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Reasons Why

In my first post, I mentioned a reason for downsizing that stirred this idea about a week ago.  But this morning, before I fully awoke, I remembered an experience, a large experience, that has been percolating in the back of my subconscious for nearly a year telling me to minimize my possessions.

Last summer (July 2013), H and I rode our motorcycles to visit family in North Carolina. We had done a number of long-distance trips before on the bikes, but never this far on our own. We had gone to Iowa for a friend’s wedding (5 hours) for three days, so packing was easy. We had gone to Kansas City (15 hours) for four days, but we sent our belongings with the rest of my family in the van. Now we were embarking on a nine-day journey to ride over 2,000 miles with no van tagging along. We were staying with family, so we could do laundry, but we still had to pack light. One backpack each with saddlebags.

That was probably the best vacation I’ve ever taken. Being on our own motorcycles, we were together, but alone. There was no mindless chatter; only observations and mindful thinking. I believe the world could solve a lot of its problems if leaders spent more time alone with two wheels.

We had had such a simple, fun trip, free of all the normal complications that come with normal travel. I couldn’t buy a whole lot because of space constraints. We didn’t have luggage to deal with because of space constraints. We didn’t have computers with us and didn’t have smart phones at the time, so when we stayed in a cheap motel we watched one of the only four channels. It was so uncomplicated and refreshing.

It was hard to come home. I crunched numbers to see how long we could do this before we ran out of money. The answer was not long. But as I thought about it this morning, I think that was a major turning point in my psyche, realizing the freedom of only having a backpack of possessions. Of being able to go where we wanted to go without worrying about our “stuff”. The ironic part of this is that I lost my wallet on the drive home.

I’d have loved to include a picture from that trip, but we were so focused on having a good time that I didn’t take any pictures. Can you imagine, in today’s society where we document everything with an instagram, that I have no proof of this trip?  I’ll just have to feed your imaginations with a photo from our Cozumel trip when we rented a Harley (another great day).

The beginning of something tiny

H has been suggesting crazy ideas since I met him. The suggestions started with “let’s elope,” (which we eventually tried to do, but that’s another story) and quickly lead to “let’s sell all of our possessions and become gypsies.” I’d always laugh and think about how freeing that would be, but then keep on keeping on as normal.

Fast-forward seven years (five married), two houses, two investment properties and 2,100+ square feet of “stuff”. The suggestion had become, “let’s sell this house and move into something smaller.” Again, I’d laugh and say, “but there’s still so much left to be done here!”

And then my boss, in the midst of moving, shared this video with our staff of six. And it got me thinking about my stuff. My stuff as well as my “stuff” and everything in between. Why do we have so much stuff? Why do we have so much space? A home-office that we never use because we both spend all day sitting in offices. A family room to sit in while no one sits in the living room.

It’s official. We are hunting for land. And we’re going to sell our house. And I’m going to get rid of 75%+ of my possessions. I feel lighter just typing it.

Stick around for the ride if you want.