So it’s been a long silence on my end but that’s because a LOT has transpired in my life since my last post.
I wrapped up in Moscow, took a brief hiatus in Ukraine and Turkey before completely returning to reality, relocated back to USA, and just started a four-month job assignment in the concrete grid also known as Manhattan.
Before moving back to Manhattan (it was my home back in my grad school days), I made a brief pit stop in Chicago, home to a climate controlled storage unit where all my life’s possessions are collecting dust. The plan was to revisit the things I had parted with for three months while in Russia and figure out what I couldn’t live without as I transitioned back to a relatively normal life on this side of the Atlantic. When I opened the shutters to my storage unit and rummaged through various cartons and boxes, I ooh’ed and aah’ed as I chanced upon yet another piece of jewellery or pumps I had forgotten I owned. When I was packing up a box of things that I wanted to release from the confines of my storage unit and incorporate back into my everyday routine, I felt the familiar weight of sadness at having to part with things that didn’t make the cut.
It happens to me every time I pack- whether it’s for a short or long trip- a feeling of anxiety at the thought of parting with some of my things. I laugh it off by explaining that I hate making small decisions, and what is packing if not a string of small, seemingly inconsequential decisions. But it is more than that. Each item inside that storage unit has a memory attached to it. Whether it’s the dining table and curtains that decorated the room where I hosted my first ever grown-up dinner party, or the dress I wore on a Vegas trip with all my girlfriends, or just a candle holder that used to sit on my coffee table, each item in there represents something to me. I have a very eclectic sense of fashion and my favorite outfits are those I put together with two seemingly random and unmatched pieces of clothing. A BCBG skirt with a Forever 21 top and cuff from a vintage store…I revel into the creative process and satisfaction of creating new flairs to old garments. However, this type of creative outfit mixology requires the kind of closet that Mr. Big built for Carrie in their to-be Manhattan pent house. That closet is now my 7 X 10 storage unit and I have been forced to cut down to my essentials like work clothes and jackets, that will stand the test of location and weather elements.
It hardly seems like a crisis and I can almost hear my brother saying, “Stop being such a girl about it…you have way too much stuff anyway.” And he is probably right. But when you put this in the context of the decisions that come to define your life and the tradeoffs it necessitates, you realize the importance of thinking it through. When you take a job that requires a lot of traveling, you are asked, “Do you mind a job that requires70% traveling?” And you would say, “Nope, that sounds awesome!” But if someone asked you, “Would you mind spending 70% of your life for the forseeable future without surrounding yourself with the things and memories you love?”…well that might make you think harder.
That’s the thing about choosing a lifestyle that might require you to be a nomad and travel light…you do it because you love traveling and experiencing new things, but you are likely giving up something else you love. When I am backpacking through a village in Northern India, I might have little need for the things in my storage unit, but sometimes in my idle time, I think back to the glass-top side table that used to sit in the living room in my Chicago apartment with a stack of my favorite books and jasmine scented incense sticks, right below a collage of my favorite travel places in the world: the sights and smells evoked by that piece of furniture gave me a feeling of being home. And who doesn’t love jasmine.