A little while ago I wrote a guest post for Cassie over at The Flying Drunken Monkey about how I was feeling with the de-cluttering, selling and major changes that were facing us with our decision to embrace family travel full time around Australia.
I’m reposting the blog post over here, as it’s an important reflection of my thoughts at the time we seriously started to sort through our things and boxes that had been stored away for some time. You can find Cassie’s blog by following the link of her blog name above. Loreena x
Re-published Guest Blog Post:
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 to pack up your life for permanent family travel?
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 highschool 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 irreplacable 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.
Tonight, the simple amount of $50.60 cents has changed our lives and sent us to a point of no return.
A simple ad that reads something like this:
furn, tools,toys, camping,reptile, etc, 26&27Jan 8am
Just like that with a few strokes of the keypad, and an online payment and our lives are on sale!
I guess the most common question we get about selling up our lives to travel is “What will you do with all your stuff”?
Our answer is generally just a simple “We’re selling it all”. We’ve answered that question what feels like hundreds of times in the past year, and the answer seems so clear cut and simple.
There’s not much emotion behind it, and perhaps there’s even a relief in knowing that we’ll be rid of all the things that seem to weigh us down, and free to explore this amazing country and embrace our children as they grow so fast before our eyes. Other people seem so much more concerned with us selling everything than we are ourselves.
But now, it feels real.
Now, there’s no going back. On the 26th January, people are going to be knocking at our door, rummaging through our belongings and walking away with a part of our lives that we’ll never see again.
There’s something about this experience that’s leaving me feeling very vulnerable, but excited all at the same time.
Of course we’ll be keeping photographs and highly sentimental things that are impossible to replace, and my brother is storing those in plastic boxes in his garage. The rest, it will go.
If it doesn’t fit into our caravan or car for the trip, we just can’t keep it. It’s that simple.
I have to acknowledge that this will be somewhat difficult on us, and on the kids, as I’ve written before but I just know the result, and the life we’ll be living for the next couple of years is going to outweigh the vulnerability we’re all facing right now, I just know it!
We’ve already moved a load of things to my brother’s house. Mostly things he wanted, along with our boat and boat trailer, but this week, I’ll be sorting everything we own into boxes and piles of saleable items ready to say goodbye to this coming weekend!
Moving a load of our stuff
Wishing you all a wonderful 2013 from our family to yours. May your 2013 be full of amazing family holidays!
We thank you so much for taking this journey with us and we are looking very, very forward to what 2013 has to offer. We look forward to sharing the New Year with you all xx
So this is it. Our first real step toward long term family travel.
Look closely and you’ll see it.
Doesn’t it look amazing? Ok, I’ll admit, it doesn’t look anything out of the norm does it?
There is our car, towing our boat, nothing unusual about that….. except…….
The boat contains parts of our life, tucked away under that cover.
The quad bike given to the kids by my brother. The outdoor chairs we bought about 4 house moves ago when the kids were so very much younger, that have welcomed guests during birthday parties, get togethers and many fun bbq’s.
The little glass top table and 2 accompanying chairs that Matt bought me to sit out on the verandah of the first house we lived in when we moved to Wauchope.
Matt’s swag I bought him when he was doing the rodeo circuit and needed somewhere quick and easy to stay.
A wiggles rug I found tucked away in the shed that’s decorated the boys room before the kids all outgrew the colorful foursome.
Other bits and pieces are in there too, off to live at my brother’s house. Our first full load of things being rehomed, and it’s all feeling just a bit (ok maybe a LOT) real right about now!
We don’t have an exact date we’ll be properly homeless, but the shop is on the market, and we’re starting to downsize and sort through everything.
I have a feeling, as with any other move, it will turn into a massive frenzy when the vital moments draw near, because as much as I feel organised, I know it will sneak up on me and I’ll realise we still have too much stuff that we’re supposed to have said goodbye to.
But regardless of what’s ahead of us, this is a defining moment in our journey to embark on family travel around Australia
Well, this is it!
As I write this, Matt’s driving and we’re on our way to the Problogger Training Event in Melbourne.
We have been so lucky to be chosen as major winners by Lenovo which means not only do we get to blog about the event using the amazing K1 Tablet, but we have also won the super exciting X1 Carbon laptop!
Lenovo as a company are all about being a Doer, and I like to think we are definitely doers! To tell you the truth I can’t wait to drag all our Lenovo gear (we already have 2 other Lenovo laptops too, so you could say we love and trust the brand so much already!) around Australia and test it out across this awesome rugged country!
But for now, we’re on our way, driving to Newcastle, flying down to Melbourne and leaving our 3 munchkins at home with their Poppy who is armed with enough DVD’s and snack food to keep them occupied for the next couple of days!
While it feels pretty hard to leave the kids behind because we generally travel everywhere with them, it’s VERY exciting to know we are about to meet some amazing like minded people and be able to repay Lenovo for their kindness by being official bloggers for the event too!
Today, I am the proudest mum, a heartbroken mum, and an inspired mum.
As we sort through our belongings, our “stuff” and sell it or donate it, and get closer to our journey of living on the road and exploring Australia, I question so much about my dreams and my goals for our little family. I question the validity of our desire to work our way around the country without a bricks and mortar home to return to, and how this amazing journey will affect, or is affecting our children.
Our dream, is to give our children a spectacular life. A life that showers them with the beauty of the amazing country in which we live. A life that inspires them to truly believe that anything is possible, and that they can achieve it. A life that sees them blossom into amazing teens and adults who have an appreciation and respect for mankind and the amazing earth and it’s creatures that sustain us.
Making dreams come true requires sacrifice, and our dream is no different.
As with anything in life, a big change requires big decisions and a certain degree of sacrifice. So as our process of decision making and sacrifice shapes our lives over the next few months, it’s the new task of selling all of our belongings that really brings the gravity of our decision to life.
Parting with the things that have shaped, and still do shape our lives forces a type of self analysis that may ever be undertaken otherwise.
Even the most mundane, boring item brings with it a sense of past memories. Letting go of our house full of mementos, serves of a stark reminder of the reality of our decision and how it is and will shape the lives of our children. I truly believe that our children will have an amazing experience travelling and exploring, living on the road, and they are so excited about the journey that lays ahead. As a mother, watching them make decisions about leaving behind their “things” and put trust into our judgement that this radical change will be worth it is just inspiring!
One of the things we’ve had to begin parting with, are our pets. Our dog will be travelling with us, but we’ve also had reptiles since the kids were tiny. Rehoming them is not too difficult, most of our snakes were Matt’s, so the kids had no real emotional attachment to them, but their bearded dragons, and Jackson’s python were different all together.
Jackson was very happy his carpet python went to a new home with kids to enjoy him, and he’s looking for the right child to pass his bearded dragon on to. I watched as he readied the cage so I could take some photos to email, and held his pet with such pride so he could show it to the prospective buyer.
I watched with pride, and realised just how mature he was being over this entire process . “You’re being very brave about having to sell your pets mate, are you ok?” I asked him. “Yes mum, I just have to trust that it will all be worth it” was his reply.
Well at that moment, the gravity of what this journey means to our children really hit me. I’m sure we’ll give them memories of this amazing country that will be the envy of many others. I’m proud because they “get” the dream and understand the possibilities, I’m heartbroken because of the unknown and seeing them having to be so brave, and I’m inspired that they do, truly understand the magical possibilities that lay before us!
I hope however, with all my heart, that they do truly believe that leaving this life, and all our things is worth it!