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Prepping the house for rental, world travel, and the death of my Subie

Prepping the house for rental, world travel, and the death of my Subie

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I wouldn’t have installed the flooring if I hadn’t heard how easy it is to install them.

Like a idiot person who likes challenges, I decided to install them myself. Laminate wood floors, boxed at Home Depot — what could go wrong?

I got the cheapest ones I could find: TrafficMaster Oak at .68 cents a square foot. I made sure I got the ones made in Germany, not the el cheapo ones made in China, as reviewer on Amazon recommended.

After some frustration doing the first 2 rows, I watched some YouTube videos until a lightbulb lit over my head and I figured it out. After 3 days, the living room is nearly done. My dad said he was quoted $5,000 for a third of the size. I did it for a little over $400.

And, after reading more reviews, it looks like the Pecan TrafficMaster laminate is like 10x easier to install (and only .11 cents more per square foot), because of the way the overlapping joints are constructed. C’est la guerre.

In order to clean and prep my house, I have been living out of my Casita, which I think has been good for living out of a backpack. I get to travel test my clothing, and systems like my wifi extender, my Bose noise-cancelling headphones, Aero Latte mixer — basically everything I am planning on using for travel.

I changed out my shoes for a waterproof La Sportiva model: La Sportiva Men’s Wildcat 2.0 GTX Trail Running Shoe.

La Sportiva Men’s Wildcat 2.0 GTX Trail Running Shoe

It’s a waterproof (goretex) offroad trail running shoe. I decided I wanted something with a tad more support for hiking, with a sticky sole, but would also be appropriate for city sidewalks. An all-rounder. Since I was headed into the rainy season in Chile, I decided I needed something waterproof too, if I could find it. This version has Blue Frixion rubber, which has a good balance of stickiness vs durability, exactly what I was looking for! It fit the bill for a shoe I could use for approaches for climbing, but durable enough not to be immediately worn away on the sidewalks I would mostly use it for.

Death of Subie

Hook me up, yo!

Seeing nothing, I got back in and tried to start it — the engine was turning, but wouldn’t start.
After towing it to a mechanic, whose name was “Islam” (there’s a metaphor in there somewhere), I got my verdict: A pulley snapped, and a valve got damaged. I was looking at a $3,500 repair bill. I felt a sort of relief, actually — no more car, no more insurance. I was reminded of what someone said back in El Potrero Chico:

‘Don’t worry brah, ’cause where we’re going we’re not going to land on land!’

Don’t worry brah, ’cause where I’m going, I won’t need a car! I will travel as the nomads do — by hook or by crook. By camel, and by train, by plane, by boat, and my two strong legs will I make way.

A quick call to the Denver Rescue Mission and thirty minutes later I meet the tow driver at the repair place. I signed the donation papers, paid Islam for his work, and the deed was done.

Subie, my loyal steed for the past 8 years, alas, was no more.

Everyday, I work hard from morning to night. Flung in my wake are once precious things — material things given, or thrown away. I press the details, getting vaccines for the exotic things that may try to kill me, get my meds for a year abroad, take a course in teaching English, all the while playing tapes in Espanol to learn a new tongue. I am tired, yet I cannot yet sleep.

My mom reminds me that my great-great-great grandfather was from Chile. By the name of Liberato — “freed” in Italian. I may try to look up the distant relatives while I’m there, declaring:

‘Here before you is your native son, returned to claim my Chilean ancestral roots. The vine has travelled to far away Guam, a small yet mighty island in the Pacific. I am what has flowered in coral soil.’


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Originally published at on March 30, 2017.



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