Do you ever feel like all your possessions are weighing you down?
Before setting off on our memorable 2 year trip around the world, we pretty much sold all of our possessions. We did this on purpose, so when we returned to Australia we could start with a “clean slate”. We were so eager to move into our little garden flat, but had to wait a few months until it was completely renovated. Now finally finished, our new studio apartment is exactly what we want. It is small, comfortable and all we need.
As we were de-cluttering our belongings pre-trip we had the rule of thumb that if we had not used an item for 6 months, then we would get rid of by selling it or donating it to charity. One persons trash is another’s treasure! In the weeks leading up to our departure we were so proud of ourselves at how much we had gotten rid of. However, upon our return home and moving into our new little flat, we were both gob-smacked by how much we had still hung onto.
When travelling (especially for as long as we did) you really get sense of what your necessities are in life. Travelling with a backpack makes it easy to decide if you really need something or not. All you need to think is Can it fit in my backpack? If the answer is No then you don’t need it. Simple. End of story.
We were so much more aware of the crap we build up around ourselves when living at home. As we were going through all the things we had kept, it disgusted me to think of all the thousands of dollars worth of things we had contained for 2 years. We had lived without so much of it while overseas, so did we really need to keep it?
Before moving into our new place, Elise and I spent the entire weekend going through it all. We went through every single box, piling items up that were of no real use anymore. Come to think of it, did it have a use at any time?
I sometimes feel ashamed about how much we buy into the commercialism of purchasing material possessions we don’t actually need. I know it is hard not to succumb to the pull of society, the notion of keeping up with those bloody “Jones’ “. Well, screw the Jones’! I don’t want to live my life trying to impress everyone else. There have been times in my life where I did have to have the latest TV and the best car and go on the best trips overseas. I am done with that. Travel has been the best lesson in life, you very quickly realise that the only things that matter are friends and family. Why do we tell ourselves we need the latest gadgets as soon as they are released or the biggest house on the block or that new sports car?
During our time travelling we met this American man on our trip to the Galapagos Islands. Said American man, let’s call him Joe, was sporting the latest iPhone and the much-anticipated newer model was being released in the States while he was on his trip.
He had pre-ordered the phone weeks in advance to be one of the first people to set his hands on this new phone. During the course of the trip he spoke of nothing else other than his new phone and all the wiz bang things that his old iPhone couldn’t do. He was even on the phone to his house sitter each day calling to see if it had arrived yet. He was so removed from his surroundings and had succumbed to the tight grip of thinking that he needed all his “stuff”.
During one of our many conversations I questioned him about his family and friends, to which he replied that he didn’t see them very often because he worked too much and couldn’t afford to go see them on the other side of the States. Yet, in the same breath he also told me (in detail) how he had re-designed his entire backyard with state of the art artificial turf (“It even has brown flecks through it so it looks real and has a proper drainage system!”), a new custom-made swimming pool and the house was getting another storey on it the following year. To me I thought it was time he got his priorities straight.
As we rummaged through all our previous belongings in the storage garage I wondered what I was thinking before my trip when I actually believed we had let go of all our material possessions. I was actually lying to myself as I could clearly see we still had kept many lingering items, some of which I have kept for the past 10 years. 10 years! Why was I hanging onto it?
Our new garden flat, was the perfect opportunity to really start afresh and only hold onto belongings we use on a weekly basis. These possessions had weighed us down long enough and I didn’t want to be moving into our new apartment with the past following me into the future. We packed up everything we needed into one trailer and took the rest of it to a local charity.
I am now so relieved that our new life is free from the things that have been around for many years. I believe you become whatever you are surrounded by and I will work strong and hard, not to be pulled into the vicious cycle of owning things I don’t need.