The Packing Plunge

Not all good things are encased by other good things. Unfortunately for me, that’s usually the case. Essentially picking up and moving to the other side of the world is a good thing, right? No one ever regrets something as adventurous and life changing as jumping into the unknown, head first.

What bothers me, however, is that I don’t get to the jump off point by the best, easiest or even noblest of paths. In the past, I’ve had to scratch my way out of situations in order to survive. I was finally in a situation where I didn’t need to do that this time. All I needed to do was stick to the plan (the savings plan) and everything would have worked out ideally. A few months into planning for this trip and I got off track and then veered so severely off track that my only option was to abandon the adult, move-across-the-world-responsibly track and just do anything possible to make sure that I was still able to go.

My shoebox apartment seemed so easy to disassemble and sell/donate/pack/store until I started the process. I have moved myself over a dozen times in my adult life and it’s always the same – a complete breakdown and cataloging of my life to date. Which for some reason is always extremely sad and frustrating. I pay to live alone, in a room full of my stuff and then when I go through said stuff I get annoyed that I always feel like I don’t have what I want, yet somehow filled the space with things I thought I once wanted.

It’s frustrating as a 29 year old who walks around believing she has her shit together. Then she starts to literally take it all apart, and she realizes it was never together, just a mere veneer to fool – herself. That is a pretty pernicious mirage to chase and discover its empty reality.

I spend a lot of time on trying to figure out how to be a better me, yet I don’t think I put the information to use. Just collecting cobwebs in my brain, knowing it is possible to change, but never actually implementing those changes. I feel like I’ve been here before, you see.

The roots of our habits run deep. Where did I learn that not doing something the right way was ever okay? I know that when I finally touch Aussie ground it will not matter how I got there because I will have a clean slate and complete freedom. What I want to stop is this cycle of making a big change, traveling, coming back to the US and wanting to settle down again, so I start to collect things.  Then when I move again I have to fight really, really hard to free myself from the drowning tether of those things.

My hope for this trip {“Would we call this a trip? You moving to another country for a year?” Yes.} is to shed a skin, learn something new about the world, myself and myself in the world. I want to open up my heart and my mind and experience the beauty that is out there. I have done it before and it is so hard to live like that when you’re in a rut or routine.

This past summer I got a tattoo. My 2nd tattoo. My first tattoo I got 10 years ago. All of a sudden this summer when I decided to get my WHV for Australia I wanted to open up the part of me I found when I traveled through Europe for 5 months. I was sitting at a hostel in Barcelona, alone and depressed because I was leaving Barca after 5 weeks of an amazing journey of really high highs and really low lows there and scribbled on the wall was “Viva La Vida Libre” which means Live the Free Life. That became my mantra, because no matter what my emotions were I had broken out of my bubble.

So when I needed a change this summer I got Viva La Vida Libre tattooed on my bicep. I am so hard on myself, often calling my arms fat because of the unflattering jiggle underneath them. However, I love the placement of the tattoo because I can see it, everyday – to remind myself of where I’ve been and where I want to go. I told myself I would get that tattoo when I finally got the skinny, fat free arms of my dreams. Then I decided “fuck that” and got the tattoo the next day. My thinking was I can’t always wait to be the person I want to be. Sometimes you just have to act like the person you want to be until you become it, for real.

So sitting on my bed this afternoon, overwhelmed and surrounded by all this stuff that I own and want, and all the stuff that I own and don’t want I was at a complete and utter loss with what to do. So I packed boxes of stuff I knew I would want later in my life and mailed them to my brother so he can store them for me until I return from my adventure.

Now, at a quarter to one in the morning the rest of the stuff still here is the stuff that will either fit in my suitcase or be given to goodwill. With my books, journals, photos, travel boxes and last mementos from my father mailed away the only things remaining are just those – things. Things I’ve bought once and can surely buy again.

Once I walk out of this apartment for the very last time and close the door behind me, it will be just me, a backpack and a dream. From right now, in the thick of it – with clothes and papers, trash and wasted priorities thrown about it seems impossible. The flicker of relief is knowing that no matter how stressful and nervous-breakdown-tempting packing is, it will eventually end and when it does I will be delivered to the doorstep of burden-less opportunity. Where everything is possible and I will be free to be whichever me I packed in my backpack.


One thought on “The Packing Plunge

  1. I’m reading this as I pack up my apartment of 14 years – after a life of collecting beautiful things for the last 30 years (yea, long time). The struggle is giving up things I love though like you, I prefer freedom and have realized holding on to ‘stuff’ keeps me tethered to the past, keeping me from my future. Sorting through pics of 57 years of living, I was shocked at how beautiful I was when I felt so ugly – arm width be damned – something to keep in mind when you (and I) look in the mirror every day. And know anyone looking for furniture in NYC?

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