How could we take what we had learned from our years of travel and use that to shape and plan our new life?
Six and half years ago, we had taken a giant leap by giving away almost all of our possessions in anticipation of years of travel. Our reasoning was mostly economic: a storage unit would most certainly cost more than all of our stuff was worth. Who knew the profound effect reducing our possessions would have on us?
We had begun our travel with an epic 9-month road trip in the U.S. It didn’t take long before we realized we were hauling around way too much “stuff”.
We took time to pare down and simplify even more. The next phase of our travel was our first around the world trip which would last 14 months. That length of time – living from one carryon suitcase and one small computer shoulder bag each – required serious thought to pack exactly the right things without overpacking. About a week before the trip, panic and insecurity set in. A few things were added, then a few more. The night before our flight, we could barely zip closed our suitcases. Clearly, we were taking too much.
A few months later we pulled out everything not deemed essential, boxed it, and sent it back to the US. Our load and spirits lightened.
Imagine yourself preparing for a traveling life, paring your possessions down to what easily fits in a carryon suitcase and a computer shoulder bag. What would you take? We learned that every piece of clothing and possession we took with us needed to be a “workhorse” – the more hard working and flexible, the better.
The larger the item, the more it had to justify the space it took up. We continued through our travel years to evaluate each item, and we were paring back constantly. By the time we packed for our 2nd around the world trip, our suitcases had extra room and the zippers easily slid closed.
Looking back, we were surprised that from the very beginning of our long trip, we took to a life of nonstop travel like ducks take to water. It was a joy to take our everyday life in new directions. One thing was clear: life on the road had changed what we now viewed as essential.
Before we started our travels six years ago, we had a study with a desk for each of us. When we traveled, we propped our laptops on our laps or a dining table. It worked well. Now after years of travel, we each decided against having a desk – and a study – in our new home. Before traveling, we had a well-stocked kitchen, filled with a pantry, accessories, and machines. We agreed to simplify the kitchen this time around. Did we need a blender AND a food processor? No. One might be nice. Two weren’t necessary. Travel taught us how to dress with fewer, well-chosen clothes. We planned to continue that practice.
It had seemed almost effortless to simplify our lives as we traveled over the years. As we settled down, we resolved: keep it that way.