Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Rich life with less stuff

I've always preferred to spend my money on doing things and seeing things than having things. While living in Chamonix this lifestyle was connected with owning as little as possible, just things you can carry in your backpack. But Chamonix was not the end - followed by Iceland, Scandinavia, Balkans and now again France, I still continue to carry my little home with me. I can't take a house on my trip so I take my home and this home is the content of Quechua Forclaz 40.

More than two years ago I moved to my new room and immediately started arranging it my way. Shelves quickly became full with favorite books, albums with art, souvenirs from my trips, walls adorned with hitchhiking signs...

I thought this would always be my place to return and that’s why I wanted to make it so cozy, but recently I realize more and more that I won't to do this as often as I thought I would. As you don’t make a place where you only stay for one night look like "yours," so I don’t make a place I where I stay for just a month during the year (with breaks) look like all my life is gathered there.

Honestly, I somehow get used to places, people and things. I leave a part of myself in them and believe that my possessions remember part of my life for me, and if they don’t they are a good supplement of it. There are books that always offered me consolation in difficult moments in my life, helped me give up my worst addictions. There are postcards that remind me I've seen the pretties of the world in the east and in the west. There are weather-beaten maps that carry me back to places and people met on the trails. So many objects backed up with stories and emotions.

But what if you move so often, if sedentary life is not your cup of tea and lingering in one place for too long makes you itchy? My decision was: get rid of whatever I won't be able to carry with me or don't need anymore. Tidy up my room and at the same time, my life.

While tidying up I came to a conclusion that surprisingly many things I have hoarded over the years don’t have any value for me. Why have they been here at all for so long? Clothes too fancy for my lifestyle, some disgusting rags I had no idea what they were doing in my wardrobe, travel guidebooks I never looked at because I prefer to explore a place when I get there instead of drinking up all the knowledge before arrival, books I read just once and never came back to, encyclopedias that slowly became less useful because Internet is always at hand.

I was most surprised when I opened some boxes I never had a look at since moving. I never wanted to get rid of them, always saying "I might need it later." And what? I found old letters, CDs I listened to when I was 13 years old, notebooks from high school and other scraps, some mascots, crayons, games. Things that haven't served me for years! Part of it went straight to the trash. Part of it was given to kids in my family.

Getting rid of books was most difficult. Starting from my childhood, books have always been one of most important parts of my life, most treasured possessions. I'm a voracious reader, 5-6 books in a month is something normal for me. While my friends came back from holidays in the USA with new dresses, trousers, purses, shoes, mobiles, I came back with tons of books. But for this there was also a solution.

If I don't need something anymore, why shouldn't other person be happy with this? I thought about people in my life who would put my items to a good use once again. And now not only I benefit, because every thing less is one burden less, but also my friends who are constantly craving for something to read or want to practise their English.

Gifts for Thierry. Also last chance to have a peek at them before I finally abandon them at the Provençal countryside.

With my 6 kilo I took for this trip, I know I have everything I need at the moment. And talking about things in life that can't be bought, which money could give you as much happiness as...

...flowers...

...and cards from Jehane...

...seeing how Jehane and Anaïs learn from me.

...and eating sweet figs picked from the tree, lazying on a hammock, staring at the starry sky, climbing hills and admiring the view, cooking dinner for the entire family, being able to communicate more and more in French, becoming a better driver, waiting impatiently until you see a good friend after over 1,5 year. And there's much more to mention!

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