How living in Europe for nearly a year changed us | Prime Living


Last updated 8/26/2020 at 1:02pm

SharonAnn and Dan have returned to Washington after nearly a year living around Europe. Settling in here, they're already planning their next adventures.

Freewheelin' up until now has meant we are untethered. But actually, we aren't. We made our way back to Washington from Europe in early July and hit the ground running with house hunting. It's time to make a nest, a home base from which to travel.

While in France, we checked out homes for sale north of Seattle, and followed that news for three months until we could visit potential homes. When we recovered from jet lag, our agent started sending us listings, and we set off on the hunt for a new home.

It's not easy. After visiting 10 places for sale, we found the one we could make our home in Sequim. You probably know many things about Sequim, including the July Lavender Festival. But did you know it's called "The Blue Hole?" I have renamed it "The Blue Zone" after a book I read by that name about places people live long and healthy lives.

Do you believe you can live beyond age 100 and remain healthy, active, and involved in family and community in a meaningful way? I do, and intend to prove it.

Nesting feels challenging because of the book I wrote and published in March of this year. It's called The Secret To RIGHTsizing, A guide to redesigning your life. It reveals my story and efforts to lighten my physical and emotional ball and chain attachment to stuff. How do I create a comfortable home and keep the "things" to a minimum?

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I noticed I need to learn the lessons in the book again myself! In preparation for our year-long trip to Europe, while pet-sitting, we sold or donated nearly everything we owned, although I have a storage cube in San Diego that I want to get shipped to Sequim. We had a small storage rental here in Edmonds when we were gone.

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Moving can be a logistical puzzle. A friend inherited some excellent living room

furniture, and passed along her still-great furniture to us. We had to rent a bigger storage, transfer our small quantity into the bigger one, and store the still-great furniture until escrow closes. Then we will have to get it moved to Sequim.

Have you been bed-shopping lately? Yes, we went bed-shopping, and slept around. The bed needs to be delivered when escrow closes, who knows when? Or we will have to sleep who knows where?

Then, of course, we must figure out the utilities and oh, nightmare, the internet service provider. Reviewers are not shy about specific problems, and each available company has many complaints, so we are left thinking we must choose between crappy service A and crappy reception B. Whew! The logistics involved are numerous.

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In the meantime, we are re-acclimating to the U.S. after traveling for so long. One difference we note is about roundabouts in our roads. In Europe, once we got used to them, we see how they allowed traffic to keep moving. Only in the big cities did we find stop-and-go traffic lights. Of course, Scotland was our first experience driving on the left, and heading into and out of a roundabout was "sporty," as Dan Says. Who needs adrenaline sports when you have left-entry roundabouts, especially in the dark, in the rain?

We observed a more leisurely way of living, especially in France. At dinner, we often had an "apero" (aperitif) consisting of a homemade liqueur in thimble-sized glasses and a few fresh nuts or a light wine with a bit of dry sausage-like salami. After about 20 minutes, we all moved to the table, primed for food.

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Our host brought out the meal. The French way of eating is to serve the entrée, then a salad, then a cheese plate, then something sweet. Most of the time, they were clearing the plates between foods. Meals can routinely last more than two hours. In towns, employees often have two hours for a lunch break. It's a high point of the day. Easy-going conversations with family and friends offer outlets for job stress, so they help regulate life happiness. We want to keep this lifestyle going forward whenever possible.

Spending time outdoors happens here and in Europe. We notice many who work in their garden, care for animals outside, walk dogs, and explore the natural world. We'll continue this practice even as we settle into our new home. Our hosts in Europe spent very little time in front of the TV, an hour at most to follow the news or a show. They stayed slender (we intend to also) because they continued moving instead of spending hours every day sitting in front of the TV.

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Meeting so many who followed their interests by creating their lives around them helped us realize we can create our lives around our interests. We made friends with people who were passionate about horses, pygmy goats, golfing, gardening, praying, welding metal sculptures, cats, dogs, rabbits, walking/hiking/biking, photography, and exploring the world. We're not done traveling and pet sitting.

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French markets sparked the most recent fascination with vintage. People buy and sell and collect. There is a world out there involved in country markets, flea markets, and swap meets.

The hunt for the next treasure is thrilling, and as a business consultant, I am most interested in how sellers of vintage grow their business. It's thrilling. I have so much to investigate!

Find out more: SharonAnn and Dan's page on Facebook called petsittingaroundtheworld. Find out about SharonAnn's book The Secret to RIGHTsizing (a guide to redesigning your life) and the latest interest, helping online vintage sellers stand out in the crowd. Follow SharonAnnHamilton Facebook or Email: [email protected]


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