#CreativeWriting: Life in a Bag

Posted by in Creative Portfolio | 84 comments

Blogging has been my golden ticket to rediscovering the writer I always saw myself becoming. It’s also opened doors toward establishing myself as a freelance editor. But something’s gotta give. Mine is a slow and meticulous process, and time is of the essence. I’m finally satisfied with the direction on this blog, so from now on I will only post once a week on Mondays. Writing tips will occur every other week and alternate with author updates and lit chat. Your continued support counts for so much. Since I’m buried in editing projects and getting ready to release “The Two Yosemites,” I am re-posting an essay I submitted many moons ago to Newsweek’s “My Turn” column. It traces how my time spent working in national parks has influenced my philosophy toward life in general. Enjoy.

 

Life in a Bag

 

I may as well let you in on a quirk of mine: I own things in sets of fives and tens. From perfectly spaced hangers dangle ten t-shirts, five shirts in the other category, five sweaters, five pairs of pants—and five sets of nicer clothing, which I hardly ever and hate to wear. Why this obsession? I used move around a lot and I have my wardrobe down to an art since the places I moved to and from provided minimal amounts of square feet.

The bulk of my clothes—those articles essential for protection, warmth, and fashion—fit in the main compartment of a sturdy duffle bag. I could get by on less, but that would mean doing the laundry more often. This bag also has two end compartments: one side accommodates toiletries; the other side fits ten sets of white sport socks, five pairs of black socks, five sets of wool hiking socks, as well as five pairs of pantyhose, and yes, ten sets of matching bras and panties (I will not wear ones that do not match). Anything else that is crammable can come along too—camera, squishable shoes, Kindle. You get the picture. My life fits in a bag.

Picture of Jeri Walker-Bickett aka JeriWB

Iceburg Lake in Montana’s Glacier National Park (in July!)

When my life began expanding beyond what could fit in this bag, I experienced unpleasant bouts of anxiety. But how did I find comfort in living out of a bag in the first place?

I learned the importance of living lightly when I had to pack for my first summer job in Yellowstone National Park back in 1996. All I really needed to bring were clothes, but I opted for my own blankets and CD player since I had the luxury of a car trunk. Not until I traveled across America from Wyoming to Florida and back on a Greyhound Bus did I discover that all I needed could travel with me.

We all know that feeling—the feeling that we must buy something or die. Trendy shirts (picture those oh-so-flimsy peasant blouses dyed in loud notice me colors) or perhaps twenty shades of eye shadow (whose names invoke fresh springtime beauty) gather dust, all for the sake of momentary satisfaction and a high annual percentage rate. This urge is tamable. We can want—not need—to collect Tiffany Lamps. A trip to the mall necessitates disciplining The Greed Monster. For me, buying anything is a big deal, not only because what I buy must be easily transportable, but also because I cherish every object I own. When life is reduced to the contents of a duffle bag, things have a way of falling into place.

At the garbage dump, Grandma and Grandpa used to dig for discarded treasures. Junked items—bent frying pans, stained photo albums, rickety furniture—were rescued and deemed useable. They had good jobs, but they liked rummaging. One person’s junk may very well be another’s treasure, but my credo differs. Why do we need so much stuff? If we haven’t used something for a few months, we should give it to Goodwill. Periodically, we should ransack our homes, cleaning out our closets as well as our minds.

This brings me to the bouts of anxiety I mentioned above. I hate to buy things. I hate to spend. Diligently, I save for a second car because I no longer have the time to ride my bike six miles to work (thanks to the physical and mental strain of graduate school). But when it comes to clothes and food and books, I am frugal. Of course, I enjoy material possessions, but I feel most at ease when I have less to keep track of.

Yellowstone National Park Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone Matt Bickett Jeri Walker-Bickett

While finishing my bachelor’s degree, my husband and I set-up house for the first time—a far cry from the dorm-style rooms we’d occupied before in national parks. Buying a kitchen table and matching chairs nearly caused me a mental meltdown. I agree with Thoreau that belongings cause the owner stress. My future plans do not involve enslaving myself to house, car, or children. I want to be on intimate terms with myself. Nonessential items such as caller i.d. and cable television interfere with my wavelength and prevent a clear reception of life.

