The Enjoyment of Losing Stuff

April 27th, 2012

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Losing stuff is a fine way to go about life. It is often the only way we can realize what is actually important. I tend not to lose or misplace things, but that is mostly due to how angry I get at myself when it does happen. Keeping my wallet, keys, and phone in one designated spot may also be a bit of undiagnosed OCD (though I’m told by real sufferers that it’s actually CDO, in alphabetical order).


For anyone who has ever smelled smoke and not been able to locate the fire knows the feeling. That sinking gut feeling that things may get a lot worse. When I lived in the San Diego warehouse, I lived next to a scrap yard. I was there, digging about the old doors and window frames when I caught the delicate and charming aroma of burning mattresses. Of course at the time I had no idea what the fire was feasting upon, but looking up to the sky I knew it was a smokey treat. My legs intuitively sprinted to the warehouse, my chest bursting with that low sinking feeling that everything you own is gone.

 

But as my brain caught up to my pounding heart, I realized that there was nothing in the warehouse that couldn’t be replaced. I owned nothing that actually mattered, and suddenly I realized I was free. Well figuratively. In truth, I had no renters insurance and my student loans weren’t locked inside, ready to be burned up and forgotten. So there would be the annoyance of replacing my passport and things, and having to buy new clothes and other junk. And of course the student loans will always be there. But other than that, losing stuff isn’t that big of a deal.

 

Starting fresh has its benefits. I’m always amazed when I see a new Facebook blast go out about losing a phone, ‘I need your numbers’. Losing a cellphone can be the ideal time to let go of all those booty call numbers and folks you don’t actually like but you keep them in your phone in case they call you first. You know the ones…

 

Oh, right. So that warehouse fire was actually just some mattresses that some kids lit on fire in the alley. Me and a neighbor put it out with some garden hoses and expired fire extinguishers. Still, it opened my eyes and put the fear of Zeus into me.

 

We are officially traveling overseas now, wandering slowly about the globe. The above photo is what I’m currently traveling with, for better or worse. Nothing I’m traveling with is all that important, and at this point in my life, anything lost or stolen will simply make my travels a bit lighter.

 

 

There is a bright side to fires and losing things. When you’ve got little to lose, you’re free to do what you please.

 

 

 
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  • Stuff weighs you down, and causes more anxiety of having to protect it. Once you free yourself of stuff, you free yourself for important living, such as adventure, spontaneity, and flexibility.

    Bingo, Matt! So does this mean you’re getting closer and closer to lighter living and travel to Patagonia?! :)

    Im still debating what to rid next. I will say the UGG’s (although, you said were too big) have been clutch! Once we hit the warm weather I will be able to take out half the weight! Can’t wait. I know when we get home I’m not gonna care about any of the stuff I have packed away. I already don’t care about it! Thanks for putting that fire out by the way, I would have been grumpy if I had to get a new passport! :) happy travels my love!

    Agreed that your uggs have come in handy. I sort of wish I had a pair, though the boat shoes are holding it down perfectly for me!

    I wish we could ditch the bags altogether! Hmm… Now I’m thinking…. :)

    Perfect timing of a post. I myself am debating getting rid of almost all of my stuff (minus the school loans as well), saving some money, and taking off on a 6 month (or more!) road trip around the US with a buddy living out of a van. I was literally thinking this morning how will I save enough to travel without a job and then I saw this post. Can’t wait to see how the rest of your travels go. Blaze the trail for the rest of us! :)

    Eric, if there’s one thing that’s certain, you don’t need money to travel. Or at least not much. Check into couchsurfing.org and helpx.net

    Of course, the comfort of money is alluring too.

    I can see your undies.

    About time you posted a packing light photo! I’m very happy for you both that you’re on your way.

    Andrew, it’s gotten even lighter! The airline fees on the guitar were too much so it had to go. Oh well, I suppose I will have to pick up playing the spoons.

    Living light is the way forward! We recently blitzed our house and got rid of so much stuff. It felt fantastic. What they say is true: a tidy space really does lead to a tidy mind. Clutter just seems so unnecessary. It makes us feel so powerful if we release our attachments and break it down to just the bare essentials.

    Hope you’re having an amazing time!

    Thank you Rebecaa! Though I’ve also wondered about that messy space, messy mind, but an empty space would then mean an empty mind?

    Hmmm… Well, I think it’s worth the experiment! :)

    In the words of the wise Kris Kristofferson, “freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose.” As a kid those lyrics always kinds sad to me, but now I realize the value in having nothing.

    Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the things we have (and I would prefer not to lose them). But I am not quite so attached to things as I once was. Appreciation without the constant fear of loss.

    Can you imagine the amount of arson if it was possible to burn your student loans?

    Safe travels.

    Caanan, every day I feel lighter and lighter. Of course, I’m also not sweating the loans. I oughtta face reality on that soon though. Minimum payments won’t get me far. Maybe I need me one of those passive incomes!

    Great post. I fully dig what you are saying.

    Someone said “freedom is having nothing left to lose”.

    I love how minimalism has helped me get rid of unnecessary material crap from my life. Lightening the load. Fortunately I don’t “own” the label of minimalist. That helps too.

    One thing that does work for me is good digital bakup planning. I have all my data in at least two different places. Means I don’t have to worry about having my laptop stolen, as if it is, I’ll just get another one and put the backed-up data on it. I might be saying this just to reassure myself that nothing will go wrong tomorrow when I completely wipe my hard drive and reinstall Ubuntu :-/

    Kit, I’m curious to see how no hard drive living will work out for me. For now, I’m uploading everything to the web, hoping to always have some sort of nearby Internet connection. I imagine in the future we will all have Internet, free, and everywhere. To then, I’m moving slowly and lighter.

    Hi David,
    Another enjoyable post, fantastic, easy flowing writing. Worldly possessions are all replaceable, but we will get angry when we lose stuff anyway. Human condition. A human mind is a bunch of contradictions. So be it.
    Good winds on your travel.
    Cheers.

    Derek, I like that quote, “the human mind is a bunch of contradictions”.

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