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?

the-front-door

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.

  • One baby picture of son Oliver in a long-cracked rabbit frame.
  • One of the old arrowheads my late brother, Allen, used to collect in the hills of Kentucky.
  • The good-luck Kitchen Witch that has hung in my every kitchen since my mom gave it to me for my very first apartment.
  • Two of the personalized, hand-painted Christmas ornaments my friend English made for us every year.
  • Three scarves. Four pairs of shoes. Bathing suit. Two Turkish towels.  Some warm weather clothes.  Rain jacket.
  • Snorkeling gear, a billion gadget cords and chargers, three kindles, two laptops and two phones. A couple of beer cozies from the Wolfe Beach House (thanks, Kathy!).
  • First aid kit.  Headphones. Batteries.
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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.

farewell-washington

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.

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Showing 27 comments
  • Jen Burden
    Reply

    This is amazing. This took a lot of strength and determination to pull off. You did it! I look forward to reading the adventures to follow…!

    • Ginny Wolfe
      Reply

      Thanks, Jen. You are an inspiration every day.

  • Kathy Randall
    Reply

    We need so little…and all of those fab shoes we lusted for seem so far away. After breaking my foot I can’t fit my fat foot into anything but those very sensible shoes i swore I would never wear.

    So excited about reading your blog, following you adventures and truly loving the photos. You are one brave woman, Ginny Wolfe!

    Keep it coming and know you are LOVED in the Ville!!!!

    • Ginny Wolfe
      Reply

      All those shoes!!! They looked great, though, didn’t they?! But the pain…

      Sending so much love your way. Can I get honorary VILLE-IAN status? Grandma? 🙂

  • Jeannine
    Reply

    Living vicariously through your glorious, kaleidoscope lens. You are brave. And as Kathy says, you are loved. xo

    • Ginny Wolfe
      Reply

      Thank you, love. Still have a room for you! Sending love.

  • Nicole Melancon
    Reply

    Just love love love this Ginny! So excited to follow your inspiring story!!!

    • Ginny Wolfe
      Reply

      THANK YOU!

  • Wendi
    Reply

    Oh you are such an inspiration to all. Things are nothing but things but people and memories are everything. I so miss you Ginny. Please know you can always show up at my home with a warm place and love and food. Some great wine too. Love you so!!! Wendi Lou

    • Ginny Wolfe
      Reply

      Thanks, Wendi! Miss you all tons! May well take you up on that warm place with love and food! Hugs to all your boys. Sending much love.

  • Nicole
    Reply

    What joy to arrive home late at night to find you live. LIVE … woot! Yes, a glimpse, a window … you, the bonafide adventurer sharing your real life experiences in our joint virtual world … with you on the other side of it and yet I am blessed to read your words and drink in this amazing journey that I get to share with you from afar. So thrilled, so much love Ginny xxx

    • Ginny Wolfe
      Reply

      You inspire me! Thanks for your wonderful note. Wonderful to get after shopping for ceremonial clothing meant for very tiny Balinese women! 🙂

  • Carolyn
    Reply

    Love this! Enjoy the journey. May you feel surrounded by pure Peace, Joy & Love.

    • Ginny Wolfe
      Reply

      Thanks, Carolyn. SO much. Sending you the same right back.

  • Eliabeth Atalay
    Reply

    Ginny! This is amazing! I’m so excited to follow along on your brave new adventure! You are setting a great example to women and how to be the author of your own destiny. We get so stuck in our busy lives that it’s easy to forget the whole big world of experiences out there to choose from if you are ready for a change. Love reading about your experience letting go of stuff and look forward to reading more.

    • Ginny Wolfe
      Reply

      ELizabeth! Thanks so much. You should grab Jeannine and come for a visit! I love following you on FB and all the beautiful photos and stories from your travels and of your STUNNING family. Sending you a giant hug…

  • Richard Greer
    Reply

    I haven’t seen you in about a quarter of a century but if anyone had asked me to guess who I knew at the Development Board that moved to Bali, I would have thought about three seconds and said Ginny Wolfe!! Hope this move continues to work for you. Thanks for the “Suitcase” I’ll continue to follow your adventure.

    • Ginny Wolfe
      Reply

      HA! All those trips! S. Korea, Japan, Europe, Israel. Not sure I can ever call you Richard, though. so dern good to hear from you after all this time! xo

  • Shannon Bogan
    Reply

    Always my hero! I’m thrilled you are writing this! Xo

    • Ginny Wolfe
      Reply

      Thanks, Shannon! xo back to you.

  • Elena
    Reply

    Ginny, I am so thankful that you are sharing these reflections and insights…and love the intention and significance of everything that you so carefully packed (or left behind). I cannot wait to follow you (and the suitcase) on this adventure!

    • Ginny Wolfe
      Reply

      Thanks so much, Elena!

    • Ginny Wolfe
      Reply

      Thanks, Elena! It’s a lot of fun and a real eye-opener.

  • Jennifer James
    Reply

    I’m not surprised at all to see that you’ve moved to Bali. That’s awesome. I’ll definitely be following along. Looks like you’re having an amazing time!

    • Ginny Wolfe
      Reply

      Jennifer! come visit!

  • madden 17 mobile coins
    Reply

    Not that I know of.

  • Reply

    Nobody can do a better job than you.

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