A former roommate’s wardrobe filled two closets. The metal rod holding her essential fashions gradually sagged and broke. I once rebelled against her knick-knack habit and encouraged Mr. Kitty to walk the stairway rail where she displayed them. His bushy tail sent those dainty bears flying. My roommate possessed a fancy red car, a gorgeous new house, and a used-up soul. She utilized my rent money for outings to the bar so she could bring home men. She (and her soon to be ex) lived under a pile of bills and owned everything but stability. She cried a lot.

My chief want in life is to live lightly. In the past, I migrated seasonally, north to south, job to job. My one consistent goal is to explore and thus own the world. Owning anything else takes second place. Books, sunsets, hiking. And husband, my best friend. Our love transcends material bounds. This love is so big that it envelopes my mind and travels with me. Unfettered and too big to fit inside a bag, it’s the biggest and best thing I could ever own.

What about you? Have you ever lightened your load of wordly possessions? What did that make you feel?


If you enjoyed this post you might also like Yellowstone National Park and a Wedding Anniversary or Beware the Virtual Animal Hoarder.


 

Permission must be granted by JeriWB to use the images in this post.

Article by Jeri Walker-Bickett aka JeriWB

Jeri Walker-Bickett
JeriWB writes short stories, creative nonfiction, and psychological suspense. The rough Idaho mining town she grew up in populates her literary landscape. She also works as a freelance editor.
Jeri Walker-Bickett

@JeriWB

Author of short stories, creative nonfiction, and psychological suspense. Blogger of writing tips and lit chat. Freelance editor. http://t.co/sfCsmQ5hyM
Boo! Hallofree! NET SWITCH by @DeniseBaer #AllHallowsRead Dark Psychological Thriller http://t.co/5fnSehqtsT - 15 mins ago
Jeri Walker-Bickett
Jeri Walker-Bickett
Jeri Walker-Bickett
I offer a variety of freelance editing services. Previously, I served as an editorial assistant with The Idaho Review, Boise State's literary journal.

84 Comments

  1. What a great thought provoking post. I am with you on the “use it or lose it” philosophy. It is so easy to get caught up in the “oooh isn’t that pretty” and then try to go the “do I really need it” thought. Many times we never get past our first reaction. It takes discipline (and practice) to keep it as simple as you have the need, room and resources. Thanks for sharing. :-)

    • Susan, I’m also reminded of your fairly recent post about getting rid of things as you consolidated households ;)

  2. Hi
    I can’t agree with you more. I also love the header of your blog, the typewriter is way too cool. I remember my parents had a portable Remington, I actually learnt to type on it, while still in primary school. Touch typing helps me till this date.
    I came here from Bloggers helping Bloggers on LinkedIn.

    • Thanks Grace. I have a thing for taking pictures of old typewriters. The one in my header was on display at the forestry center in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

  3. Fabulous!! I like to keep things to a minimum, and I regularly purge my closet of unworn items, but you have inspired me to take even a closer look at my “stuff”!

    • Lubna, when we moved last summer, one of the guys packing and loading our things commented on how little stuff (aka crap, stuff, and junk) we have in comparison to all the other people he’s moved. I took it as a compliment! Although I don’t think they were too trilled at all my boxes of books ;)

  4. Always travel light. For about two years I travelled all over the world and spent on average three months in various places such as Tokyo, Athens and Vienna. Started out with fairly light luggage. But since I had meetings with the leaders of the world I needed to buy more and more clothes. So in the end I was travelling with 90 kilos.

    Bought classical designer suits and the good part about that is that they are of such good quality. Will hence never need to buy designer suits again since they will never go out of fashion. So, like you, I can avoid spending:-)

    • Catarina, I may live lightly, but when I went to Greece and Turkey two years ago, I quickly realized I did not pack lightly! Lesson learned ;)

      • Like you, I’m still working on getting to a simpler way of life all around . :)

  5. I love this piece. Do you still only wear matching bras and panties? That is pretty amazing. I don’t think I have one matching pair! I have moved house a lot and travelled a fair bit – most recently I moved from England with my husband and kids to the US, where we are now settled for at least a few years! We have had to be ruthless about our possessions along the way. Still we did manage to box up some rather random items and ship them across the atlantic, but much as I try to travel light, it also doesn’t feel good giving or throwing away useful items, only to have to buy them all again for the new house!

