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
What a powerful bridge I just crossed.
This journey can only be described as an elongated thought process, and so the following post will read as such.
It’s my day off again. Weighed down by things to do, I came up with a list of short tasks to achieve this morning to help me start to feel like I’m getting a lot of work done. After that I thought, you know, while I’m here I have some other things on my mind that I want to list: easily discarded things from my storage. So I opened up my smartphone notes page and jotted them down. Then it occurred to me to scroll back through my smartphone photos to the last pictures of my storage (which I do each visit), to see if there’s anything else I can see I need to add. What followed was a half hour of liberation.
Since the start of this blog in January I have shared with you the story of my stuff, what I collected, how I shipped it around the world with me, and the lessons I’ve learned along the way – mostly motivations to downsize the clutter and the costs and the emotional toll. From here on, the blog moves into its more intended purpose, reflecting on different elements of minimalism, decluttering, hoarding, travelling with stuff and finding a life more balanced and true.
The first such topic is what I call my inventory list.
I have always been a list person. Way beyond the shopping and to-do list, I have made all kinds of lists: films-to-watch and books-to-read lists, things to do before I am 30, things I need to buy when I set up in a new country – my hard drive contains a bunch of them. But the longest one of all is my inventory list.
Originally it was created to identify where my stuff was. Moved out of Australia, my first job was split between three countries in Europe and generally my employers didn’t like me bringing loads of stuff back and forth, so things got taken to one country and often left there for later. So I found myself starting a list of what stuff was where – in Australia or Europe. And even left behind with friends in the UK. Continue reading