By far the most frequent question we received during our Christmas trip back East was “How do you get mail?” Fortunately that has been one of the easier parts of being a nomad. In spite of the fact that some people assume that is impossible for us to receive mail, it is quite easy.
Before we started full timing, we read some of our most trusted full-timing blogs to find out what others do about receiving their mail. One company that was frequently cited very positively was St. Brendan’s Isle mail service (www.sbimailservice.com). The folks there are extremely friendly and it could not be easier to sign up and get started.
A service like St. Brendan’s Isle receives your mail, stores it, and forwards it to you whenever and wherever you want. The great part is that it is all automated via their web-based system.
- Your mail is sent to 411 Walnut Street #xxxxx, Green Cove Springs, FL. This is not a P.O. Box so you can receive UPS packages, etc.
- Brendan’s Isle scans the front of the envelope and places it in your virtual mail box. Obviously your mail is also placed in a physical box.
- You receive an email that says “You have mail!” with a link to view mail that you have received.
- Using a password protected login, you can see what is in your inbox.
- Then you can indicate to the system several options: to have the mail sent to you, shredded, held, or scanned. The scanned option can be very helpful. For a small fee you can have mail that you need to see ASAP, scanned, and stored as an image file (pdf) for you to view online. It could not be any easier to use.
St. Brendan’s Isle also stores the prior addresses that you have used previously, so if you frequently send mail to a particular campground, you just select that previously used address and send your current stack of mail there. You can even setup a regular schedule for sending your mail.
When you tell St. Brendan’s Isle to send your mail you have a lot of options as to how it is sent: UPS overnight, UPS 2&3 day, USPS First Class, USPS Priority, USPS Express, etc. If the option that you select has tracking numbers, St. Brendan’s Isle will send you an email when the mail is shipped with that tracking number. All mail, regardless how it is sent, is accompanied by an email letting you know that your mail has been shipped.
For months we had no issue whatsoever with just sending the mail first class, and in many cases “general delivery,” to a local post office. Unfortunately upon traveling to New Mexico and Arizona, the postal service has struggled with delivery. We now use delivery methods that use tracking numbers (ex. Priority mail) so we have better knowledge as to what has happened to our mail.
Of course, one of the first things you will want to do is to go “paperless” as much as possible with bank, insurance, and other companies. We should have started earlier switching to email delivery with the various companies that everyone deals with. It takes some time for the changes to take place, plus the companies want to send paper copies of all the changes. You will find that most companies have a “paperless” option.
St. Brendan’s Isle even helps you with changing your domicile to FL with advice, forms, and recommendations. Also town of Green Cove Springs DMV, Courthouse, and Voter Registration make if very, very easy to navigate the paperwork. As one townsperson told us, “We love Walnut Streeters!”