    • Michelle, thanks for reading and connecting. Nope, I gave up the matching bra and panties a while back. I’ll probably be moving again in a year or two and am definitely not looking forward to going through all that again!

  6. Love this post Jeri. Always been a big junk store shopper and regularly scour the house for things to take to charity shops. But your honesty and writing from the heart was what impressed me the most. Very refreshing. Thank you.

  7. Although with our kids we have accumulated much more than we would have otherwise, for the most part we have always tried to maintain at least some semblance of a minimalist approach to things and stuff. One of the biggest is all the kitche knick-knacky stuff that tends to flood every empty space in the other’s homes. We strive to keep stuff like that out, but the flood always happens when people love to buy that stuff as gifts because this new trinket made them think of you.

    I think the worst time came when my wife’s mother passed away. We ended up with a space in our basement filled with almost every lest vestige of paraphenalia her mother had collected. Little by little we have managed to get rid of odds and ends but this has been through the tight reigns of my sister in law who can’t bear to part with anything. Imagine the minutiae of 15 decks of cards, and puzzles (missing pieces of course) or even dressers that have seen better years, fighting against the irrationality that if we lose anything we will be forgetting the life that it flooded.

    Add to this now with my daughter preparing for her baby. Odds and ends that make up all the items that go into caring for a new child, it is a wonder I have room for my own life at the moment. My favorite quote of the week came from my daughter recently, “Oh my god, babies have a lot of crap.” And to think this one isn’t even born yet.

    (side note) I apologize at this time. For some reason, as I read through older posts of yours I find some of them inspire long winded responses from me. It isn’t that I want to take away from you. But I do blame you for making me talkative.

  8. Hey Jeri
    Loved this post. We try hard to follow the same approach, though not perhaps with as much success. I still can’t help checking in charity shops for the same few books I’ve been searching for for years. But beyond that, I’ve stopped buying pretty much everything. So much simpler that way.
    We also have a pretty strict policy on buying the Pickle things as well. Keep it simple and she’ll grow up hopefully without that overwhelming urge to buy stuff all the time that seems endemic in our society.
    Also, loved the bit at the end, very soppy and beautiful, well said. :)
    cheers
    Mike

    • Michael, I don’t think anyone until now has used the word “soppy” to describe my writing before ;)

  9. I love this post! Yes. I have experienced this lightening up by eliminating material items. Each time we have moved house we have gotten pretty ruthless about getting rid of stuff. When we are not moving house we typically go through everything once a year and get rid of anything that has not been used in that last year. There are some exceptions of course. KUDOS to you for keeping life as simple as possible so you can focus on what’s important to you.

  10. Good post, Jeri. I couldn’t disagree with you more! We have a smaller house now than we used to, but it somehow manages to contain all our stuff. Down in the basement we have clothes from a lifetime hanging on a rack that will never be worn again, in the garage a great disorganized heap of unframed paintings that my son left with me to hold for him for a while after he graduated from the Chicago Institute of Art with a Master of Fine Arts degree 25 years ago, and these things are just the tip of the ice berg. Have fun being neat, and I’ll have fun being a slob.

  11. When I was learning the craft of blogging beyond the little snips and nonsense that some blog about, I was told that in order to be successful, you MUST post every day… so that’s what I did for a long time. But then I found myself drawn toward other ways of writing. As I was contemplating how I was going to handle both, I noticed that other bloggers weren’t blogging as often as I was, and it didn’t greatly effect how many readers they had. So I cut down to posts two days each week. Now I feel more balanced.

    It doesn’t surprise me at all that your cutting down on the number of your posts. I have two writing buddies that I edit for before they get into one of their more advanced rewrites. It most certainly is a s-l-o-w process. I hope you do some more writing for yourself too. :)

  12. it might have been first posted many moons ago but still so relevant. I regularly am decluttering. My husband is way better at it than I am but I aspire to being that good. I can tell you it actually FEELS lighter living lighter.

    Thanks Jeri!

