Packing up my life and preparing for life on the road has forced me to think about what physical, material possessions I really need to keep and what else is just clutter, taking up unnecessary space in my apartment and my life.
Aside from a week’s worth of clothes, my laptop, my camera equipment, my kindle, and my journals, there really isn’t much that I need to thrive on the road. My apartment full of stuff is simply full of clutter, junk that had a temporary purpose but no longer needs to be a part of my life.
As I sort through my possessions and take stock of what I want to keep, sell, or throw away, it’s easy to identify my prized possessions. I don’t buy souvenirs when I travel, but instead hold on to tidbits that I acquire at each stop of my journey. Much of this stuff appears worthless to the casual onlooker, but serve as a tangible reminder of some of the best memories of my life:
- The yellow sarong my best friend Favorite Smol T picked out for me one day on the beach in Phuket on the last full day of our Thailand adventure together.
- A tattered map of Split, Croatia, reminiscent of an insane few weeks that all began with this piece of paper.
- The ticket from the 8:00am train that I missed because I was drunk on life, laying on a rocky beach watching the sun come up over the Adriatic, knowing that there was no place I’d rather be than exactly where I was in that moment.
- The boarding pass from my flight to London, en route to Cambridge and a whirlwind of a summer.
- Wristbands from Brussels, Prague, Miami – a reminder of the unforgettable nights with the unforgettable people I met along the way.
- The journals I used to record my favorite details about the people and places I encountered on the journey.
- The giant purple shirt that I wear to sleep in every night and sometimes just when I’m feeling blue, because it reminds me of the pure, unadulterated joy that awaits me once I get back on the road.
Everything else pales in comparison to the sentimental value these items hold. After all, it is just stuff. It seems silly to have an emotional attachment to stuff, yet this process of detaching myself from the rest of my material belongings has been much harder than I expected.
What I did not expect was that this process would extend far beyond simply the clearing of physical clutter in my life. Over the past few months, it has extended itself into the clearing of emotional clutter as well. The process of clearing my life of anything that no longer serves me has been incredibly cathartic, and has granted me far more clarity than I had ever hoped to achieve. By removing everything that does not bring joy or add value to my life, I can truly get closure on my time here in DC.
The thought of beginning a new life in Chicago and beyond with a completely clean slate is exhilarating. I’m leaving behind the majority of my material belongings when I leave in a few short weeks, but I’m looking forward to all of the prized possessions I have yet to acquire – tokens of my best memories that have not yet happened.
Hanna (Bubu Backpacks)
P.S. – If you’d like to follow my adventures in real-time, please follow me on Instagram and Twitter @bubu_backpacks.