One Big Suitcase
I wanted to leave carrying only one big suitcase…
It had to hold a lifetime of success and a smattering of disappointment; a mother’s love and all the tools a 58-year-old divorced woman needs to begin an adventure. And it had to meet the weight requirements of the airline that would take me from the USA to Bali, Indonesia.
After about a hundred years in politics, advocacy, and communications I sold my house and everything in it and moved to Bali.
I took a while to make the final decision to go. Once I did, I put my house on the market and, luckily, it sold in less than a week.
But what about all my STUFF? All the things you collect over decades of living and travel and raising a child?
All those things you couldn’t live without are suddenly about to be out of a home. What to keep and what to release?
Since I wanted to leave with only that one suitcase, I had to be brutal. My son got first dibs on anything he wanted for his new apartment in Miami, a couple of good friends are keeping some treasured pieces of art. Family photos and such went to family and everything else not going with me was sold through an estate sale. Everything. Even my shoes.
Folks ask me what made it into the Big Suitcase. How did I decide? Brutality and sentiment had to become friends.
Toss in a few gallons of DEET spray, LUSH solid shampoo, cosmetic stuff, water shoes, socks, clarisonic brush, miscellaneous undergarments and the suitcase is full. Oh, and a year’s worth of daily contact lenses. Those suckers don’t weigh much, but they take up a lot of room.
In my wallet I have a cross from my friend Stacy and a St. Christopher medal from my friends Susan and Rich. On a carabineer on my backpack is a key to the house of a friend in case I want to come home and need a place to stay. Around my neck I wear three charms on a chain from Oliver.
What I now know is I don’t need a lot of stuff to keep my memories alive. But a few treasured things bring me deep happiness.
It’s funny how when I look at them now, they represent so much more than they did when surrounded by so many other things. They remind me I am cherished, even from so far away. And that gives me strength as I chart completely unknown waters.
I have also figured out that I only need about half of what is in the suitcase.