Things weigh us down

Hello again world!

I often have so many thoughts that I think “I should definitely, 1000% blog this!” and then I never do. However tonight I had one that was quite relevant to the idea that I pretend to run a travel blog. So here goes:

I’ve spent a good part of this year trying to sort through and clean out my parents’ basement, and subsequently failing. There is so much stuff in the house that it would blend right into the show Hoarders without anyone blinking an eye. I tend to blame my mom because she has an emotional attachment to everything (I found an unused trashcan filled with used birthday balloons from years past, I can’t explain, but “we need it” apparently). However it’s unfair because a large portion of the stuff we have is mine from over the years. It doesn’t help that I’ve moved from this home base now seven different times and each time I somehow acquire new things to bring home. I bring home souvenirs from traveling. I save books and notes from school. I bring home apartment furniture sets. I lose things and buy replacements. There’s a lot of stuff and I am well aware it’s beyond the typical American excess.

I’m set to jet off again for a significant portion of the year and as I am trying my hardest to limit what I take with me, I have also found myself giving things away. So if you want anything, I’m the girl to ask! I know they say giving things away is a warning sign, but honestly I feel my stuff has become a burden weighing me down, financially, spatially, and mentally.

The nomadic lifestyle doesn’t mix well with the consumer lifestyle of buying in excess. As I am settled in places anywhere for 2 or 6 or 8 months, taking a lot with is not ideal nor is it possible. No matter how hard I try or how much I work to give away there will still be stuff sitting around my parents’ house waiting for my return. And who does that benefit? No one. If I want to travel I can’t really have a lot of things because logistically it just can’t work.

Now I am very lucky to have a home base because I am looking at living out of one backpack for the upcoming 2+ months and I don’t think I’m ready to let it all go yet. But I’ve found when I am places where I have less stuff it frees up energy. I can create more and focus more. I’ve found that being in a clean room versus being in a cluttered / busy room is vastly different on productivity, though much of my time I’ve not had an option. After 2 months I’m heading somewhere for 6 months and plan to take what I can fit in my car. Everything else is up for grabs.

Parting with the feeling of needing things is also freeing mentally. I always thought I needed a souvenir from every place I went, but I got to going too many places and there wasn’t enough space in bags so I moved to postcards. Now my thought is, who really looks at these postcards? The memories are still real even if there’s no physical item to remind us. I think I am taking a complete break this year from buying physical things at all, with a few exceptions (like if electronics break). I don’t need more clothes (by all means, I need far less clothing), nor do I need more tchotchkes to watch gather dust or to forget I own until I am cleaning.

A lighter backpack is less to worry about overall. If there are less clothing options I can’t think as long about what to wear. If there is less weight on my back I can explore more of the world for longer before tiring. This might all be a grand metaphor for life, I’m not sure, but I’m still figuring all that out.

____

How do you view things? Have you ever let it all go? What do you think of American style purchasing habits? Any advice for getting rid of stuff efficiently?

 

<3All the best,
Amy

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