Before Residential Cruising: Letting Go

Getting ready to leave my home of 20 years to move onto the ship I anticipate to be my home for the next 20 years required a lot of letting go, releasing. It wasn’t simply about “moving away” when you go from a large house to a small cabin.

I released family heirlooms. I released many of my favorite clothes and jewelry. My carefully curated collection of kitchen appliances and eating ware — released. Plants, artwork, and even exercise gear – all released. And keepsakes from my multiple exotic trips adorning my home — released. Fortunately I have kept my friends.

I had what felt like an ideal life. Beautiful mountain views from my 40 acres on the Mesa. Delightful cats to keep me entertained and company. Things I loved to wear for guests, going to the theater, taking walks, and just hanging around filled my heart. And when we had friends over, I relished pulling out one set of dishes or another, depending on my mood at the time.

Making More than Space

As I slowly decluttered a layer at a time, getting rid of things, I realized I was creating freedom in my life. I could feel the weight of Stuff lift from my shoulders. My creativity returned the more I cleared out the closets, cabinets, and drawers. That sense of freedom and lightness was worth the struggle with my heart. My heart eventually agreed with my brain — less is more.

If you’ve been reading these Residential Cruising articles for awhile, you’ll know that our first ship was “released” when they delayed its departure without explanation. We quickly found another ship, but its departure date was later than we originally had planned for, so we had to nest somewhere for the winter.

(Photo: Jametlene Reskp via Unsplash)

That turned out to be a gift. One, we were exhausted from getting out of our house in a hurry. Two, the ensuing two-month Tour of The West to say goodbye to family and friends wrung out the last of our energy. We needed weeks, if not a couple of months, to recharge, and we’ve decided it was a lot better to do that in a temporary apartment near friends than on a ship, getting going on a big new adventure.

The letting go was more pervasive than you might think. I gave up all the intentionally developed habits and lifestyle choices to support my idea for a long, vibrant life. I’d already given up my stationary bike and my miles of walking each week. My isometric routine had fallen by the wayside in the time crunch involved with getting out of the house. Even my meditation practice was accidentally on hiatus for a few months. My clean diet of a green smoothies and no grains fell by the wayside.

At least my twice-daily warm mask for my dry eyes stayed a beloved ritual. And I still had my “morning cocktail” of mushroom powder tea and other nutritious elements. I had my can of mixed, raw nuts with coco nibs for snacks. And Randy and I still enjoyed our evening of mushroom tea as we unwound from the day. But those habits also fell away with time, too.

I thought for sure that my healthy routines would return once I got settled. I knew for sure that having a familiar ritual would help me feel grounded. But those rituals didn’t return. And I wondered why. I wondered if maybe that was part of the change I’d embraced.

Then it occurred to me: I’d let go of my Colorado residency, Colorado being my native state. I’d let go of the house I designed. I’d even let go of my pets (nature took care of most of them, a neighbor took care of the other one). I’d let go of all that shaped me. I was mourning. Now it’s time to embrace the new.

New Rituals

I still want to have a healthy diet that will support a long, vibrant life. I still want to surround myself with things I love, though not nearly as many. I want to release the weight I added to my frame during our Big Release. (I have learned that stress can lead to weight gain, especially at the belly because of hormone changes and cortisol being especially fond of the stomach area. Ugh!)

Developing a new routine to enhance flexibility and strength is high on my list of rituals to add back to my life. I’m looking forward to incorporating new friends with my old friends. And the best part is, I’m looking forward to someone else preparing my healthy foods.

Initially I was distressed about how much I’d changed. Until I realized that the changes were part of letting go of the old to make room for embracing the new.

When you are facing a life-changing event, be prepared to let go of the old so you can make room for embracing the new. It can be absolutely freeing.

19 thoughts on “Before Residential Cruising: Letting Go”

  1. I feel ya, Kit… changes in our surroundings, our activities, and our goals all require changes in our approach to day-to-day life. I envy you two for being willing and able to cast everything aside to embrace a new lifestyle… it takes guts! Ya’ll rock!

  2. Yesterday I started moving some of my effects from the apartment I have lived in for 30 years to my partners apartment in a town 20 miles away. I am writing this on my desktop here, the first thing to be moved.