  13. Hi Jeri. I find it very liberating to lighten the load. I have moved frequently, travelled continuously and never had much attachment to possessions. When abroad I always travel light and now go back and forth between Ontario and Nova Scotia with everything that I own in the car and lots of room to spare. Oddly, I thoroughly enjoy visiting friends and admiring their collections of art, antiques or whatever they accumulate. I don’t feel negative towards acquisitiveness or sentimentality, its just that aside from people,everything that matters to me is in my head and doesn’t need an object to trigger the memory.

  14. Good for you on going to once a week Jeri -( I have already commented on the post above.) As you say, something has to give, and the work has to come first otherwise the blog will disappear in the end.

    • A.K., the blog’s been great for editing business, but yes it does take away from the time I need to be working on my “real” writing ;)

  15. Great post! Yes. Material things are not that important to me as they once were. Also as you get older you realize what is important. I have started purging. Everyday I take at one thing and get rid of it. It is so cathartic. I couldn’t blog more than once a week because I want to support my fellow bloggers by reading what they have written.

    • Arleen, the getting rid of one item a day is a great idea. I have a space in my closet that I put Goodwill stuff in and then take it in a few times a year. Nothing can compare to our moving sale we had a few years ago. Talk about lightening the load! Even then, one of the movers pointed out how we have significantly less stuff than most house they’ve moved of similar size.

  16. Great post Jeri and certainly one I relate to with enthusiasm. I have detached myself of nearly all belongings a couple of times during the course of my life. Once, the apartment building I lived in was doing a revamp project. A dumpster was placed in the courtyard directly below my balcony. Over the course of two weeks I purged like never before. I was left barren. I decided to take the opportunity further and travel the world. The second time was more deliberate but the result was the same.

    I now live and travel light. Like you, everything I currently own has a story attached and is of importance to me. A sentimental value. I have no doubt I will purge again. It is liberating.

    • Tim, it’s just not a good year unless I make sure to take stock and do a good purge. My most recent obsession has been weeding out books. I figure if I really want to read one again, I can download it in most cases. I’m down to two big shelves now, so that’s an improvement from what used to be five.

  17. Lovely post. I enjoyed every word! I am not a collector but unfortunately I live with one. Looking forward to your memoir! Jan

  18. I’ve never lightened my load at home. I’m afraid I lean toward the hoarder side. I can logically see the value of having fewer things, but emotionally, I like to have my stuff. However, I do travel light, as I don’t trust airlines to keep up with my bags. So, I always just take a carry on.

    • RJ, I think we all hoard to a degree. I’ve been keeping my wine corks for over five years now. I keep telling myself I will do some kind of crafty project with them one of these days beyond just putting them in a glass vase. I’m getting better at traveling lighter, but it’s a work in progress. I actually do better at it than my husband when we go on vacation.

  19. I really enjoyed this post and I too believe in less is more. I had redone my closet a while back, which I showed to my shopaholic friend and she couldn’t believe how few clothes I get away with. Now I just need to get rid of books and that is much harder.
    Lenie

    • Lenie, most shopaholics would look at my fairly spartan closet in disbelief as well. I always laugh at the house shows on HGTV when potential homeowners look at reasonably-sized walk-in closets and scoff at how tiny they are. My theory is the bigger the closet or house someone ends up with, the more stuff they end up feeling obligated to fill it with.

  20. I think I would theoretically agree with Thoreau as to that belongings cause the owner´ stress. Now empirically speaking, I have some doubts…

    I share your personal position , particularly as regard to children.
    I believe the main golden virtue is freedom . And for a writer freedom implies letting creativity flows. So, maybe it is quite hard to reconcile opposites, right?.

    A very enlightening post, dear Jeri, I enjoyed the reading.

    Best wishes for a very nice week ahead,

    Aquileana :)

    • Aquileana, life is indeed all about reconciling opposites. I too enjoy quite a few material things, but I’d like to think I choose them wisely instead of rashly (at least most of the time anyway…)

  21. Hi Jeri: Your mind is much more methodical than mine! I have never counted my possessions as to how many pairs of shoes I own, how many socks, etc. It would never occur to me to do that! Perhaps that is why you’re such an excellent editor. You pay attention to those details that may ultimately affect the whole.

