I am about to set out on a trip around the world- and while this will (hopefully) lead to any number of exhilarating experiences, the thing I am looking forward to right now is that when my trip starts I will have finished the exhausting task of packing up my life.
I have been packing for months. First was moving out of my house. I am a crafter, a reader, a cook, a gardener, a hoarder of this and that very significant piece of treasure, and because I was moving to nowhere I had to say goodbye to every single item and then find it a new home.
While I was sorting my possessions into the keep and get rid of piles I tried to keep Mirka Mora on one shoulder- to remind me of all the future possibilities for creativity and memories that were tucked away inside my treasures- and on the other shoulder was the specter of the scary people who never throw out a single newspaper. But that balance between being an artist and being plain bonkers is tricky. I fear that I have gotten rid of some things that I may one day regret- and I also fear that I have kept a lot of junk.
I got rid of a lot of stuff, sold some to happy new homes, gave some to family and friends, op-shopped some, but despite my efforts I still ended up with an awful lot of possessions. Entering the world of digital music has been very helpful with downsizing. I now have a tiny little device which holds all the music from my most loved CD’s- although all the CD’s themselves still have to live somewhere. Lucky for me I have been able to distribute my precious books, pincushions, baubles and boxes of miscellaneous crap amongst my very generous family members.
Packing up my house took three weeks, four rolls of packing tape, thirty or so scavenged boxes,
one station wagon and trailer load of books to Horsham, eight hours garage sale-ing, seven trips to the op-shop, one ute load to Nowa Nowa, one car and trailer load to Williamstown, one car load to North Melbourne and one backpack to Nowa Nowa.
If you are out of breath reading that sentence just imagine how I felt living it.
After all that I still had another round of packing (and downsizing) to do.
When I started planning this trip I had visions of traveling light- I was going to take a little backpack with one pair of perfect pants, a few singlet tops and my camera and head off for two months of summer adventuring. Now with a trip of unknown proportions ahead of me my little backpack is too small and the list of things I just can’t live without is too big.
As I near my departure date I have to acknowledge that I am a failure.
I am doomed to walk the earth hunched over under a giant backpack.
I have failed to pack light.
My last attempt to whittle down my travel essentials amounted to me removing the following:
6 coloured pencils
A hand towel
Almost empty panadol box
Another spare toothbrush
One pair of grey socks
Another spare razor
I am a packing light failure.
I still have a small amount of hope that life on the road will teach me to release my hold on all those things which now seem essential... but for now I am working on strengthening my shoulder muscles and trying frantically to learn Swahili so as to actually enjoy my first stop- Tanzania.