    We have been a couple for almost 20 years with her in her home and I often at hers. She has been retired for 10 years and i will the middle of next year. I was by her on the October 7th when the devastating attack by Hamas occurred and have been here since. So though we planned for this to happen next year events have brought it forward.

    In the course of my life moving from the States to Israel, then from marriage and kibbutz to single and city, I have learned to relinquish both physical and habitual “possessions”. Life is dynamic and you do with what you have what you can has become my motto. I gain further closeness with the one I love at the cost of a marginal amount of independence.

    She too has had to adjust to the fact of the continual proximity. What I am trying to say is your words struck a chord with me and I (we) too have shared many of your feelings and emotions while embracing the development. Yes life is dynamic. All the best to you both. Nimrod and Rachel

    • Life is indeed dynamic, Nimrod. Your story is powerful about the changes, the letting go, and loss. That change affects us mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I’m glad you and Rachel can be there for each other. Thanks for sharing it.

  3. Good luck on your new adventure! Our thoughts and prayers will be with you always! We’ll miss seeing you on Log Hill, but happy and excited for you both. Stay safe, happy, healthy and enjoying what lies ahead!

    • It’s so nice to hear from you, Lynda! Thanks for all your good wishes. Now that we are on our way to our residential cruising life we do expect to be happier and healthier than ever, and will continue to be safe, and enjoy what’s ahead. We miss seeing you on the Mesa but glad we have memories to look back on.

      You stay happy and healthy as well. All my best!

  4. I, too, have undergone a fairly sad downsizing, but not quite as severe as yours. I am not a packrat or hoarder, but selling a 3,200 sqft home of 28 years and downsizing to 1800 ft3 required unloading a lot of stuff from 3 decades. My mother’s piano from 1940 that she played and I learned on had to go. Leaving behind a 100 year old concrete bench decorated in ceramic tile (by my tile setter grandfather from 1923) where I have family photos of me sitting on it in his yard as a 3 year old. Gone. Boxes with things like my ‘art work’ from the 2nd grade — gone. Getting rid of nicknacks collected from years of travel — I could go on. I felt like a part of my life is gone forever (and it is).

    But in one respect, we did our 2 kids a favor. Because once we are gone, it won’t fall to them to have to get rid of that stuff. It caused some sadness, just like you are feeling.

    I now have a sense of lightness that is freeing. Still have more to get rid of at the new house as we did move ‘some’ boxes of stuff we couldn’t bear to part with. But that is stage two of this process.

    And I joke — we know two couples with 4,000+ sqft homes plus full attic, plus full basements, plus 3 car garages FULL of stuff — can’t park their cars in the garage. My joke is that when they are gone, the only option for their kids is a can of gasoline and a match.

    • I can feel your struggle in downsizing, DavidW. You know how much we struggled, given your experience. I’m glad you didn’t have to go from 3200 sf to 250sf – THAT is really tough.

      My brother used to say that if moving our folks had fallen on him alone he would have just brought in a bulldozer. But then, he would have missed the little treasures I found: a gold dollar coin from 1896, antique shells and rocks our great grandparents found and collected, interesting books, and so much more.

      I’m glad I went through our stuff, as bestas I could, and processed it so others could enjoy what we no longer could. Also a 1940 piano of my grandmother’s, antique furniture, various family heirlooms, and on and on it goes.

      I can’t urge people strongly enough to start decluttering now so it’s not stressful on them — or those who are left to get rid of the rest. It is freeing and liberating!

      • If I was ludicrously rich, I’d buy you a ship (and a crew, and all the food you would need, water, satellite internet, etc).

        But in spite of my lack of ability thereof, I expect 2024 is going to be a good year for both of you. 💕

        • Tom, that’s the sweetest and most generous gift I can imagine. And, if you were to be that rich, you could join us and bring all of the friends we wanted! Having a good community is an important element of our adventure.

          Wishing you an excellent 2024, sir!

  5. Less stuff, more freedom. But major changes, even if for the better, are inherently stressful. May you two be blessed with rest and peace.

    Much appreciated, Matt, as long as we don’t rest IN peace anytime soon! -rc

  6. Having been the one responsible for cleaning out the home of a deceased relative, I don’t want my kids to have to do that. They’re making their own memories. They don’t need the clutter associated with mine.

