It is hard to explain just how difficult it is turning out to be, to administratively disconnect ourselves from our old life. As I gradually work my way through the process, each time I try to fill out an online form or try to sort something out on the phone it is increasingly complicated. We no longer fit the tick box world of the big companies.
To start with it is impossible to do anything without an address, anything! My sister has kindly become my own private PO Box number and Postmaster forwarding mail and scanning documents almost daily. Stella Maris will gladly except boxes full of online orders and pass on mail and friends are acting as couriers, but still I have at least one parcel lost in the ether of online delivery and a cheque lost in a closed account.
The banking and utility firms can’t cope with us closing accounts, paying off loans or cancelling insurance policies, “but what have we done wrong” they wail, “how can we temp you back”, “how can you possibly survive without us?” But ask them to do something slightly unusual and it’s always a case of “computer says no”, “what do you mean you don’t have three contact telephone numbers”, “no we can’t send mail anywhere but you’re official address, even if you aren’t there and we have spent the past hour asking you security questions” and “no my brain isn’t big enough to stray from the script on the screen in front of me”.
To compound matters our phone signal and Internet speed in the marina aren’t brilliant so things are often frustratingly slow and that, I guess, is something we will have to get use to. Despite the time and money we have spent setting up the boats satellite and network systems, the days of the efficient home hub are behind us.
It is the small independent businesses that have become our heroes, happy to bend their procedure to help someone who doesn’t fit the norm, a real person that answers the phone without pressing 65 buttons first and rarely a dictating computer in sight.
One exciting parcel that has made it to the boat, with the help of the friends courier service, is the ARC (Atlantic Crossing for Cruisers) 2015 manual. Enclosed is the ARC flag, another flag to add to our ever increasing collection of courtesy flags, signal flags and pennants. Who’d have thought a couple of months ago we would need a whole cupboard just for flags!