    I am always battling my hubby — who is a hoarder. He owns hundreds of videos (many of which he’s never even unwrapped, let alone watched.) He likes to buy and own things. All I need is a good bottle of wine, some fine food, a setting with natural beauty in a peaceful environment … and a good stash of artisanal chocolate to make me happy. Couldn’t care less about ownership or acquisition.

    • Doreen, yeah my obsessive-compulsive qualities definitely transfer over to great editing skills. That same tendency to want to cut and trim gets in the way my drafting at times. That’s too funny that you husband has so many videos he’s yet to unwrap. Shopping is decidedly not my forte.

  22. Hi Jeri,

    I’m glad your editing gig is keeping you busy. I enjoyed this piece. I agree that simplifying your life of material possessions really lightens the mental load as well. I am a plant hoarder so I can’t (or won’t) go minimalist in the garden but I sure could indoors. I hate clutter. Maybe I will by golly. Have a great week.

  23. Jeri, my husband and I are the ultimate weasels when it comes to saving a buck. We don’t have cable and we hardly buy books anymore. We go to the public library all the time. My husband is like you in he could live in a duffle bag. I have gotten better over the years with giving stuff away. My motto is if I haven’t worn it in a year then give it away.I want to see the world and have experiences in life rather then have the perfect clothes. I used to be like that but as I have gotten older I do not care as much. I relate to you about cultivating memories and relationships. That is much more meaningful then material goods.Great post! =)

    • Crystal, experiences and memories are the stuff that life is made of. I tell myself that all the time when I’m contemplating getting yet another new comforter, duvet, or quilt for my bed. That’s one area I go haywire in when it comes to self-control. Isn’t it odd what we make exceptions for?

  24. I’m so with you, sister! I am actually absolutely beyond excited to shovel out our basement this summer (we’ll be having a “Yard Free,” because everything will be free). I hate the accumulation of unnecessary stuff, and for many years lived with a tiny footprint. Then we bought our house. And my husband is a “keeper” — I mean that two ways. He’s a keeper, like, I’ll keep him, and that he likes to keep everything, empty Thai food containers included, even though we have a load of Tupperware. Clear your closets, clear your shelves, free your mind!

    • Laura, you hubby sounds like my grandma. I remember her makeshift Tupperware collection fondly. She would freak out if one of us threw a yogurt container away because she knew she would be able to use it… someday

  25. “Why do we need so much stuff?” Shocking that you made that comment when I’ve asked my friend’s the same question. It’s an interesting way of life that you live. Some people don’t want the material things to clutter their every day and thoughts. I give you credit for being able to live out of a bag.

    I can’t say I’m to the extent as you are, but I notice a difference living in Germany. When I had my IT job, I made very good money, and I spent my money along with sharing and saving it. My condo had nice furniture but I always decorated with things that I love or what matter to me.

    When I quit my job to live in Germany for five months, I realized how much Americans collect. We lived in a dinky flat. College dorm rooms probably looked better than our flat. But we were happy. I went back to the States realizing how much stuff we collect, and I’d say that to my friends and family. Experiencing another culture makes you either appreciate what you have or notice the clutter.

    I can’t say that I don’t buy or live out of a bag. When I moved to Germany, I sent a shipment of my things, my past and my mother’s. Some of the furniture and decor is what decorates our flat. We have a makeshift kitchen squeezed together from leftovers. It isn’t top notch but it’s home to us. We tend to spend money on travel and food.

    • Denise, the kitchens in Europe that I’ve seen here and there on HGTV are much different than ones here in the states. I can practically picture your makeshift kitchen ;)

  26. What a great post, Jeri! Made me smile so many times, thank you :)

    I am aweful at saving money, sigh. But I diligently get rid of unused clothes once a year… If I have not worn something at least once during the past year or two, I get rid of it. More space at home and more importantly, someone in need out there will have something to put on the next day…

    Congrats on finding your balance between maintain this blog, writing your books and editing projects! :)

    • Diana, the system of getting rid of something that hasn’t been work in a year is tried and true. As for finding balance with my endeavors, all I can say it that it took forever!

  27. I am afraid I am a hoarder. I hate giving anything away and end up keeping in the garage for a rainy day. I really must start to give away some of the stuff as I know that once I have gone, my kids will only throw it all on the rubbish tip.

