Life Under 23 kg

After nearly two years of living out of a suitcase, it’s the weight of my life.



Of course, my metaphorical baggage is far greater. I’m certain no plane would clear the runway if we were required to check-in our personal life histories.

What’s Your Baggage?

Baggage: originating from the word luggage, meaning ‘that which needs to be lugged about’ or in Samuel Johnson’s 1755 dictionary, ‘any thing of more bulk than value.’

Baggage suggests burden; the weight of a past life we’d prefer to leave behind. Hardly the same items we’d hand-pick to accompany us on our travels, or worse still, pay to have stored indefinitely.

Case in point, the treasured items I so carefully selected and boxed up before leaving Vancouver now carry little meaning. A small print of a scarlet fishing boat bought in Nova Scotia, and my Emma Bridgewater coffee mugs are the only things that stir up any longing, the rest having been forgotten almost entirely.

So what was important then, isn’t anymore.

Without a home, living light is a necessity. With no place to sort and organize clothing in draws and closets my seasonal clothes get pulled out of, or shoved back into, a large black tote stored in a friend’s basement. It’s often easier (but not easy) to dispose of them along the way.

How about you?

Every now and again it’s good to ask ourselves, “What would my life be like without this…book, picture, knick-knack, drawing, coat, necklace, clock, scarf, table, shell, lamp, candle, gadget, cushion …?”

Unless it brings you alive, it’s very likely time to let it go. The Universe needs space for the new to enter. We know this when we ‘spring clean’. But what would it be like to ‘winter clean’? To ‘fall clean’? Or for every purchase of some thing new, remove another?

As my friend Moley would say, “G’wan”. Give it a try.

As Ram Dass says, “There is as much joy in doing with less as doing with more.”

It takes a long time for many of us to let go of the things we think we need. What we need aren’t so much things (unless they add some huge comfort or joy to our lives), but rather experiences.

But there’s now’t as queer as folk

-The Full Monty-

Travel Tip

If you’re in the market for a new suitcase, I’d highly recommend an IT-0-2 Super Lightweight Two Wheel Trolley Case 72cm suitcase. Weighing less than 2kg it’s helped make my life under 23kg feasible.


(purchased at Wanderlust, West 4th Avenue, Vancouver)

With Rachel’s blue and white bandana tied around the handle, it welcomes my arrival at every place I call home.


Image: Flickr ’23’ by fraumrou

Problems Getting Back in the Saddle?

Ever had those icky post-vacation blues? Back from a long holiday, wandering and wondering where you fit in? Somewhat like an ill-fitting sweater, one that’s outgrown itself? Me too.
Even landing in Vancouver last month failed to rally the usual excitement. A place laden with memories of another life time, where we ‘did this’ or ‘went there’.
Like I’m haunting a previous life.

But it’s good to come back and feel what it feels like.

Maybe place isn’t as important as it once was. From time spent with my daughter in the Kootenays, friends visiting from Nova Scotia and Australia, and down in Seattle and Whidbey Island I’m reminded that it’s less about place than it is about people.

Living out of a suitcase however is both ridiculously simple and equally frustrating. Makes me realize how little I need. (Doesn’t seem to stop me from wanting!) My car doubles as library, pantry, and junk draw. But sometimes, just sometimes, I long to have a place to put a cookbook or hang my clothes.

Then I remind myself that having no fixed address or definitive plans, combined with a curiosity to learn more about the people that inhabit a place is a gift. A gift of time. Langley, Whidbey Island has to be one of the friendliest towns to hang out.

It’s my new favourite place.

As with everything, the more you have the more it grows. And the more you give, the more joyful your life and those around you. Everywhere I go the generosity of the people I meet is profound. Likewise I offer myself generously to others. If David Deida’s right in saying that, “Every moment is the most important moment of your life” then may your cup runneth over with GENEROSITY.

It’s my new favourite word. What would it take to be generous with yourself?