    A friend of mine downsized and took digital pictures of the “released” items. The more important items he’s organized and put in the cloud for his kids.

    • Rob, I watched my mom declutter her mom’s house as my grandmother moved into her senior apartment complex. Ugh, what an ordeal it was.

      As I started decluttering my folks’ house, helping them move into their retirement apartment, I realized I couldn’t continue the family tradition. And besides, we don’t have kids! 😀 I started decluttering immediately. The irony is that I decluttered on and off for 10 years before our big crunch. Good thing I did as much as I did, too bad I hadn’t done more along the way. Not a problem now!

      People suggested we take photos of our stuff, as your friend did. I find I don’t look back at photos and decided that was just more clutter — though more easily removed. The only photos I have of our things are the ones I took to sell, donate, or give to f&f, and of “snapshots” taken of things and events along the way.

      Do you feel lighter and more free, as Randy and I do?

      • The declutter is a work in progress, likely to accelerate once our kids are out of college and on their own. But in the declutter process I came across the birth certificates of my grandparents, one hand-written in the early 1900’s entirely in Russian. I’m going to put these in a digital archive somewhere.

        The problem I’ve discovered is that there’s no site to upload digital archives to make it guaranteed-accessible to future generations. Even if the cloud service was free, maintaining the account information across generations would be challenging.

        As a civilization we’ve gained visibility into ancient societies from libraries of “books” in various formats and languages because they were written onto physical media. But our technology-based media is going to render us invisible/inscrutable to future generations. But given our shift to reality-based entertainment, that might also be a good thing.

        I don’t know about guarantees, but is run by the Mormon Church, which has a religious interest in ancestry. They would love to have things like scans of handwritten birth certificates. I *think* there is a free membership tier. -rc

        • A little late to the party, but…. isn’t run by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; it’s a for-profit entity that does have a limited-use, free account. For a full-use free account, the Church has its own site,, which can be accessed by anyone. The sign up process is easy, and gives you access to the entire site, including their billion+-name database, record databases, and the ability to upload your own memories, stories, and photos.

          Thanks for bringing me up to date! Wikipedia notes that “was initially to help members of the [LDS] church to research their ancestors to support the church’s practice of conducting baptisms for dead relatives/ancestors into the church.” Goal and ownership are indeed different things. -rc

  7. I have also planed to be on a residential cruise ship sailing the world for 3 years. It was due to sail the 1st of November 2023. But then just 8 days before we were due to sail it was delayed for 11 days. No problem the cruise line said, still come to Istanbul and the cruise line will house us in a hotel till the ship sails. But on the 10th of November it was canceled outright. Citing the Gaza war for the reason why one of the financial backers pulled out and they cannot get another backer in time for the weather window and all the ports that have been booked. So they said sorry but will refund everyone their money. We had to come up with a plan B very fast. Staying with family members was the only option. Yes we had retained our family home and rented it out, just before we left in late October. But we could not kick out the new tenants as she was due to have her 2 child in early January.

    We kept the comfortable house as we intend to return here after the 3 years away. Also it would give us some extra income while we were away. Also we will be 74 and 78 when we get back we decided we don’t want to start furnishing a house from scratch at that age. So most of our stuff went into storage a locked storage unit.

    Before we started our declutterring and disposing we used a GoPro camera to take a movie of each of our rooms, as we had it laid out. Not forgetting to go to the window and have a view we would be very familiar with. Then systematically open each drawer and cupboard in turn and talk/describe what we had in each drawer and cupboard. Not moving the camera too fast so we can take in what is in there. Then we have a complete copy of what we have in our house. So if we get sentimental we can just watch the recording. Far better than taking individual photos of our stuff as it is far too time consuming. We are now house sitting and looking after people’s pets. All good we are making planes to join another residential cruise ship later in the year.

    You are describing Life At Sea, and it is actually much worse than you’re saying here. They told you to come to Turkey even though they KNEW they didn’t have a ship, and even if they had successfully taken ownership of one on that day (impossible, since it’s a multi-week to -month process), they still couldn’t sail because it takes awhile to go through the inspections and registration process. What they did was unspeakable cruelty, and I trust your other residential cruising company is much more honorable. -rc


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