    • Mina, a lot of people have luck just starting off by getting rid of one thing a day. I’ve always been more of a “get rid of stuff by the barrelful” type of person :)

  28. I could relate to a lot in this post. Stuff can weigh you down. Although I’ve always said and felt material stuff doesn’t matter, over the years I’ve accumulated a lot of it. My husband and I have just finished cleaning out our house of almost 20 years (with lots of storage space) in order to sell and downsize. My house is now empty of clutter and there is something freeing in that. There will be more stuff to get rid of before we’ve done and moved. My stuff will never all fit into one bag, but I hope to live more lightly than I have done.

    • Donna, I remember you mentioning that in one of your blog posts. Just today, I re-arranged my furniture and got rid of a small bag of stuff. De-cluttering can be addicting.

  29. What a wonderful post Jeri. Through the years, I have come to realize how much less I can live with. There was a direct correlation to the places I moved from and what I could fit into the places I moved to :) Close to 15 years ago, I lived in a 9000 sq ft house. My rented condo is SC is 1500 sq ft. I don’t miss a thing, except maybe my extra refrigerate/freezer so I could batch cook and freeze more. My new thing is that I have to really love something before I’ll but it…I mean be over the moon about it. It’s amazing how my mind has de-cluttered exponentially :)

    • Jacquie, I don’t even think I’ve ever set foot in a 9000 sq ft house! My three-bedroom house is only 1200 sq feet, so you’re still beating me by 300 sq ft ;)

  30. Living, and working, in a 500 square foot NYC studio enforces a limit on acquisitions. Having less stuff is good. Having helped my mom clean out my dad’s desk, I’m now digging deeper into my STUFF and getting rid of excess. Learning to let go of what you don’t need is a great deal like writing a second draft. hehehe… it always goes back to writing!

    • Candy, I bet you use a lot of great space-saving ideas. Yes, it always comes back to writing. I’ve been hacking away lines left and right this week when it comes to the third draft of my book.

  31. I spent quite a lot of time living in my car when I was younger – sometimes while traveling and other times simply because I had no money – and I definitely understand the comfort level involved with not having a lot of stuff to manage. It’s freeing, in its way. There’s certainly a lot to be said for being able to move on when the mood strikes you. But now that I don’t travel so often, I also appreciate not having to worry about keeping my belongings to a minimum anymore. If all I had was a bag, where would I keep all my books? ;)

  32. This is why I think everyone should travel. Not just to learn to travel light, but to learn what is really essential in life. I once put all my possessions, except my clothes, into storage when I went to live with a roommate in her tiny apartment. I thought I’d get everything out after I moved again in a couple of months, but it turned into two years, and when I went to retrieve my things, I realized I hadn’t missed any of them. Who needs things, when you have the whole world in front of you!

    • Meredith, that just goes to show how little we can get by on. On both ends of my last two months, I actually liked the bit of time when most everything was in boxes and we were down to the barest essentials. Okay, I didn’t like sitting in lawn chairs, but beyond the basics, everything else in our lives really just is clutter.

  33. Hi Jeri,
    Thank you for educating us about who you are through your life in a bag experiences. I love a couple of mentions you made. Thoreau has long been one of my favorites. There is much to be said for living a life of simplicity. I have written before on what I refer to as “attendant care and concern” for everything we possess. And that brings me to the second thing that caught my attention in reading this: used-up soul. We must be careful that what we possess does not possess us. I’ve never seen a moving truck in a funeral procession. We can’t take any of it with us anyway.

    Kind Regards,
    Bill

    • Bill, what I great line: “I have never seen a moving truck in a funeral procession.” I will probably be living in an RV when it’s my time to go. Gotta travel until the very end.

  34. You remind me that I haven’t done my “Spring Cleaning” which means going through the house and identifying items for donation. After moving several times in just a few years recently, I was reminded of the benefits of owning less. An immersion Spanish class (years ago now) where I lived in one room with a Mexican family for a while also taught me how little I really need to feel fulfilled. So I appreciate your stance on belongings. We also share a love for the outdoors and our respective hubbies.

