Answering the questions “Where do you live?”, “Where are you from?”, and “What’s your address?” used to be rather simple, but it’s actually quite complicated now given our nomadic lifestyle. When faced with one of these queries, we always pause, and usually refer to an app that stores our five current addresses.
Five? Yes, unless you count the location of our home right now, which we don’t tend to give out except to pizza delivery places, then it would be six.
Sometimes I ask a question in response: “What are you going to use the address for?” Checking into a hotel in Orlando this week the response was that they just wanted to make sure the address on file was right. That didn’t tell me anything about their intended use, but since the room was already paid for and I don’t need any communication from hotel chains, I just left whatever they had stand.
This last week we officially moved to Bushnell Florida. That is the address on our driver’s licenses, where we are registered to vote, and where we will be filing our taxes. Since our residence (where we physically are) will be outside the United States, and we own no real estate tying us to a particular state, we set up a home base in Florida. This home base concept is called setting up domicile, and it is a legal construct used to determine things like where you vote, file lawsuits, pay taxes, claim benefits, and pay heed to governmental authority.
We use the services of Escapees RV to process any mail that we receive there. They helped us understand what we needed to do to set up our domicile, since they are quite familiar with the needs of other nomadic families, those who travel by recreational vehicles.
We expect to live in Florida when we are finished cruising, which may be 2-10 years from now. But in the meantime, we will maintain Florida as our home base, sign up for Boy Scouts in the state, and I’m already a member of the PMI Tampa Bay Chapter. I was disappointed to see that I had just missed their monthly meeting when we arrived last week.
Our mailing address is now in Livingston Texas, another part of the service of Escapees RV. We use this for everything that doesn’t require our domicile address. When we need to register a mailing address for receiving any physical mail such as replacement credit cards, or mail that banks insist on sending even though we asked for digital-only communications, we use this address. That’s because the mail service will scan the envelopes, and the contents if requested, share that for us in their online interface, and forward those items that we request as well. So far we’ve never had a reason to forward anything.
It’s interesting to note that out of all the addresses that we have, this is the second most important and permanent one, yet we don’t necessarily have any plans to visit this location.
Package & Letter Pickup
When we were originally looking into getting an address to use in the San Diego area, we signed up with the Traveling Mailbox organization, and their services seemed like a good idea, as they include scanning mail contents when we request it. However, after using this address for James’ work, we learned that they can’t actually accept packages and we wouldn’t be able to pick up mail at their San Diego address. This was my research oversight, and means that we ended up selecting the UPS Store as a secondary San Diego address, that turned into the primary one.
We’ve been receiving our Amazon deliveries for the past couple of months at a UPS Store. All forwarding of anything we want to handle physically is going to this address while we are close enough to collect it, so it’s the one we are using much of the time, especially if ordering anything to be delivered.
We keep the original Traveling Mailbox address since it’s just easier not to change the address for James’ work as it will change to Florida his last week on the job in November.
Former Address, Hanging On
Our address at Emeryville Marina was our only address for almost a year, and we’ve been trying to convert all communications away from it since we left in June. However, we weren’t able to do that entirely until the end of the months-long process to remove the leasing company from our car title. We received the title this week so this address should be going away entirely now.
Home Is Where Our Boat Is
We’ll be docked in Ensenada for the next couple of months, but don’t have much reason to provide an address for that location to anyone. If we’re connecting with fellow cruisers, we mention the marina name or meet elsewhere. There isn’t a point in having packages sent from the US here since the extra tax is significant, and we plan to leave soon so don’t want another address to change going forward.
Over the past year we completed many major projects, most of which we deemed essential before setting off on this cruising adventure. The last couple planned are the engine overhauls, and repair of the solar arch (perhaps a story for another time), which we plan to complete in Ensenada. Of course there will be new projects as we go along, but those complete the list to address while in a location that provides easy access to excellent skilled workers.
As we travel south from Ensenada, we will stay at places with no address, forgo Amazon deliveries, and have much less of a connection to the country of our birth and citizenship. We’ve only dipped our toes so far into this Mexican landscape and culture, cuisine and history. We’re enjoying calling this place our home at this time, and we look forward to many months (or years?!) more in Mexico.