We only recently made the firm decision to alter our life as we knew it, quit our 9-5 jobs, start a blog and travel. Even in these early phases we’ve had our ups and downs. We’re sure once we are on the road we will experience a new set of difficulties, probably ones that are much more challenging, as well as a whole new range of learning experiences and enjoyments. What we’ve learned from this process so far is that this is a time of personal growth, a time where we are able to learn more about ourselves as individuals and as a couple, and that whatever struggles we face, no matter big or small, we can overcome them with perseverance, communication and simply, each other.
Throughout the process of packing up, selling off and heading out, we’ve noticed there have been a few major lessons amongst the many things we’ve learned so far.
Packing up and selling your possessions in order to live minimally is extremely challenging and emotional but in the end, it is a liberating experience. It is emotionally straining to get rid of the stuff you have acquired and it is ridiculous how quickly stuff accumulates. We found a variety of methods to sell, donate or give away our stuff and each one presented it’s own set of challenges as well as benefits. For example, garage sales are dreadful and neither of us enjoy displaying our possessions for strangers to handle and critique before engaging you in a fight to the penny that hammers home the disconcerting reality that the items you possess often hold little to no real value to anyone but yourself. We didn’t like having garage sales and yet we held two, because although it was challenging for us, we knew it was an important step not only to minimize our possessions but also to learn a lesson about stepping outside our boxes and working hard for something we want, no matter the tangible reward at the end. By close of garage sale #2 we realized that in overcoming our dislike, we’ve learned to actually value garage sales and see them in a more positive light. In the end, we feel lighter and freer, even if we sometimes think about that rice cooker we no longer own or that extra computer mouse we sold.
We found that through every method we used to dispose, donate or sell our stuff, we benefited and learned something in the long run. Minimizing in general is great not only for the life lessons we’ve learned about the temporary happiness provided by material things but also how unburdening it is to eliminate the clutter and the accumulation. For that alone, we have benefited immensely from this entire process and learned a great deal about ourselves.
There is more support out there than you realize. There seems to be a tendency, as humans, to feel like we must rely on solely ourselves to survive. We’ve learned over the past several months that we have an enormous network of support that we never could have imagined or hoped. Throughout the process, more and more people have added their support. From complete strangers we met at the garage sales we mentioned above, to long-since friends from times past, to close friends and family, people seem to genuinely want to help in whatever way they can. This support is encouragement and motivation for us both and we’ve been fortunate to have that support come by way of: help with networking, places to stay, advice on finances, places to store our remaining belongings and just general words of encouragement. The most important thing we learned to keep in mind is that, as a couple, we must continue to be eachothers’ biggest support throughout this journey.
It’s difficult to leave friends and family knowing you will be missing milestones, but it’s comforting that technology affords us the ability to communicate in many different ways, anytime and virtually anyplace. One of the items on our cons list when we were making the decision to travel full-time was that we would be leaving friends and family. This was especially difficult when we considered the oldest and youngest members of our family (and of course those people in between!). We didn’t want to miss out on time we could spend with those older and we were sad to know we would miss the babies’ and children’s’ milestones as they grow. What we found to balance this was the knowledge that the ways of communication nowadays is almost unlimited. We may not be present in person but everyone we love is only a phone call, email, or videochat away. Once we started looking for ways we could talk to our loved ones, we found there are tons! We’re still looking for the best options as we’ve found some of the methods we’ve tested so far can be a bit glitch-y so comment and let us know what you’ve found to work best for overseas communication!
Venturing into the unknown is absolutely terrifying and at the same time, absolutely exhilarating!! We happened to start off with terrified. There we were, no longer employed, no longer salaried full-time workers with medical and dental benefits and we were going to put all of our time, energy and money into travelling the world and cross our fingers that people will actually want to read what we have to write and enjoy looking at the photos we take. And then we realized, wait a minute, we’re no longer full-time employees and instead are putting all our time, energy and money into travelling the world!! Sure the future is an unknown but it means the possibilities are endless and that prospect is as exciting as it is frightening.
All of the above: the minimizing of possessions, the missing of major milestones, the unknown and yes, even the support can cause stress and strong emotions. We have definitely been overwhelmed at times but we are learning to manage these better and better as time comes close for us to leave. We are following our dreams and venturing to see the world and we’ve never felt so alive. If you take anything from what we’ve learned so far we hope it’s that it’s not easy to follow your heart and your dreams and make a major life change, whatever that may be for you, but that in taking that leap you expose yourself to endless opportunities to learn about yourself and grow. We’ve only just taken that leap ourselves and we can’t wait to see where it takes us.
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