You know that moment where the biggest dream you dared to dream becomes reality? It’s at that moment that the enormity of what you’ve been dreaming about strikes you hard and fast and takes your breath away. That’s what this moment in our lives feels like. Breathtaking. Sometimes for the good, sometimes for the bad, but definitely breathtaking.
You see, about four years ago we did a three week camping trip from Darwin to Adelaide. We visited icons like Uluru and Kakadu, and when we returned home the itchy feet had set in. Matt tried to convince me the itch would stop, but there was no hope, the urge to travel and explore wasn’t going away no matter how hard we tried. Even the hard work of starting a business, and succeeding, did little to fulfill us, and as I went about my every day life, it was the wide open spaces of Australia that captured my imagination and heart.
So a year or so ago we decided it would be a great idea to pack up everything we owned into a shipping container and head off to travel Australia with our 3 kids.
Then, as our dreams got closer within reach, we figured why pack everything up, let’s just sell it all and be totally free of “stuff”.
It sounds like a fun proposition when you first talk about it. Removing all the stuff from your life. Thoughts ran through my mind of how liberating and freeing it would be to be rid of all the things we’d hoarded and collected over the years. Of the junk we’d moved from house to house in boxes that had never really been unpacked properly. To be free of the toys that scatter from one end of the house to the other, and the old university texts that will never be opened by me again and yet I can’t bring myself to part with, and a “Men’s Shed” full of things Matt might use one day.
So what does it really feel like?
We were talking about this in the car tonight on the way home. Selling your life feels permanent. It feels like we’re breaking up with our old selves. As you de-clutter and sort through the entire contents of your life, not only do you question your life journey to this very moment in time, you revive old scars and heal them all over again. Revisit your old self and follow your journey to now, you question exactly where your life has been, and where it may be going.
Every photograph, every old high school report, every memory of childhood friends. Envelopes containing the first haircut for each child, we didn’t even know we had kept, discovered in boxes. Old cards, love letters, sorry letters, kids artwork, holiday mementos, funeral booklets of loved ones, clothing we once loved that no longer fits. The sum of who we are, tucked away in boxes, in cupboards, sorted through and brought to life to remind us of our journey to now.
It took three days of straight sorting just to get through the boxes in our shed. Almost an entire ute load of rubbish has found it’s way to the tip, and what’s left behind are treasures that will be packed away into plastic tubs, one for each of us, that will hold the irreplaceable memories and pieces that define us each, to be kept safe with family.
For those things that aren’t photos, or home videos or important irreplaceable mementos, to those things, we say goodbye. Goodbye to our furniture, to the kids swing set and trampoline, to the decorative knick knacks, to the kitchen gadgets, to the excessive amounts of linen and crockery we seem to have collected. Goodbye to everything that isn’t essential to live a simple life, on the road, in our caravan.
Does de-cluttering and selling up our entire lives feel overwhelming? Yes, it does, without a doubt! Do I think that having very little stuff will make our lives much more fulfilling than they ever have been before? Yes, I do.
Whether we live on the road for one year or five, I have no doubt if we are to settle back down we’ll accumulate stuff once again, but this process, has been enlightening to really understand myself, my choices, and to give me the confidence to know that being me, and being us as a family is enough. That our happiness and our bliss is not in the things that surround us, but in our journey together as a family. That the treasures we’ll have stored away in our own boxes of memories are more than enough to know that we were here, we lived, and we were happy.
Loreena is the founder of Little Aussie Travellers; a blog about family travel, where she hopes to inspire other families to get out and explore Australia with their children and discover just how amazing this country is.