Google’s English dictionary defines logistics as “the detailed coordination of a complex operation involving many people, facilities, or supplies.” Yup, that pretty much describes our 6 weeks in Ontario.
Since arriving back from our world cruise on May 13th, we’ve settled into a lovely cozy condo in Collingwood, where we’ll be until the end of June. During that short period, there’s tons that needs to be done before we leave for Europe: address changes, car storage, repacking (for several trips), flight and hotel bookings, and making time to reconnect with people we haven’t seen for 4-1/2 months and won’t see again for another 10. Not to mention hugging our grandsons as often as we can! Needless to say, I have calendars and lists and spreadsheets, just like a real logistics company would.
We’re currently on a 2-year “out of province” plan from our provincial health care program, and using son #2’s Ontario home as our mailing address and the place where our suitcases and car “live” while we travel, but son #2 has been transferred to British Columbia effective July. Enter son #1. In the next 6 weeks, we need to effectively change our address to theirs, and relocate any suitcases and documents that need to stay in Ontario.
Unfortunately, because son #1 lives in an urban area, they have no place to keep our car. Ted’s research found us an indoor car storage facility that can securely look after our cute little red Mercedes GLA250 for the next 10 months. Looking at their website, I suspect our car will be the poor relation of everything else there; they seem to specialize in storing high end and vintage vehicles. I hope our car doesn’t develop any snooty airs while it’s there – we’re planning to drive it across Canada when we get back in spring of 2023, and expect it to behave.
It is quite amazing how many places we need to notify about mailing address changes: OHIP, Canada Revenue, the Ministry of Transportation (drivers’ licenses and car ownership), insurance companies, pension plans, banks, doctors, dentists, and charities who still mail us paper receipts. Fortunately all of those, with the exception of our car ownership, can be done online. We realized after going through the very small stack of mail that accumulated while we were cruising just how few places rely on sending anything to a physical mailbox.
We have 4 separate trips planned in the next 10 months: slow independent travel from home bases in Berlin, Vienna, Trieste and Greenwich during July, August and September; October in BC visiting son #2 and our grandkids; a 21 day river cruise in November; and winter in Merida, Mexico. The turnaround times between each of those trips is less than a week, so my master plan is to pack for all 4 trips now, and simply “swap” suitcases at whichever son’s home we’re visiting during our transits through Canada.
ASIDE: We changed our November plans in the first couple of days after returning from our world cruise. We were booked to be in Cambodia/Thailand/Singapore/Malaysia/Bali in November, but realized after closer consideration that 18+ hour long flights in economy class seats were not what we wanted. Upgrading to business class for the 2 of us would have added just under $20,000 to our trip (or the price of a pretty nice cruise), so with the help of our ever-patient travel agent, Carol, and the Viking cruise desk, we altered course. We’ll get to the Pacific some other time. After the world cruise we just completed, we’re experts at changing itineraries.
But back to logistics.
We own 2 large (25”) suitcases, 2 carry-ons, a small duffel, a technology bag, and 2 old hard sided suitcases in which we currently store our off-season clothes (mostly winter wear – yuck).
One large suitcase will get pre-packed for the Rhine/Danube river cruise. That suitcase “moves” to BC with son #2.
The other large suitcase gets packed with all our summer clothes, for our 5 months in Mexico. That suitcase goes to son #1.
The winter “storage” suitcase moves to BC with #2.
The other off-season storage suitcase in which I’ll pack cool-but-not-cold weather items moves to #1.
For 3 months in Europe, travelling largely on trains and subways, we’ll take only the 2 carry-ons, the duffel and the tech bag. I’ll blog about exactly what we packed before we leave. (Remember, these blogs are my journal. I go back to them not only to relive memories but to remind me of processes. Believe me, I’m going to be referring back to this one often in the next few months!)
When we return at the beginning of October it will be to Ontario, since we’ll likely be attending a memorial service for Ted’s brother who we lost in 2020 and whose life we were unable to celebrate due to Covid restrictions. That’s when we’ll need fall items out of the suitcase stored with son #1.
Then it’s onto a flight to BC to spend 3 weeks with son #2’s family. Our European summer clothes plus whatever we grabbed for our Ontario week should get us through that.
On November 2nd we retrieve the pre-packed river cruise bag, supplemented by our re-packed carry-ons, and head to Europe, flying from BC. On November 23rd, our flight back returns us to Ontario, where we’ll use our European clothes for a week. On the 29th, we swap the European suitcase for the pre-packed Mexican one, and fly south.
When we return to Ontario at the end of April 2023, we’ll retrieve the European suitcase, and our car. We’ll need a week or so to renew our Ontario health documentation, and then we’ll head west with 2 large suitcases and 2 carry-ons jammed into our little vehicle.
Honest, it works. I know because I cut out little paper rectangles representing each suitcase and “moved” them around on the kitchen counter between #1, #2, and “us”.
Now, off to make sure we have all our flights and transit hotel bookings done.