My Travel Stories

Leaving It All Behind

leaving, camera
How packing for a year in china helped me realize my travel goals

I have read countless blogs about travelers who sold all their possessions to travel the world. Long have I envied their freedom. This is exactly what I always pictured for myself. I wanted all of my things to fit in just one suitcase so I could pack my whole life within a few minutes and hit the road.  I wish I could say that I sold everything I owned to fund my travels and never looked back.  As it turns out, that is far from my reality.

Everything happened so quickly. Within one week I had gone from trying to find an apartment in Southern Ontario to preparing for a move to Southern China. Talk about a whirlwind! With  deadlines for my work visa fast approaching, I barely had time to think about what I was going to do with all my belongings.  Do I sell it? Do I store it?

Evergreen Garden, Haikou, China
Near Evergreen Garden, Haikou, China
What do i do with all my things?!

With regular spring cleaning I have tried to get rid of stuff that I don’t need, so everything I have must be essential, right? In my head I was going through all the stuff I owned and deciding if I will actually use it in the next year. There’s my books, board games, camping equipment, Christmas decorations, favourite mugs… things I use regularly at home. When it came down to it though, most of these things would be more of an inconvenience to travel with. Then I thought maybe this was my chance to declutter my life and rid myself of useless material possessions!

I couldn’t do it. I knew saying goodbye to loved ones would be hard, but I did not anticipate the attachment that I started feeling towards my stuff. Everything seemed to have sentimental value. I had to find a way to keep everything. Lucky for me, I had friends and family that could house my things, so I didn’t have to worry about paying for storage. It was a huge relief knowing it will all be there when I return.

Can i be world traveler and still have a home?

I had written a whole article about the anxiety I had over being separated from my belongings. I thought that my attachment to it meant that I over-valued material things. As I edited the blog I soon realized that the real issue was never about my stuff. My real conflict was choosing between life as nomad on the road or building a life in Canada. I had envisioned the expat life, but I knew deep down that I planned on “settling down” at some point. There are so many places I want to travel and explore, but if I’m being honest with myself I know it won’t be year-round venture.

Blyde River Canyon, South Africa
At the Edge – Blyde River Canyon, South Africa

I was pressuring myself to get rid of everything to be a true nomad, but it just wasn’t practical for me. There’s so many everyday things you need when you have a home that aren’t necessary for life on the road. Sure I could buy it all again, but from an environmental perspective it is much better that I reuse the things that I already own instead of wasting resources to replace it all later.

My dream of living out of a suitcase is probably not realistic. I’ve had to re-evaluate my travel goals and reassure myself that I can pursue long-term travel without being homeless. A few months at home, a few months away… I think it can work. I can have my cake and eat it too.


2 thoughts on “Leaving It All Behind”

  1. Terrie says:

    You can have your cake and eat it too… and that cake shall be rich and chocolate and divine! Enjoy each and every bite with no regrets, my love, you deserve it.

    1. admin says:

      Mmmmmm, cake. Thank you! <3

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