Destination TBD

| Paring Down |

What should I do with all of my stuff while I'm gone? The answer to this question seemed simple at first. I thought I'd put everything in storage. But after conversations with others who suggested I sell everything, things got more complicated. At first, it was easy to glom onto this idea. It seemed adventurous in its own right.

But after considering this option, which of course meant replacing everything I owned upon return, I decided against it: I didn't want to return home to nothing and big bills to replace it all. On the other hand, I didn't want to pay big money to a storage company for the year I was going to be gone.

At about $75.00 - $100.00 per month for a small container, it became apparent I could probably only store the essentials. I found myself back where I started, considering the option (or necessity) of selling the majority of my possessions, yet yielding to my worries of the expense and inconvenience of replacing everything on return. It was a vicious circle.

I decided to use my trip as an opportunity to purge and simplify my life: I sold, donated, or threw out the 'unimportant' things (which seemed important at first), and wasn't left with much except several large pieces of furniture like a futon, desk, dresser, filing cabinet, and book shelf. I held a massive garage sale and made several hundred dollars for the trip. The truth is, it's impossible to get rid of everything. There are cherished books, photo albums, souvenirs from other trips... stuff I absolutely needed to keep. But having pared down the majority of my stuff – things that tie us down – I left for Asia feeling free and unburdened.

In fact, I'd done such a good job that I no longer had to pay for storage, as all of my things fit in space found in my apartment building and the homes of a few friends.

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© 2006, Cheryn Flanagan