Saturday, March 30, 2013

travel light

Even as a person with comparatively not much stuff, I have a lot of stuff. Books, mostly. Kitchen things. But now that 3/4 of it is in boxes, I can't even think of what is in there. I have visions, beginning yesterday, of just lifting off with next to nothing. What would fit in my small car: matt's ashes. His hat, his journal, a few of his shirts, small evidences. Photographs of us. My violin - though I never play it, he played it Then, and I like to have it around. If I could replace everything, I would take just two pairs of shoes, a backpack of clothes, the tea press, and the kettle. I would take my journals of this After, and a few pieces of art. And then, I would leave. Lift off.

But what about but what about -

So I revise. What if I lift off with my small car and these things here above, plus a moving van. Not a truck, just a regular sized van. Take one or two pieces of small furniture that would be expensive - literally, emotionally - to replace. Leave the rest. Leave the rest. The books we've read and want to read. Most of the kitchen, with plates and bowls and cups. Leave the recliner I remember searching for, how psyched you were to find it. The bookshelves you built, even. The evidence of life we lived, I lived. Leave the kitchen table and the chairs, things I brought into our life together, things with their own history for me. Leave even things I like, because there is a freedom in it.

It wouldn't be as bad as it sounds. It could be like training wheels - I can store all that furniture at my folks'. No big deal. I will be a country away from it, but able to go back and truck it over if it feels connected to me. Anti-climactic in a way, then. Okay. So, writing it out, this seems like the logical idea. Pare down. Travel light. See how it goes.

So bizarre, all this. To be considering my new life, what comes, what goes, what waits. Weighing things out, over and over - what is the cost of this versus this, my heart and my wallet and my mind. What holds me back and what is freeing me. Tumultuous times with eyes on the prize. Weird. Weird life.



  1. You're one step ahead of me, I'm slowly going through each room, purging packing painting, wondering why I need all this stuff anymore, what's the point of it. Sounds like a good plan to store items you might need /want in the future.

    And yes, it truly is weird, this letting go for who knows what.

    1. we were planning a move when matt drowned, so really, the purging/packing has been going on for nearly 4 years now. But still, after getting rid of so much - I keep thinking "oh, I don't have that much stuff," and then I realize - well, clearly, yes I do.

      I have to purposely not think about how much harder this is as one person, rather than having two.

  2. These are just a few thoughts based on what I've experienced about traveling and moving.

    When Don died, I knew I would not be staying at our farm. I felt like everything there was finished (I was right about that). I gave away a lot of stuff immediately - put furniture out at the highway next to a free sign. I locked the house and left 4 weeks later and went away for the winter. When I returned 5 months later, I found that I did not care too much about my stuff anymore as my mind was already becoming detached from "stuff" from *before*. I was putting the house for sale a.s.a.p. and knew it would be easier to keep clean and show if I just got my stuff out of there, so I rented a 10x10 storage locker and took everything there and got rid of the rest - gave it all away, including an old canoe. It was a monumental task as we had a farm with a 24x60 foot barn and a 24x36 foot workshop, and then the house and basement. Don loved tools and machinery, so the place was full of stuff. It was a big job getting rid of everything, but I succeeded in the space of about 2 months. I would have liked more time to sort stuff as I would definitely have winnowed out the stuff in the 10x10 storage locker, but I was just too pressured to get the house cleared out. I did the best that I could under the circumstances.

    Flash forward a year. I had the contents of the locker brought to the old place I'm fixing up. Scary thing to admit, but most of the boxes of stuff from the 10x10 foot locker are sitting just as they were when I hauled them up into a couple of rooms on the second floor of the house. Other than the tools - glad I saved those for working on the house - and some dishes - I don't really care an awful lot about the rest of the stuff now.

    Travel does that to you. You go away and something changes. You experience traveling light and also making new connections and memories. When you travel, unless you are a souvenir freak, you just make memories with your eyes and are satisfied with that. Sure, it doesn't mean that you won't eventually put down roots somewhere and begin to acquire new stuff, or want some of the *before* stuff, but the context changes. For me, it's just my gardens that I would like to have back - and am slowly rebuilding in a new place. The rest of the stuff - meh, not much interest.

    Do your traveling. Do it light. Leave what you think you might want behind and get it later. You'll probably feel like weeding through it some more before you move it to wherever. The main thing is to not let "stuff" stop you from traveling and having new experiences. They are what counts most in the end.

    1. yeah - it's just getting so aggravating, trying to do virtual tetris with various shipping options and pared down lists. I need to just stop.

      Right now, I am thinking the dog and cats in my car (it's a really small car, which is part of the challenge), and a 5x8 uhaul trailer. That will fit the platform part of my bed, one dresser, and a couple boxes of kitchen things. Maybe a few other things. Just all annoying at this point, which means I have got to Stop and go do something else.