Well, sort of. As I wrote out earlier in the year, for us 2015 represents transformation. Although several types of transformation were included in that post, one that was particularly linked to the success of some others, was the sale of our house. We could transform our bodies while still living there, but for our REAL transformation to begin, that of going from cubicle 9-5 to digital nomads, required the sale of those physical things that tied us to this place. The biggest, of course, being a home.
We had planned to put the house on the market in April, but as happens, April came and went. We moved into serious mode in mid May, shooting for the end of June to hit the market. Ironically enough, around that time, a dear friend mentioned that his sister just might have asked to come out and view the house. We thought sure, why not? Truly, things don’t normally just happen quite that easily and we didn’t really think much would come of it. We continued working on updating bathrooms, painting trim, fixing up flower beds, all while fretting about what a total pain in the arse it would be to keep the house spotless for showings, what to do with the dogs during such showings, how long would it last on the market?
I guess fate and the universe had other plans since absolutely none of those concerns have come to fruition. The Alchemist, one of my very favorite books, often refers to the premise that “when you truly want something, all of the universe conspires to help you achieve it”. Now, obviously, easy enough to say in some situations. I could want all day long to look like Cindy Crawford, and yet, that is simply not going to happen. I do, however, subscribe to the believe that when your heart and soul are fully connected and moving forward towards what you want, opening yourself up to opportunities that might arise in the process, that the Universe transpires to help you create a remarkable life.
And so, it goes. And yet, fate would intervene again causing the decision to not hit the road right away. Oh, it is so tempting to simply move into our tiny house on wheels and head for points South. The reality is that it’s damn hot in Baja in August. Yes, it will be hot in Baja whenever we head down, but to save ourselves and, especially the black dogs, some panting we are waiting until cooler temperatures are in the forecast.
In addition, Jim’s dad took a spill and broke a bone in his back. All travelers understand that to follow our dreams, it means we leave things behind… the most important of which is the people; the family and friends we love. Our fall will involve helping them move into a smaller home, closer to his siblings in Portland. Or, at the very least, spend a few months helping get their home fixed up for the market and reducing, reducing, reducing the stuff, to make the future transition easier.
And so our days consist of continuing the grind of commute, work, commute, now coupled with the the lists, the never ending lists of what to keep, what to sell, what we need for our trip, to remember to check our travel vaccine card to see if we really need to re-do yellow fever shots. All of those endless things we’ve put off for 6 weeks during the sale process.
This time is different. When we sold our previous house, in 2007, Jim happened to be laid off from work the very day the house sold. While stressful, this facilitated SO much towards our departure. That time around we kept a large storage unit full of our life, we kept two cars, a boat, a horse, a goat, all requiring money to be looked after properly. We needed to pack in three sections; that to go to our temporary apartment, that which went into deep storage, and that which we carried on our back around the world. Jim found a safe place to board our pets, rented us a storage unit and an apartment, and mostly packed us up.
2015 finds us in a different place. Determined to truly divest ourselves of the things that require thought once gone, nearly everything goes. With both of us working, it has become a team effort to have everything done with the house, while selling and divesting ourselves of most of our physical possessions. It’s incredibly freeing, and at the same time, absolutely exhausting. Because we will still be here for a few months, we still need to determine what we’ll need for our rental. But this time, no storage unit exists. With no more livestock and the black dogs coming along for the ride, there is no need for a boarding stable. Our only vehicle will be our Tundra topped with our tiny house on wheels. Our only other worldly possessions a few plastic storage bins stored with family.
It would appear that it should be SO much easier to simply rid yourself of possessions, rather than pack it all away. And in some ways it is. We’ve already found great success on Craigslist, and other than the wearing process of dealing with idiots in the process (really? you want to dicker on the price of a $25 refrigerator AND you want me to deliver it. Really?), we’ve been seeing items leaving each week. Most of our furniture sold with the house, further freeing up both our rental and our moving van.
And yet, even though we’ve done this before. Even though we know what we need to get rid of, it’s interesting how often we question the process. Personally, I have no problem selling or giving away pretty much everything we own, but I am completely overwhelmed by the sheer AMOUNT of stuff. Why, I wonder, did two people ever need plates for 30. Yes, we do like to throw dinner parties.. but for 8, not 30! We have two entire cabinets full of glasses; plastic glasses, beer mugs, wine glasses, oh wait more wine glasses, water bottles, more plastic glasses, juice glasses and that doesn’t even take into account my beloved shelves of Mexican glassware. Funny, isn’t it, that I’ll soon be in the land of $1 cobalt rimmed glassware, and yet I am having the hardest time considering selling those I already own.
Divesting yourself of the majority of your earthly possessions brings fully into display just how little we truly need. We went to a talk last year by Joshua and Ryan, AKA The Minimalists. Their favorite game to simplify your life is to pack up your house, your ENTIRE house, as though you were moving. And only unpack what you are truly going to use. The first night, perhaps, you need your toothbrush and toothpaste, some moisturizer, pillows, sheets. The next morning you might need a water glass and plate. And so it goes, for 1 month only truly unpacking what you use. Participants in this extreme game soon find that they never use or need over 80% of what they own. 80%. What does that say about a society of such overabundance that many don’t even realize exactly what they own? Or use what they have.
Our own version of the minimalist game will commence in two parts. Part one is already well underway. Part two will come soon enough, when we pack up our few plastic bins to store with family, and have one, final sale to divest ourselves of the balance of our material possessions.
We leave this trip much different than last time. Having done it, we are fully cognizant of what we will miss, and know what we will gain in the process. We will be driving ourselves. We will be traveling with dogs. We will be working from the road. We will be heading South.