You never realize how much nonsense you own until it’s time to move. And the writing is on the wall in its clearest incarnation when you are moving across seas and can only take what you can carry. No chance to shove entire drawers of odds and ends into a box and tape it up to open and discover its true contents later on. There is no later on, there is no one of these days. What you can carry you take. What doesn’t fit you must let go.
In this day and age where not even overhead space on a flight is complimentary, you must be shrewd in deciding what goes, and what stays.
This is my current dilemma.
I’m moving to France for a year, and afterwards, I have no idea where the wind will blow me. Will I move from Lyon to Paris? Will a door open across the border in Geneva? Or will I end up in Dakar? Who knows. And so I need to pack as if I am about to be come a global nomad of sorts.
I admit, this has long been a secret dream of mine. To just blow from one country to another on the wings of the freedom that holding an American passport brings. A modern day rolling stone of sorts. A MacBook toting, Canon wielding, orange penny-loafer wearing rolling stone. Ready for whatever life throws at me and determined to get my dreams whatever the consequences of seeking them may be.
But what about these everyday American essentials? Like my mini lint roller and the two-pack of refills I am yet to use. My various Hydroflasks, my bottles of perfumes that I love but never wear because i’m saving them for a special occasion that never seems to come. My row of sunglasses that I select from depending on my mood: the retro ray-bans when when I’m feeling extra chic and confident, the vintage style, slight cat eyes for when it’s time to channel my inner French girl or the every days ones that are already slightly scratched so I don’t have to worry too much about them and can toss them in any pocket or bag at will.
What will become of my variety of stationary items that come in handy each in their own regard. My watercolor paints that I use every few months to de stress, my crayons that help me to illustrate my Econ charts, or aid in stress relief. The endless pens all of varying nib sizes 0.5, 0.3, 0.7. And all the pencils from the Bic to the extra fancy one from the Japanese stationary store in San Francisco.
Don’t get me started on the miscellaneous items. Essential oils, naturopathic remedies that I’m not quite sure work, and I couldn’t tell you exactly what I am trying to treat, but all these small bottles of pills and potions were purchased at Whole Foods for an arm and a leg in moments of existential despair. These $25 here and $17 there that add up and so I NEED them to work and am determined to continue using them until I feel some positive effects. Will they fit in my carry on luggage?
My ‘piggy bank’ Chinese cat for good luck that a friend gave me years ago. My foam rollers for when I have time to waste and want to give myself a hairstyle. A different one. Where will all these things fit?
Out of everything I own, nothing is more precious than my books. So much so that when, in a moment of delicious morbid pondering I asked myself what I would do if a fire broke out in my house, I decided that I would evacuate my books and then come back to fan the flames and then see what the rental insurance company had to say for itself the following week.
My beloved books! How must I carry them all with me and tote them around the globe?
E-books don’t compare. There is nothing better than the smell of paper. What to do?
These are the decisions that I will have to make over the next 8 weeks. How to narrow down a studio of possessions into a checked bag , a carry on and a backpack.
It will be a lesson in overcoming sentimentality and truly being unattached. Stay tuned for a report on how I fare.