Tag Archives: possessions

Finding Our Balance

It has been awhile since I have written. Time always brings change and the last two months have been no exception. As the dust settles it’s easier to have perspective.

We drove out of Mexico in late December and headed for our old home of Colorado. We had reserved a VRBO rental in downtown Denver, and have lived there since we arrived. We now own a condo in the Spire building — a highrise in the heart of the 16th Street Mall area. This will be the home base from which we will be “making tracks” in the future. We move into the condo in a week or two once the floors have been redone.

After having lived for two years with only the possessions that fit in our Chevy Blazer, the tasks of the next few weeks seem surreal. It seems foreign, but we have purchased a couch, bed frame, and mattress. We will be flying soon to visit the storage space in Chicago we filled in February of 2013 before leaving to spend most of the year in San Miguel de Allende. I fully expect it to feel like opening somebody else’s time capsule. What are all these items? What would anyone possibly need them for? What here could actually enrich someone’s life vs. what is clutter and distraction? That’s what I expect to be asking myself when the door rolls up.

We will be furnishing the condo to be able to rent out as a monthly corporate furnished apartment, but want to stay true to the minimalist principles we’ve come to enjoy. Of course a couple flat screen TVs, a compact stereo, and some kitchen items will make the trip back west with us. However, with the condo being a tad over 900 square feet, much from our previous lives will be (happily) left behind. I’m sure some of what does come with us will end up on EBay. Then we can settle in, spit and polish, and start the process of advertising for renters. The adventure of getting out and hitting the road again begins when we have paying tenants. We welcome the idea of the unpredictability of what lies ahead.

I do miss Mexico already. I miss the warmth and friendliness of the weather, and of the people. too. I miss the pace of each day and how it feels removed from the ticking of a clock, and how “manana” doesn’t mean tomorrow…..it just means not today. I miss that even the roosters crow on and off all day, when they want, and not just at dawn. I miss the joyousness of the culture and the day-to-day activity in and around the Centro and Jardin.

We will get back there. We will explore other places too……probably many more and more often, even if for shorter trips. The reality is that if we are going to spend significant time in the States each year this move makes a lot of sense. Months of furnished rentals in the States are expensive. Months of a rental in Mexico and many other destinations……not so much. This year will be about both adventure and stability — and finding the balance.

Worry and Waste

July is in the rearview mirror. It’s my first post in August, and last month is a reminder of how easy it is to become distracted and lose your ability to be present in the moment. The bump on my tongue that Traci named “Igor” ended up being removed in Seattle and biopsied as benign. Now it’s just a memory (and a small fading scar). Based on my  history the chances of it having been anything more serious were incredibly small. My regret is that reality didn’t stop me from the only thing that would allow Igor the power to derail me from being present and experiencing each day with consciousness. I worried. I worried steadily.

Mark Twain famously said “I have been through some terrible things in my life. Some of which actually happened”.  It’s important to be responsible, and it’s important to take control of that which we can. Being aware and proactive is essential to your well being. Worry isn’t….and serves no purpose. The lesson of July is to save the worry for what is, and not what might be. If the worry is taking the front seat you only experience the latter while the former slips by, and there’s no regaining it.

It’s good to be present again. The traveling menagerie is in Denver now and soon we will push across the plains to visit family in Illinois and Wisconsin. Four or five fall/winter months back in San Miguel de Allende are marked on the calendar and the gentle rhythm of the days (not to mention the joyous ring of mariachi music from the jardin) are starting to whisper in my ear.

Randy.

Traveling Light. Detach and Embrace.

We will be leaving Lincoln City, Oregon the day after tomorrow and we’ll have been here two weeks. We left behind our rental winter home on the coast of Baja Mexico on May15th.  This has been the first place since then where we’ve settled in for more than 6 days. On the first day here we unloaded from the Blazer only what we take out when we stop for a night in a hotel on the road. That means our carry on bags with a couple changes of casual clothes with exercise dvds and toiletry kits, one small bag and one backpack holding valuables and electronics, litter box, the cats and their food pack…….that’s it.

Over the day or two after I pulled out the rest of our belongings from the vehicle that is our rolling home. That was mine and Traci’s duffle bags (1 each) with other clothes, a small box of kitchen supplies with canned and dry foods (and coffee…the one item we still buy in enough bulk to warrant a stop at Costco) and a small bag with laundry supplies. With that, the Blazer was pretty much empty and it was a reminder of how light we travel.

There was a time when we first contemplated this lifestyle (from a conventionally stocked 2 person 2 car home) that we wondered “how could we live without all of our stuff?”. Eventually it became “what do we DO with all this stuff?”. We sold or donated most of our possessions (including a car, all furniture, etc.). Admittedly there is still a storage space in the suburbs of Chicago with our padlock on it that houses a couple flat screens, clothes, a stereo, kitchen items, bedding, and I don’t know what else. We don’t really miss any of it. It’s just stuff.

Being detached from their “things” is a very unsettling idea for most people. It’s too easy in the current culture to attach your emotions and even your own sense of self to what you do and what you have. In fact that’s the norm. But none of that is who you are.

This lifestyle isn’t for everyone, and someday we will probably want a home base again where we hunker down for a part of any given year and rent that home out for the majority of the time. Then we can lose the storage space. Until then we are loving the freedom of roaming, the sights we see, and the experiences it allows……detached from all but the most basic of our “stuff”.

On detachment, Ali Ibn Abi Talib said “detachment is not that you should own nothing, but that nothing should own you”. Centuries later Albert Camus famously said ” And never have I felt so deeply at one and the same time so detached from myself and so present in the world” Detached from a house of possessions and present where we are in the world, we look forward to Wednesday morning. We’ll load everything (and everybody) in the Blazer and in 5 minutes time we’ll head north, ready to embrace the wonders that lie around the next corner.

Randy

 

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