My husband and I gave away most of our belongings. I know this sounds very dramatic but to be fair we hadn’t really acquired a lot. We always favoured the next trip over the new couch and expensive dining set. We blamed the lack of proper grown-up furniture, the kind you invest in, on our recently departed rescue cat, who loved to scratch. But none the less, when we decided to travel the world full-time. We hauled most of our things out into the street and let every Tom, Dick, and Harry have at it. And boy, was it satisfying.
We lived in the Bermuda triangle for recycled goods, equidistance from a pub, café and tram station south of Melbourne city. We wheeled out our belongings, and they barely touched the ground before they were whisked off to a new home, all the while I watched captivated from the window as each eager soul arrived to rummage through our boxes in search of a treasure they could claim as their own. Holding them up à la Marie Condo to see if they sparked joy, and off they went. I was having so much fun, my husband had to remind me we were keeping some items!
It was like a cleanse, a little purge and each item taken making it all the easier for us to go off and have new travel adventures and unburdening us with all the things you don’t need but often accumulate in day to day life, old kitchen wares, a set of golf clubs, old gaming consoles, an ironing board that definitely needed to be replaced yet someone still snapped it up. Did you know there are many ways to upcycle an old ironing board? (Me neither).
We put those things we couldn’t yet bear to part with (our incredibly comfortable bed we only bought recently) and needed to keep (original copies of all of our important documents) into storage and we were off, we officially started our travels across the top of Australia in sunny Queensland, then we were off to New Zealand, followed by a nine-week stint in Canada during winter, then the Caribbean and New York, the city and the state, before we’ll be back to our ‘home base’ storage container. And with our mobile offices (laptops, headphones and lots of cables) and critical items (ahem, sporting equipment – we are both kiteboarders) taking up most of our luggage allowance, we had to get very creative, or perhaps it would be fair to say, very practical, with our clothes and packing.
We had only two pairs of shoes each, ok I had three and I did sneak my Ugg boots along for the first part of the journey as well, but donated them to goodwill when we left Canada, along with lots of other older winter clothes. As we were learning to snowboard, we bought snow gear from second-hand shops when we arrived and then donated them back, this saved money on purchasing outright and renting each time we went, it saved space in our luggage plus lots of time in queues on the days we just wanted to get out in the fresh powder.
We house sit full time and between travel adventures, this gives us a home with a kitchen, washer, and dryer and we get to hang out with and love someone else’s pets, a great base to work from and we often have use of their car and enjoy their mod-cons. We are reminded of a lot of things we thought we needed but have learned to live without such as our espresso machine.
Now we are very selective about what we buy, I was never much of a materialistic person prior to living and working remotely full time and neither was my husband but when you physically have to carry everything you own with you, you really stop and consider and the more we travel the more we see the world of throwaway items, and we don’t want to contribute to that – so we continue to spend our money on experiences just like we always have. We took snowkiting lessons on a frozen lake in Whistler, visited the Yukon to chase the Northern lights, learned to sail in Antigua and this week we are discovering the foodie scene and enjoying shows in New York.
Now I buy only postcards and the odd souvenir to send to my young nephews back home, hoping to inspire them to travel when they are older if that’s what they enjoy. I have to really love an item or be replacing something to make a purchase nowadays, and I feel lighter for having less. There are fewer decisions to be made when you don’t have so many choices and it’s freeing. I’m not sure I’ll ever be persuaded to buy fancy furniture if there is the option of an adventure instead!