The past many months have been a marvelous adventure. But here’s the thing about adventures: Unless you want to spend the entire time being a miserable pack horse, you have to travel light.
In the years leading up to our time in France, I began to fancy myself as something of a minimalist. I got rid of a lot of junk. A LOT OF JUNK. My house became very tidy and easy to clean. I tried to create a capsule wardrobe. (If you’ve never heard of a capsule wardrobe, check this out.) And I generally tried to simplify my life and live with less.
I have come to realize that this shedding process was absolutely essential to making the France trip happen. I left the United States with a small carry-on-sized suitcase, a backpack, and a toiletry bag. Every item I packed was very carefully considered. Beyond that, the items we left behind as a family had to fit in a storage unit. In order to make room in my life for experiences, I had to shed the weight of a lot of things–mostly physical objects.
People tell me a lot that they want to do something like what we are doing someday. As more companies move toward remote work, I think that more people definitely could if they truly want to. But if I’m being honest, figuring out the job, the finances, and the travel logistics was the easy part. The hard part is the shedding. What’s hard is all the big and little things that have to be released to get from point A to point B. The longer you plan to be away, the more shedding you will need to do.
And it’s not just things. While my husband’s job was the crucial keystone that made this entire thing happen, my job was not portable and had to be left behind. Hardest of all was leaving our sweet little dog Cooper behind (so grateful he has been living his best life in the care of wonderful friends).
I will be cuddling with Cooper again very soon. And I will get most of my stuff back. I will find a new job. We sold our house and our car before we left–I will not be riding a bike and living in a tent. We will buy a different car and move into a new house when we return. Knowing all of this, I still say the hardest part is the shedding.
We get very attached to things. We get very attached to the way our life is–to its rhythms and comforts. Inertia is easy. Change is hard. Adventuring is disruptive. But sometimes, a big disruption is exactly what you need.