Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Nantucket Nomads

It is hard to believe that it has already been a month since my arrival here on the island of Nantucket with my wife and our stuff via ferry. Yet as hard as that is to believe it is even harder to fathom that in the six months or so since we sold our home we have downscaled our lifestyle from living in a 1400 square foot cottage to a 400 square foot studio.

And believe it or not, we fit virtually all our 400 or so possessions inside our Volvo convertible, [which rode with us half the way on Amtrak’s Auto Train before we drove it the other half of the way here]. Besides that, all we own is our Vespa scooter, [which we shipped to Cape Cod and brought over with us on the ferry from Hyannis], and a couple smallish storage bins with stuff at my mother’s in Florida.

And how do I know we own about 400 things? Because I counted them, of course! I compiled a detailed inventory of our stuff and even broke it into categories for simple tracking. To that end, my wife and I each own about 100 articles of clothing so that is half our stuff, with the other half coming from about 100 media evenly distributed between books and music and another 100 miscellaneous items ranging from toothbrushes to computers.

So in about seven months we have transitioned from a seven-room house to moving here with about seven bags stuffed with the favorite of our possessions left after selling our house, as well as most of its furnishings through a couple of garage sales. And the truly amazing part of it all is that my wife and I embarked upon this downscaling adventure voluntarily and in total agreement about how it was to transpire. Stay tuned for more updates from these Nantucket Nomads!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

On Walden Pond

As I wrote about earlier, my wife and I have embarked on what we are calling a “radical sabbatical” to the island of Nantucket, where we are planning to read, research and write this winter and I am happy to report we are blissfully ensconced in our new digs here. On the writing front, the best way I know to describe my book when asked about it is to call it “an updated Waldenesque guidebook to simpler living.”

On our journey here and as part of my research for the book we visited Henry David Thoreau’s hometown of Concord, Massachusetts, including his cabin in the woods at Walden Pond, where he wrote Walden. On a picture perfect autumn day my wife and I had the pleasure of visiting not only Thoreau’s recreated cabin, complete with period furnishings, but also the original cabin site on the other side of Walden Pond.

It is no exaggeration to say it was a spiritual experience to walk in the footsteps of the author of my favorite book and to personally experience the environs that so inspired him. In addition to touring Walden Pond we also visited Thoreau’s gravesite at Sleepy Hollow cemetery in Concord, located on Author’s Ridge with his fellow writers, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Nathaniel Hawthorne.