As we prepared for our trip on the road we got rid of most of our STUFF. We sold some of it, we gave away some of it, we put a little in storage. We threw away more than we thought we would. It turns out that a lot of our stuff that we thought was worth keeping was worthless to everyone else. Go figure.
We had a room in our house called the crap room for crying out loud. A room full of stuff that we acknowledged was crap. Not a storage room, a crap room. Why do we need so much stuff as people? I believe that humanities inclination is to fill a space if you have it. Does it come from the cavemen that never had what they needed? Are we driven by a base need to keep stuff and accumulate things just in case we need it? I don’t have the answers but I have a lot of questions about our need to accumulate.
I can say this from our experience. As you get rid of stuff you feel a weight lifted off of you. It feels like you are slowly becoming more and more free. It is also addicting. When we left on the trip, I felt like we had the minimal amount of stuff we could survive off of. Since then, we have slowly been ditching more and more stuff as we realize we don’t need it and we have a list of even more stuff that we are going to put in storage when we travel back through Utah.
I hope that I learn from this experience. I hope that when I am not a nomad, I can realize that I don’t need to fill my house. I hope my kids learn early in their lives from this trip that we can be happy and comfortable without a lot of stuff. I worry that when I live in a house again I will go back to filling it up. Even now, I have a strong desire to go on sierratradingpost.com and buy every merino wool shirt and jacket that I find. My mind is right now tricking me into thinking that I NEED a merino wool hoodie.
Will we learn from this? I think we will. I would be surprised if we go back to having a house as big as we did and filling it up. It feels too good to be free from so many possessions. One of my favorite books is called The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor. The book talks about the things that make us happy. It talks about the fact that possessions do not correlate very well to happiness. Experiences and relationships do correlate to happiness. Watch his Ted talk here. I have found that the best thing about our trip are the people we have had a chance to meet and spend time with. Family in Idaho, new friends in Montana, old neighbors in Utah, families we have camped with, and reuniting with people we haven’t seen for years.
It’s all about the people, not about the stuff.