So here we are. Three years after I last blogged regularly and about seven years since I first started writing them. I had grand plans to write again this year, but I’d fallen out of habit and just couldn’t focus hard enough to get the thoughts out of my head. I found too many distractions. I was on sabbatical, happily travelling the world for no reason other than to tick enough places off my list that I could throw away the travel brochures in my storage unit. Europe first, then Africa; for almost a year I was taking the first major, independent holiday of my life. I had this list of things I planned to do as I travelled; setting up a business, read many of the books in my e-book collection, write. Instead, I happily got caught up in watching tv series’ season by season, and, by the time I was sitting on an overland truck crossing Africa, I’d gotten addicted to a mindless game app. I didn’t mind too much, I mean, what else to do on a truck for six hours each day? When I tried to write, I got motion sickness. I couldn’t focus on ideas for the business, I couldn’t even get through podcasts. My mind was firmly set in enjoying Africa doing nothing in particular.
In the background was this ever-changing world. Coronavirus was spreading, first China and parts of Asia. Then Italy. Passing Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, we got maybe five minutes a day of wifi if we were lucky. So, while we knew it was out there and spreading, we existed in this cosy, isolated, news-free haven of our truck and while some worried about what they read, I felt untouchable. We were fine. COVID-19 had not hit Africa, other than a case or two; we were safer than if we were at home, oddly enough.
Then one afternoon in Namibia, everything changed. Continue reading
And Letting Go
It takes six months to pack up, six months to unpack – David Pollock, Third Culture Kids
Mentally, emotionally, literally – Pollock, the late expert on nomadic expat life was right. When I left Australia in 2002, it was an exit I knew was a long time coming. Travel was all I ever dreamed of doing. And, months before I gave notice in each job overseas, I realised that I was emotionally ready to leave. Sometimes it was due to visas running out, other times because with families ever-growing and changing, the time was just right. Now, after three years here, I know it’s time to go. Mentally, I have been coming to terms with the exit for months, planning how to wrap up work projects, working out what jobs big or small, need attention. Making and checking off a list of sightseeing and experiences to finally do. Pollock is spot on – much as it does take months to emotionally plant your roots in the new destination and feel connected, likewise, the emotional pack up, the mental preparation to leave, equally doesn’t happen overnight. After so much practice, moving here, moving there, I’m still in amazement of how well it’s going. Continue reading
Different people find and follow minimalism for different reasons. Some lose everything in a fire or burglary and have to start again with a reassessment of what they really need. Others leave their spouse and need to ponder what to part with, and what is necessary for moving on or starting again. Some are families that, in the daily grind and struggle to keep up with the Jones’s, find themselves accumulating too much and losing sight of the fun of parenting and family life. Finally there are the hoarders, who have emotional attachments to things, and minimalism is the breath of fresh air that flips the switch in their brains to start letting go.
That is the start of the journey. Maybe a friend said something or they heard about the Minimalists’ movie or podcast or they saw a quote on social media from Joshua Becker or Courtney Carver. However they hear about it, downsizing, intentional living, minimalism starts to make sense and the journey begins. Decluttering, although emotionally difficult to separate from things you’ve purchased or been given or earned, is a relatively simple task. Pick up object, decide to donate or dispose or sell, object leaves hands and home. Straightforward at least. But what about the journey ten years’ down the track? When the home is relatively emptier? What does minimalism look like then? How does one live intentionally in practice? Continue reading
2016 is done.
In numerology 2+0+1+6=9 and 9 is the year of endings and change. No one could deny there was so much of it last year, losing iconic celebrities like David Bowie and Alan Rickman at the start through to George Michael, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds at the end, and so many in between. There were countless terrorist attacks – I was very close by during two of them – plus the usual and at times, unusually-located flurry of weather hazards and natural disasters. Then there was senseless tragedy, helplessness and devastation for the vulnerable people of Aleppo, as well as broader Syria and Yemen. The wider Western public gave in to fear and wayward politicians, voting in Brexit and Trump and changing this liberal world as we know it. Time will tell but I think what people were really voting for was a pre-neoliberalist, pre-Reagan/Thatcher world where everyone had a full time job, comfortable wages and job security and adult children could afford their own house and dreams. Something no politician can achieve these days without dramatically changing the massive corporate power and wealth influencing the global government and world today.
Quite simply, it was quite a year.
For me 2016 embraced both endings and change, but not really in any negative way. Continue reading