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Monday, January 9, 2012

100 Things: An update

Ever since I left the US to travel the world, I've been trying to be more conscious of how much stuff I own. As a traveler, the fewer things I have the easier it is to move from place to place.

Before I left Arizona, I had four large yard sales to get rid of my stuff & donated the leftovers to charity.

I spent just seven months in Vietnam, & when I moved to China, I found another huge pile of things to leave behind. Another layer of the onion peeled.

I spent two years in Shanghai, where I lived in a small apartment with a Chinese couple. I tried to stay aware of my stuff - to keep my belongings to a minimum. As I was packing to move to New Zealand, again I found a pile of stuff to leave behind.

It sounds like I've been whittling my possessions down to nothing. I should be getting frightfully close to the 100-thing mark at this rate, right?

Not so. When I left the US for Vietnam, I had about 350 things. I took about 350 things with me from Vietnam to China. & I packed about 350 things to bring with me to New Zealand.

After all that leaving-stuff-behind business, how could this possibly be?

Instead of a pile of books, I have a Kindle - less stuff. Meanwhile, I've acquired an assortment of clothing appropriate for all kinds of weather - more stuff. Instead of movies on DVD, I now download movies to my laptop (China's great for that) - less stuff. But I've collected a variety of SIM cards & currency from five different countries - more stuff. I haven't been reducing my possessions - I've just been exchanging it for more travel-minded things.

At least my stuff weighs less each time I move. I paid $120 over-weight fee on my first move, & $35 on my second. This time, I came in 10 kilos under weight. Small victories.

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