My Experiment With Virtual Mail

If you’ve been following us recently you know Vanessa and I are about to embark on our long term urban nomad adventure to various parts of the world. When we tell our friends and family about our plans, a common question we hear back is how we plan on staying connected to our lives and businesses domestically. Most of our lives are online, so that isn’t really a problem. There are times however when people just can’t send you an email, and there are still those pesky bills that won’t let you go paperless.

Image by dcjohn

For all those items you still need a physical street address where people can reach you. Fortunately technology is on the case. Most people are familiar with the concept of a P.O. Box or even having a regular street address at a UPS Store.

There are a few companies now that take it one step further- they give you a regular street address where people can send you letters, but then scan all the envelopes that come in to that address so you can see them online. If I see an envelope I think I need to see the inside of, I can have the entire contents of the envelope scanned for me to read online.

That process should take care of about 90% of my mail needs as I can call a company or solve whatever they need me to do online. For that last 10% of mail though, I can have the actual physical piece of mail forwarded to me at my current location anywhere in the world.

Sounds complicated? I’ll tell you what’s more complicated – filling out endless change of address forms at the post office and having mail delivered to old or wrong addresses. That’s how you end up missing bills and being penalized for it. Instead I want to change my address once and have a central place where it can go from here to perpetuity!

Now this all sounds good in theory, but the title of the post is called my experiment. Over the next several weeks I’ll let you know how my experience with the service I chose goes, the ups and downs of this system, and if it’s tenable over the long run. When I first found out about this virtual mail option I was pretty excited. I pretty much hate handling documents and forms in the physical world – it’s just so damn inefficient. I hope this lives up to my expectations!

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