" There are too many things laying around!"
" There isn't enough room to fit all our stuff in here!"
" This stuff is driving me crazy!"
These are very common phrases spoken by Zach and myself. It seems silly sometimes, considering all the things that we don't have with us on the road, and the insane amount of things we sold, or ended up giving away, or hauling to the dumpster before we left. In actuality, we don't really have that many belongings, but we do have very little space. We spend hours each week re-organizing, tidying, shuffling and throwing out even more belongings. It boggles my mind each time we part with yet another "thing".
When we first decided to do this trip, we immediately planned an apartment sale, and went through all of our stuff. We put a price tag on almost everything, except for the items that were deemed important enough to keep. We parted with our 52" television and accessories, our just-paid-off furniture, kitchen table and chairs, cameras, clothing, craft supplies and tools, picture frames, art, appliances and most of my collection of hundreds of books. It was scary, and rejuvenating all at the same time.
We spent the past couple years acquiring material possessions, because we wanted them, and we were making enough money that we could afford them. We were living the high life - double income, no kids. We took an apartment that had mostly been lived in by bachelors and students over the years, and turned it into a home. We painted and decorated and bought more and more stuff to fill it with. I loved our stuff, I really did. But it just wasn't feasible to keep it all in storage for when we wanted it back. We came to the decision that if we wanted it again, we could just buy new. And I'm sure we will one day.
Once all the big ticket items were sold and moved out, it felt like we had nothing. But somehow, the topic came up every day about what we need, what we could store at The House of Pain, what we could part with. When you're looking at living in only a few square feet of space, you really have to be realistic, and only pack what you will need to survive. We are still discussing things after more than 2 months, and still getting rid of things. It's crazy.
We did store some items. ( Thank you a million times over, Kevin and Paige) We kept anything sentimental like photo albums, family heirloom type stuff, kitchen ware that I knew I would use again given the chance, books, backpacks and some camping gear that we didn't need on the road. What we did bring were the necessities, clothing for all types of weather, extra bedding, a few books, a few board games, 2 computers, my craft supplies and finished product, Zach's tools and kitchen stuff, among other things. These things keep us entertained and connected to the world.
My friend Laurie asked me the other day if there was anything that I missed. I couldn't think of anything. After some discussion, it was decided that I missed having a bath tub, but only on those cold days when you would normally have a soak. We don't have television, but we have many series' and movies on the hard drive. We don't have running water, but I'm okay with hauling drinking water, and we have the best showers I have ever seen at a campground, which I also use for hauling hot water for dishes. There's a laundromat at the campground, and in every town in the North America, so we're covered there. The coffee pot can boil water for more things than just coffee. We only have a small porta-potty in the camper, but we've learned to be comfortable with our waste, and use the public washrooms whenever possible. We have the internet, which gives us TV, games, blogs to read and everything else that we used it for at home. We don't have propane yet, but the slow cooker and the charcoal grill cook all our food for us, and we just have to plan our meals in advance. We have all the necessities at our disposal, it's just a little bit different.
Sure, there are things that I wish I had with me. I do miss having a bath tub at times, and I've been kicking myself for not bringing the popcorn popper with us. On rainy days like today when I can't be outside and my body is aching, I miss my Wii Fit. ( You can bet your ass I'll be buying another one when it's time.) Really though, I don't miss much, because we have what we need. This lifestyle is not about going without, it's about making due with what you have, and learning to deal with situations that arise that you would never have to deal with in a "real" home.
But hey, so far, so good. I just have to figure out a way to make popcorn.