Our first letter

Here’s one for the history books: on Friday, April 19, 2013, we got a letter in our mailbox! Why is that a big deal? That hasn’t happened in over 20 months.

One of the myriad logistical challenges of going on a world tour is what to do with your mail. Our house was for sale when we began the trip, so mail couldn’t keep going there. There are businesses that will rent you an address for a monthly fee, but we wanted to be able to keep an eye on our haul. That’s why we were extraordinarily grateful when our friend Kurt (and by extension, his wife Monica) offered to be our permanent address.

All of our credit card and bank statements were already paperless (for easy management from afar), and we reduced our mail volume as much as possible by asking businesses to remove us from their mailing lists.

Still, month after month, our mail would show up at Kurt and Monica’s house. Occasionally, Kurt would email us about a letter that looked important, but mostly he would just toss the deliveries into a cardboard box.

When we returned to the US, the box looked like this:

Nine months of mail

Not bad for nine months worth of mail. But our postal identity crisis wasn’t over yet, because over the summer we stayed with friends. Then we drove around the Southwest, then lived in a temporary condo, then a temporary apartment. All the while, Kurt continued to receive our mail. We’d stop by his house once a week or so to pick up the latest bundle.

Pile o' mail

Until now. We’ve finally settled down, rented our own apartment, and begun the laborious process of changing our address, no doubt to our friends’ relief.

And what was the historic first piece of mail delivered to our new apartment? A dumb old bill from Time Warner Cable, a company with which I have a troubled relationship. Their customer service often lets me down. Case in point: we are signed up for paperless billing.

So our first letter should never have been sent. A fitting end to our tale of meandering mail.

Open letter