  35. Hi Jeri,

    After moving abroad, I can happily (or sadly) say that I could probably fit my life into a large suitcase and maybe one book bag. As a person who hasn’t really nested and is prepared for moving on to the next place, maybe this is common. There are some random things scattered at various relatives’ houses that may come in handy when the time comes but for the most part, my wife and I are completely mobile. It’s quite relieving, actually. My thoughts are that we really DON’T need most of the stuff we accumulate over time. It’s empowering to ditch most of those unnecessary possessions. What do you think?

    • Carl, I agree with you 100 percent. When I think about the times I was most happy in life, it’s the times I was living and working in various national parks. Maybe when I retire and am living out of an RV I will try that kind of lifestyle again.

  36. Excellent post. I try to travel as light as possible. I’m working on getting better. I’m not a big fan of possessions. I kinda have a nomad type of attitude right now. I want to move a couple times before I settle. Then I will worry about a relationship again and starting a family.

    • Jason, that’s cool that you want to move around a bit before settling down. It’s something more people would be wise to try out before getting into a big hurry to stick to one place for years on end.

  37. ***This love is so big that it envelopes my mind and travels with me. Unfettered and too big to fit inside a bag, it’s the biggest and best thing I could ever own.***

    Stunning piece.

    Yes. I agree. When I get rid of things for the Goodwill, I feel lighter. Not physically, but mentally. It’s a liberating feeling. I feel this way with words, too. Less is more.

    xx

    • Kim, yep. Less is more. I’d so much rather be attached to pets and people than pretty things.

  38. I seem to go whichever way works at the moment. I lived happily for a couple of years with no more than I could carry with me in my car, but when I have a house it tends to get filled up before I know it. I don’t think I own anything that I would actually miss if I had to leave it all behind though. Sadly I think that what I would have the hardest time doing without is my computer and other electronics.
    Oh,and it’s funny that you mention keeping things in sets of 5 because I used to always keep everything in 3s!

  39. To say that I have traveled and relocated numerous times over the past 11 years, would be an understatement. Several years ago I adapted to the simplicity lifestyle and sold nearly everything I owned. It was one of most liberating feelings I’ve ever experienced. My traveling involved a lot of flying so I sold anything that didn’t fit into my travel bags. We seem to have a great deal in common.

    • Michele, it does seem like we have a lot in common based on this post and a few others of yours I’ve read in the past as well. Cheers.

  40. I loved this piece, but I think I will only aspire to living light. I like having a base for my children to explore their interests. Whether that means blowing on a trombone or painting on big canvass. Where you and I are completely in-sync is when it comes to the love of our lives. We still dance in the living-room and dream about our next adventure.

  41. I have more closets in my current home than anyplace I’ve ever lived. So what happened? They are all filled. I will soon be downsizing and out a lot of stuff will go. My first apartment had one small closet and I made do and life went on. We basically need so little. It will be liberating to pare down my possessions.

    • Jeannette, when I do move again I am really aiming to not increase the size of the house I’ll be living in. I hate that tendency to want to fill up space with things simply because it’s there.

  42. Hi Jeri! What a beautiful story. I enjoyed reading about you living out of a bag. I, personally, could not do that I don’t think. I am the ultimate clothes horse, but I buy everything on sale if that counts. When I was single living in Chicago, I lived in a small studio apartment and had to wear a uniform to work everyday, thus I did not have the need for much. I guess when I finally got the big promotion, and could wear suits and nice clothes, I splurged. I don’t live beyond my means and have no debt. Coincidentally, we are beginning to downsize as the girls move out on their own. We are going from a big 4000 square foot house to something smaller, as soon as we find it! Then I will purge. Again, loved your story. Thanks for sharing it.

    • Laurie, I think we all deserve to splurge on the things that make us happy. Like you mentioned, you live within your means, and that counts the most :)

  43. Hi our friend! Jeri, how ironic on your post. Yes, life has been overloaded the past 3 months. Loved the thought-provoking thoughts there. We hope all is well with you :)

  44. Good post,Jeri.I am against the idea of wasting things. I mean if I do not need something, there is no point in keeping it with me. It can bring smile to a less fortunate’s face. SO DONATE :)

    • Tuhin, I tend to donate things too, but I did have a huge yard sale once and am not sure I want to do that again.

  45. I need to travel lite more. I always think well maybe I’ll need this or this might want that and pack too much. I need to learn from you.

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