In the process of moving, I have been thinking a lot about stuff. What to move? What to take? Where to put it between here and there? Where there should be? What I can live without and what I need to live? What is important?
The last year has been an interesting journey in the relationship to my stuff and attachment to physical location. My dad says, “never pack more than you can carry yourself for a mile.
June 2013 started with a flight from West Hartford, CT to Seattle, Washington. What did I need to take for a nine week journey across the country? What could I take on the plane? Fortunately, I took Southwest so I was allowed two free bags—two big duffel bags. My bicycle flew by itself on Bike Flights and was waiting when I arrived in Seattle.
Did I have too much stuff for a bicycle ride across the country? Yes. Did I have everything I needed? No. I found it impossible to plan for every need. I could have bicycled 3000 miles with only three cycling jerseys instead of four but I really could have used an extra pair of comfortable biking shorts. I could have used a soft pillow instead of a pillow case stuffed with clothes. Experience teaches us how to pack and what we really need to navigate life. Sometimes that experience comes in handy because we repeat a part of the journey or walk a similar path. Sometimes we just have the experience and can share it, so others on a similar journey can pack better.
The most surprising thing I learned is that I can, if needed, run my life from my iPhone, including write blog posts, post pictures on LiveMapp and Pinterest, create Facebook and Google Plus posts, make LinkedIn business connections, do radio interviews about life on the road, have conversations with friends back home, email clients, catching up on world news, and do internet searches for information about the coming weather and places of interest along the way.
Everything I needed for camping at night could fit in one large duffel and everything I needed for daytime clothing and electronics could fit in another duffel. Of course, I counted on access to laundry a couple of times a week and a wall outlet for charging my phone every day. A bicycle trip is a study in what do you really need? What are the connection you really need in your life? What is important beyond the stuff? You learn a lot spending nine weeks on a bicycle with time to think, to plan, to challenge yourself to do something great, and most of all to breathe in all the joy of life. I had to make sure I had enough to keep warm and enough layers to take off to stay cool. Rain gear, back up batteries, it is challenging to plan for all the different situations that arise in life.
A few months after bicycling from Seattle to Washington, DC and then returning home to West Hartford, CT, I decided to leave the East coast and set out on another journey. Deciding what to put in my car for the drive out to my parent’s place in Utah was challenging. The rest of my stuff would go into a POD, a big box. I didn’t know how long it would wait for me to decide where I would land, so I had to figure out what I would really need to live my life for the next few months.
And like much of life, at least my life, the time my stuff sat in the POD was much longer than I expected. I didn’t predict my trajectory very well. I didn’t have quite enough experience to know that I would spend five months at my parent’s place in Utah with only what I drove across in my Honda Accord. Were there things I wished I had put in the car for easy access? Yes. Did I do okay without buying much to replace stuff in the storage container? Yes. Am I looking forward to holding, arranging and playing with my stuff in Spokane, Washington, where I am landing? Yes, hopefully for a long, long time. I have since learned what I really need and what I can do fine without. I understand my needs better. I have grown in my ability to navigate the journey, the journey of life.
“When we hear another person’s feelings and needs, we recognize our common humanity,” says Marshall Rosenberg, developer of Non-Violent Communication. He goes on to say, “At the root of every tantrum and power struggle are unmet needs.”
What do you really need?
Find her at The Creating Calm Publishing Group
About the Author
An Integrative Medicine practitioner, Kimberly Burnham uses poetry, words, coaching and hands-on therapies to help you heal. A published author and award winning poet, Kimberly won the SageUSA’s story contest with a poem about her 2013 Hazon CrossUSA bicycle ride. She is writing The Journey Home about that 3000 mile expedition. Now, you get to be her muse with a list of seven experiences you yearn for. She writes a poem as if already, you are feeling the exhilaration of living your dreams. You can also watch her interview at the 2012 Consciousness Raising Summit on Vision Recovery at and her presentation on How to Increase Success and Consciousness.