As I prepare for a life largely guided by wandering, I reflect on my time living out of a backpack abroad.
In order to live out of a backpack, a car, a hostel room, a tent, or whatever our wandering hearts may choose, we need to let go. In this particular instance, of our physical belongings.
I've never claimed the title "minimalist" for myself. Nor do I feel my home has ever truly reflected a minimalist lifestyle. I love my belongings; my paintings, candles and books. I also own more dresses than I could wear in a week...total guilty pleasure.
However, time and time again I have been praised for my ability to let go. My mother - who organizes peoples homes for a living and is well versed in the art of letting go - is always surprised by my ease relinquish objects (she even finds herself keeping things I've sent away). Moreover, I have a good friend who recently asked me for my advise on minimizing the possessions she owns.
So, while I may not claim the title minimalist, apparently I reflect it.
And the more I think about it, the more it fits.
One of my favorite parts of traveling through Europe was being unburdened by materials. I loved having a handful of outfits, three pairs of shoes and virtually no beauty products. I carried around one book and my journal for entertainment. Additionally, I had a lock, headlamp, water bottle and charger. But that was about it.
I left items behind at every turn; sweaters when it got too hot, shoes when I realized they no longer served me, a razor, nail polish, a hat I didn't love. Every time I felt relief, rather than sadness about my loss.
As I let go of the materials I thought defined me, I began to truly understand myself. I let my armpits grow hairy and I was able to embrace my womanhood. I left my nail polish behind and discovered the strength of my hands to scramble up mountains. With each item I let go, I sunk deeper into myself.
As I make this transition into a life guided by wandering I feel that same relief as I let go of my drawer full of candles, the furniture I have collected over the years, and extra lotions and soaps.
So, while I do not think my belongings represent those of a minimalist quite yet, I am choosing to embrace the title. After all I'll get there and, letting go of my belongings ignites joy within me.
I write this post, not to force you to abandon all your belongings, but to encourage you to let go of the things that hold you back. May they be your physical belongings, your fear and doubts, your unanswered questions, your insufferable job, or your "should's" (see last Feminist Friday Post), LET THEM GO. Free yourself, so that you may wander boldly!