What We Own … Now that we are Traveling

March 13, 2013 in Simple Living Travel by Lorilee Lippincott

minimalist - organization - simple living - what we ownImage: Phaitoon FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Just over a month ago I posted about what we owned as a minimalist (or simple living) family.

But a lot has changed in the last month.

Ever since we first started simplifying we dreamed of being able to live out of a backpack and travel…

…and just over 2 years since we started de-cluttering and making intentional changes it is now a reality!  We are in China and this post is about what we brought with us.

… we aren’t technically living out of backpacks… suitcases, but the idea is the same.

Here is what we brought with us and what we are storing…

My goal for this post was to have a cute little picture of our family at the airport with our bags.  However, the reality of traveling happened and the camera was never pulled out.

We decided we wanted to move to China late December and really jumped into the paper work.  … coming to China is not easy… all kinds of paperwork sent over the oceans and medical tests to be done and just general government delays (governments are so similar all over the world :))

So, even though we knew we wanted to come to China we really couldn’t start packing or selling anything until we got our visa’s approved.

…. we finally got visa’s 12 days before we were scheduled to fly.

12 days turned us from minimalists in our 1-bedroom apartment to being officially ‘backpack’ travelers.

We sold all my husbands construction gear and both vehicles (we had to drive a rental car till we left).  We sold our table and some other pieces of furniture.  We packed up our China dishes and a few other memory things.  Then we donated the rest of our household goods 1 day before we left.

What we have with us:

  • 2 suitcases
  • 4 carry on (small) suitcases
  • computer bag
  • 2 kids backpacks
  • Bryon’s camera bag

We have current sized clothes for winter and spring and a few larger clothes for the kids for next winter.  We have homeschooling stuff, blogging stuff, photography equipment and some books for teaching English.  We have some kids toys and books.  We brought some medical stuff and vitamins.  We also brought the kids quilts that grandma made for them.  Since we were moving into a furnished apartment, here in China, we didn’t need anything else.

What we stored:

  • A few plastic tubs of memory items
  • Our china dishes
  • Camping tent and sleeping bags
  • Our electric piano
  • All our old paperwork for taxes we need to hang onto

I don’t remember when I have had so little belongings to my name.

This definitely would be considered extreme for minimalism but I have to say that we love it!.

This minimalist journey is personal to us and would be different for everyone.  But since this is me sharing our story, I tell you about how it works or us.

Going from ‘normal’ family belongings down to a few bags has been a journey but it has been incredibly freeing.  I do own things that I value, but it is nice to realize that it is only a few things.  I think things, even if they aren’t in sight, hold a place in our head and weigh us down.  We worry about them, even if we don’t realize it.

Are they safe? Are they insured? Are they organized? Can I find what I need? Do I still have that item?

Things are such a part of our life that it is hard to picture our life without them.  However, now that we own very little things (and lots of these things will probably not last past our year in China to come back with us) we still have very full lives.

We are a family, we love each other, we play together, the kids still fight, I still sit on Facebook in the evening and then talk to Bryon when the lights are out about fears and challenges.  We still struggle with thinking up things to cook for lunch… especially things the kids will eat.  We teach our kids to do chores and love watching them run through and explore the world around them.

We have goals, dreams, stress, struggles, humor, and plugged toilets.  … life is amazingly normal even without our things.

As far as the big things, life isn’t harder or easier –  the big things are still the same.

It is the small things that are less in the way – less shopping, less cleaning, less organizing, less worrying, less clinging to items of little value.

Thanks so much for reading!