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Gone with the Wind!

Updated: Oct 7, 2021

Delighting in our new life!

We are finally off to give #vanlife a try! I am writing this blog from the passenger seat of Curiosity as Rossana takes her shift driving us to our next stop!

After weeks of selling and donating our belongings in the spirit of Biblical minimalism, we have cleaned out the house for our new tenants and moved into Curiosity, our Sprinter van. Those of you who have been following our journey know that we've been thinking and planning in the past year to transition into a new life stage of empty nest.

House made ready for our tenants

Many of our friends were envious and thought what we were doing is retiring in style. We, however, are not confused about our calling to live purposefully and be available to pick up and go on a short notice. This shift into a new season also signals our desire to live more by faith and pursue God more wholeheartedly.

We know we want to be untethered from our house so that we can go wherever and stay as long as we need, and continue to impact lives around us. People thought we were crazy to give up our house and asked us where the kids would go if they want to come "home". Our answer is surprising to them because home to our kids is never a physical structure but where the Lin family comes together. Our ultimate home is the eternal resting place with God so we are just passing through as temporary resident aliens in this world.

In the process of minimizing we learned a lot about ourselves, our relationship with stuff and the beauty of living more simply. We trace back this shift when we watched a documentary, Minimalism, on Netflix which inspired us to declutter and downsize from a 3 BR family house to a single BR apartment or tiny house. Around the same time I started following the #vanlife movement, so we bought a cargo van and upfitted it into a class B RV so that we can make long distance trips and be able to work on the road. Josh Becker (the More of Less) and Marie Kondo (her books and Netflix shows) were two solid sources of inspiration in the process. I also enjoyed reading Fumio Sasaki's book, "Goodbye, Things". We felt a shift in our spirit when we declared war against clutter and materialism. We prayed for wisdom to know what to do each step of the way.

Donating boxes of books to the local library

We started out with wardrobe which was the easiest to reduce. we got rid of 75%. Sports and music equipment were easy as well. I couldn't believe how easy and fun it was to sell three bikes on Craig's List, and in one week! On the other hand, it was embarrassing that we had so much stuff that we haven't used or worn for years but kept anyway. It was hard to part with items that had so much good memories associated with them. Kids' art work, memorabilia, old yearbooks and my first acoustic electric guitar that I used to lead worship since 1989 and traveled with me around the world. I also rediscovered by first "fancy" bible that I purchased for my short term missions trip to Jordan in 1987. It was a well-marked and well read leather bound NIV Bible.

We made a decision to keep up to two boxes of books which represented about 10% of our collection. Towards the end we encountered decision fatigue and started to keep some things to defer decision making or "just in case." We will know better our living arrangement upon return to the Seattle area in September so we figure we can do some more culling upon return. When all is said and done we were still surprised by how much we put into storage.

On July 22 we said good bye to our house and neighborhood to embark on a 7-week journey to spend a week in the majestic Banff and Jasper National Parks before driving 2900 miles across Trans Canada Highway 1 from Vancouver to Montreal, and then down to Chicago to send Stephen off to SAIC (School of the Art Institute of Chicago), and visit family in Minneapolis. Since we've already made two one-week trips in Curiosity, this extended trip is to help us work out the logistics of living longer term in the van and work remotely. We didn't make any advanced reservations between Calgary and Montreal so it would be fun to learn to use all the apps we've downloaded to hunt for safe camping/parking on the road. We plan to avoid Walmart or any parking lots; instead, we are opting for Park camping grounds and private RV parks.

For food we stocked the refrigerator in the van and plan to prepare most of our own meals. We also hope to figure out how to workout and stay fit while traveling on the road. It has been over a month since we terminated our gym membership and we are in a critical window to break a habit we've built up in the past 5 years. We have a good unlimited cellular plan with T-Mobile that allows us to roam in Canada at LTE speed for free. That's our plan for staying connected on the road. Friends gave us a bunch of Starbucks gift cards which would come in handy for a touch down office with free Wi-Fi.

We are very thankful that:

* We have a tenant, a TCK family, who signed a two year lease!

* The Rock church family sent us off with a love feast and honored us with gifts. We were so blessed that a brother provided free storage in his house for our car and remaining belongings.

*Even in the processing of selling things we met many interesting people and were able to bless other families with much loved instruments and equipment. For example, a dad bought the guitar in order to learn to play along with his daughter. Another dad picked up my golf set to play with his son and a husband got my telescope to explore astronomy with his wife, etc.

*Stephen landed in LA without a plan but ended up with a full time design internship at his brother's company under the direction of a talented creative director. He is also busy taking an art class at CDA to strengthen his fundamentals.

Curiosity enjoying fresh air at Banff National Park

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