Back Packing is my travel background – Stuffing whatever I could carry in my Rucksack, trying not to make it too heavy because one day you might find yourself on a Hostel Floor (which is seedy, at best) throwing out half of the contents because the reality of carrying this bag for months on end is hitting you!!!!
It was my first trip – EVER!! Europe! I had never left the country before and I was travelling alone. How are you supposed to know what you’re going to need? I can’t possibly live without this – or that – how about this gadget I bought at the travel store before I left? I couldn’t possibly live without it, that’s what the salesperson said!!!
Picture This: Little Busby (yes, this is a town and yes, I grew up in it;) Girl gets off the plane overly excited, optimistic and full of adventure – quite possibly a little sheltered (wait – incredibly sheltered;) I’m at the Heathrow Airport waiting for my bag, YAY!! Oh wait, I see it, Awesome!! I excuse myself through all the people and get close to the luggage belt and grab it – I can barely pick it up!!!! I wrestle the bag like I’m a WWE Superstar – correction, not superstar just Mediocre Star (because it was not pretty) – I get it on the floor and then proceed to drag it away. ( I now realize the experience is quite comparable to handling my kids when they’ve decided to lose the ability to walk and don’t want to leave the park!!) By the time I get my backpack on, I was sweaty, tired and miserable. I knew right away something had to change. The Feeling was overwhelming BUT such an essential lesson in what you ACTUALLY need vs. what you THINK you need.
When you make the decision to just depend on the absolute essentials it is amazing how simple and freeing your life becomes! I had no idea how much pressure ‘stuff’ could put on us, it can be so consuming.
Nick and I spent a great deal of our early years travelling and we’ve become pretty good at packing and keeping it simple. BUT!!! Our life at home progressively became more complicated. We were D.I.N.K’s (Double. Income. No. Kids), Social, Super Busy with work and Struggling to have Children which is what we really wanted. We watched for years and years while everyone around us were having families (Honestly, we were always happy for our friends!!!) . On some level we were compensating and filling a void – Let’s go on a trip, let’s buy a quad, how about a Zodiac, I need this Kitchen gadget (if you know me, this is laughable;), what about this new tech thingy (that’s a word right?). I know! Why don’t we build a Giant house and the kids will come? What you don’t realize when you get the big house is that you now have to fill it – Challenge Accepted!!!! Oh ya, and you have to clean it and maintain it and it pretty much takes a lot of your time.
This last adventure in the States was really tough in the beginning and turned into such a wonderful experience by the end. We have been home for 4 months now and I feel like we have enough Perspective to talk about how it’s effected us. Bear with me and please keep in mind that this is what works for our family. We don’t judge people and how they want to live – Trust us! People’s happiness is inspired by different things, this is just our story:)
Long Story Short!! We bought a small fixer upper on the west end close to an elementary school that we like and lots of running trails (Nick’s a big fan of the cardio!!!) Our Storage Pods showed up and basically only half of our stuff fit in the house. This was shocking – to see how much we had accumulated and how little the stuff meant to us after our trip.
I went through our things like a ruthless savage – Donating and organizing (organizing is a drug for me!!) It was overwhelming but such a cleansing experience. WOW, we had SO SO much and why? Did it make our lives better? Easier? More fulfilling? Nah!!! Not even close. This was a huge Lesson for us!! STUFF DID NOT MAKE US HAPPY!!!!
Since we have downsized and simplified, life has been fantastic. We are still so very busy (but who isn’t) yet it’s less complicated. Our new home is so cozy, easy to clean and simple to stay organized (again, a drug for me;). It’s laughable to us now, after living in the trailer, at how much room we thought we needed. Don’t get me wrong, our old house was great for entertaining and we won’t be having the same types of gatherings at this new home BUT that’s a bit of the idea behind simplifying as well. We love hosting and having people over and we will miss that ability down the line, I’m sure, but for now it’s less important to entertain and Way more important to have meaningful visits with friends and family. BIGGER IS NOT BETTER FOR US!
Nick and I are the Worst at setting boundaries (ask our councillor, Jill;) but living on the road and having such precious family time has made us prioritize at home – This is one of the biggest lessons. If you say NO, the world WILL NOT end!! Who knew! Nick and I have been perpetual ‘YES’ people whether it was in our family’s best interest or not. We have a hard time disappointing people and have spent a lot of time putting our plans on the back burner! BOUNDARIES ARE SO IMPORTANT (still a work in progress;)
Kids DON’T need a lot. By the end of our trip, our kids would be happy with a box and a couple random kitchen utensils to keep them happy. Oh boy, if you happened to be parked by a puddle – Best Day Ever! Before we left we had 3 levels of toys in our house, it was ridiculous (for us). We whittled it down to one toy box that fit in the trailer. It was so difficult for me personally to do that. I felt emotional going through all the toys. “I remember when they got this, or that and they Loved this one”. Great memories BUT then I’d realize I’m having trouble getting rid of a doll that’s missing 1 leg and an eye and I’m like – Look Lady, get the ‘F’ over it!! Move on and don’t let the kids torture the poor girl anymore;) The kids played with all the toys we brought with a new fondness and never tired of them. It was really great to see. KIDS ARE SIMPLE!
We have settled into life at home! What surprises us the most is how much the kids love the actual house. The kids thank us a few times a week., its really cute. Maybe they’re just grateful it doesn’t have wheels and they don’t have to share a room anymore. So, my advise would be – push your kids to the ultimate limit in comforts and they will pretty much appreciate any upgrades;). In saying this though, the kids still ask, ‘when are we going on our next adventure and back into our ‘trailer house’? So maybe we didn’t traumatize them after all;)
We have plans to leave on our next adventure soon!! We will be heading down South again, spending more time in Texas and everywhere in-between. We will surely keep everyone in the loop and really appreciate you taking the time to read about our family!! Even if it is to help you fall asleep at night;);)