazon. Don’t get me started. I really shouldn’t have touched this. I’ve got my Kindle, but I still really love real books. Once I pick up a book I can’t put it down again. Plus, every book I try to list for sale I find I want to read or re-read. I keep trying to find space in boxes for one more volume. Last night I had trouble parting with The World Without Us and Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman.

Taking books to Powell’s was okay. We got a little bit of money for some nice books, but I wouldn’t do it again without first trying to sell them myself.

Selling as List Building

For the last few weekends we’ve flung our doors wide and opened ourselves to the community. To me this is as scary as heading out into the open ocean, I’ve always been private, even while running a public blog and a column in the local paper. Now as people pickup up couches and tables and mattresses the world is getting a good look at my dust bunnies, etc.

The pay off for doing this has been huge. We put our story out there, on the blog and on our sale signs, which say Moving Aboard Sale, and people have responded not just to the opportunity to pick up a deal, but to the romance of our plan.

We knew we were going to be meeting some interesting people when we started crusising, but I didn’t realize that would start before we even left home, but that’s what’s happening. Many folks have stayed for an hour or more, talking with us, telling us stories of their own sailing or traveling adventures, recommending things we should see, places not to miss, restaurants that serve wonderful clam cakes.

Couples come in and ask us whether we are bad spellers who meant to write Abroad. It’s funny, every single time it’s the woman who thinks we misspelled and the guy thinks we’re moving onto a boat. He turns to her and says “I told you.” So ladies, broaden your thinking – some people actually want to live on boats! (To be fair though, we are planning on going abroad too.)

Then there was the guy who came in rubbing his hands together and said “I’m here to help you with that board.”

I’m happy to say that the new owners of Nameless and Eternal Project have both promised to send us pictures and stories of their fun with those vessels. They also plan to watch our progress toward our cruise, because they want to do something similar in the future. No double we’ll make lots of mistakes that they can learn from.

Years ago a friend told me that in order to market myself and my work I needed to “embrace sales.” Can’t say I’ve ever really followed his advice, until now. Doing this, selling my stuff, (can’t quite bring myself to call it crap as Adam Baker does) in order to fulfill a dream, makes it easier to open up, talk about these things I’ve loved, things that have served me well, or things I’ve made, and encourage others to bring them into their lives.

Thanks to everyone who has come by. Thanks for telling your stories, encouraging us, and sharing our excitement.

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