Tuesday, July 23, 2013

How to become homeless when moving to Italy

My being homeless has all been caused by Luca, a small, 18 pound neurotic but happy little dog.

(Lovely photo by Barbara Hurtig)

Don't let that sweet face fool you. Although he is happy, the neurotic part makes him a little jittery. After reading about transporting dogs on airplanes, I decided that he could not make a 15 hour flight (from San Francisco to Rome) and we couldn't leave him in the US...so....we are taking him on the Queen Mary 2.  In 2012 we started making reservations for the trip, but the first date we could get passage for Luca was Sept. 22, 2013! I couldn't believe it.  There was plenty of room for humans, but they only have 12 kennels on board. The dogs or cats are kept on a special deck where they can be visited, but they are not allowed out of their area.  Fine with me.  The kennel master looks after them, feeds them, plays with them etc. We booked for September and thought we would back into that date.

 There are some of you that have asked questions about the Queen Mary trip. Here is some basic info.The "crossing" takes 6 nights and 7 days. We leave out of New York and will arrive in Southampton, England. We will then be picked up by a minivan and taken to Heathrow where we will board a plane and fly to Rome.  Luca will be picked up by a pet transporter and driven to Italy.  You can see this takes a lot more organizational skills than I have.

So how did we become homeless? We decided to put our house up for sale in June, which would have given us time to sell it, pack and move by September. A reasonable plan.  As luck would have it, our realtor had other plans.  She convinced us to list the house in April because there was no inventory. She said we would get multiple offers, which we did, and that we would sell it fast.  She was right, it sold in 14 days!

The man who bought it wanted a fast escrow, and we agreed.  Leaning heavily upon our neighbors, Mark and Gina, we emptied our house, sorted through years of accumulation, got our things moved out and then we were ready.  May 1 we were homeless.  That's right. The house was gone.  We had 2 apartments in italy that we couldn't live in because we couldn't take you know who!

 We have been homeless now for 90 days.  It has some advantages.  People ask me my address, but I DON"T HAVE ONE.  The P.O. box will be ended shortly. We have an address in Italy, but we aren't there yet.  Email and cell phones are the only way to find us.  For our younger friends no problem.  For my kookie sister Sarah, not so much.  She has called every phone number I have had for the past 10 years.  Sigh.

Although we don't own a home, we decided to try to treat this like a vacation and rent homes along the way. We currently are in a home in Sonoma, but we will pack out of here the end of July.  We then move to Ventura to a house we rented. We leave that and go....oh, never mind.  I will fill you in as we go along.  Just know that if I seem more disorganized than usual, I have a reason.


  1. Susan,

    I have followed your blog for some time now and enjoy reading of all your adventures. I was on a tour through Umbria this past May and understand why you would want to retire to this beautiful region of Italy. I wondered one thing after reading this post. Why would you not consider taking a six hour flight (with cute little Luca) to the east coast, stay for a short while and get on another eight hour flight to Rome (with you know who)? Your apartment in Umbertide looks very nice and I wish you happiness there and success on your retirement.

  2. Hi Melanie,
    Nice to hear from you. I am glad that you enjoyed your tour through Umbria. I hope you had some great food. Your idea is a sensible one. In retrospect, it would have been much simpler!