The Expat To-Do List

Okay, it’s been about a week-and-a-half since I finally managed to tell my boss that I’m quitting and moving to Ecuador.  Since then, I’ve been focused on shoring things up there, including working on a large brand development project for a casino, shooting a TV commercial and participating in a follow-up pitch for a new grocery chain account.  Like most creative people I know, I’ve always preferred being busy, so this was all fine for the most part.  It just meant even more of my blog posts had to be written at four in the morning, when I inevitably wake up with nagging idea in my head.

Still, what hasn’t happened since the day I announced my resignation is anything that really advances our ultimate departure.  I can already see that inertia is the enemy in all this.  Sure, we talk to family and friends about our move; we research little beach towns, rental properties and language schools; we put something up on Craigslist here and there.  But the real, physical tasks and arrangements required to make all this happen, have been quietly simmering on the back burner.  So, today being Sunday, we’ve decided to jumpstart the process by creating our detailed Expat To-Do List.  Diana and I will be doing this separately, then merging the two lists together, decreasing the chances of our forgetting something important.

Here is my first crack at naming all the vegetables we have to eat before being excused from the table here in the States:

Eye exams

Dental exams

Physicals/blood work

Have any other nagging medical stuff looked at/poked/prodded

Formalize my target end-date at work and the structure of our freelance agreement

Choose the dates of our “scouting trip” to Ecuador (about two weeks in August)

Book flights

Book accommodations, most likely in Bahia or Crucita

Give away personal items and family stuff to the appropriate kid, nephew, brother, sister, grandma, etc.

Take the scouting trip

Share the results (photos/housing/healthcare info) with my Dad in the hope that he’ll agree to come with us

Figure out what to do with my Dad when he says no

Have a large yard sale (unless someone has a better idea for us?!)

Put what doesn’t sell on Craigslist

Give the rest to Goodwill or place in storage

Create a small shopping list of provisions we’ll need to take with us, preferably limited to two backpacks

Contact the nearest Ecuadoran embassy office about Visa/residency requirements

Apply for my Dad’s passport, just in case

Do my 2012 taxes (yes, I got an extension) and figure out how to pay them

Rollover what’s left of my 401(k) into an IRA (Roth or Traditional?)

Give our landlord 30 days notice

Diligently clean and vacate our rental as if we might actually receive our deposit back

Through gritted teeth, move our checking and any savings to one of those “Too Big to Fail” banks with branches in Ecuador

Choose a target date for final departure

Book final flights

Secure beachfront/view rental property

Select a mail capturing service

Have one last party/barbecue for family and friends (or not?!)

Merge this list with the one Diana is creating

Pull out a calendar and put a target date to every item on the final merged list

Power down our electronic devices in preparation for takeoff

Wait for the drink cart

If any of the twenty things I’ve obviously overlooked occur to you, please shoot me a comment.  Once we’ve put dates to the final master list, I’ll post them here.

In the meantime, I’ve got shit to do!

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6 thoughts on “The Expat To-Do List

  1. Good one, thanks Kew. I’ll add it to the list. I just recently heard about the places that will open your mail, scan it and email it to you. Have you ever used that?

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