We’re down to the final week in our house. We’ve entered that painful stage of moving where living in our house is no longer enjoyable. You know, the one where you eat on a folding table because the dining table was sold mid-dinner. Where you nurse the baby on the floor because all the chairs have been sold. Internet ads are becoming more urgent and scream EVERYTHING MUST GO! The appliances, the furniture, the bits and bobs can’t come with us on our next adventure.
After ample deliberation, we decided to max out our sweet suitcase allowance and send just a small 40 x 48 inch (102 x 122 cm) pallet of must-haves ahead by boat. Our earthly belongings are simply not worth filling a spendy container with.
Following the initial blow that came with the transatlantic shipping quotes and deciding which items met our essential list, something wonderful happened.
We began to feel so free. Free from the stuff that we own. Free from the stuff that owns us. Free from the stuff that other people think we should own. I’m not even kidding – several people have opinions on what we should keep. In response to one listing for a bright mosaic kiddo stepping stool, a complete stranger named Molly told me off for not keeping it. When I explained we were moving across an ocean, she offered to keep it until we perhaps returned to the United States one day. She claimed I would regret selling the memories of my kids on that stool. While the offer was kind and well-intentioned, it felt not just a little presumptuous.
Nope, nope, nope. I won’t regret getting rid of it, Molly. I’m going to snap a picture to look back on the sweetness of this life stage. I’ll smile fondly and then, I shall release. I will move on, thankful with all of my heart for one less thing to take. By releasing, I’ll bring this young family one step closer to a fresh start and one step further away from the chaos.
Methodically ridding ourselves of things that neither have a purpose nor bring us joy has been beautifully cathartic. As every item we own is placed on the chopping block, I am inspired by the extreme examples of world-schooling families, traversing the globe with a suitcase for a year of travels. I love their testimonies of how much creativity and local life they end up plugging into because they intentionally chose to travel light.
There is a cost to carry, and it isn’t just financial. Initially, extra baggage may feel stabilizing in a new place, but if we are just lugging things around in case we might need them, or much worse, because we feel guilted into taking them with us, they will act like yokes around our necks. They tie us to what once was and distract us from the goodness found in the present. They’ll gnaw away at the rest, the inward peace and slower pace we’ve so desperately longed for.