What to do when you are approaching a move across the world and don't know what to do with all your belongings.
It’s a hazy-grey wintery Sunday morning as I wake up slowly to the sounds of my neighbours making breakfast. I slip out from between my white bed sheets, gulp down a glass of water and light the gas stove to heat water. As I walk around my little old-style Mexican casita with adoration I feel a familiar fear creep up for me. What happens when I invest all my heart and life into this little space, and then I have to leave it, again?
The second-to-last time I stayed in one place permanently was two-and-a-half years in Sydney, Australia circa 2009-2012. I rented a tiny studio apartment in the heart of Paddington and proceeded to fill it with things I loved. When it was time to leave, I was faced with the problem of figuring out what to do with all the things.
It’s always incredible to me how attached we can become to all the physical items we accumulate throughout our lives. The clothes. The gifts. The knickknacks.  The sentimental items. The furniture and homewares. The books! At first, I packed them up into boxes. Big, brown, towering boxes that I couldn’t lift myself even if I tried. I put them into storage for the future I thought. I left and slowly moved across Europe, north and central America, and India for the next two years.
A few months into that chapter of my life, I completely forgot about the things I owned that were tucked away in those brown boxes, taking up space and gathering dust. I laughed at myself, at how fiercely I had protected each thing as if it was an invaluable piece of my lifeline, my identity. How I didn’t miss or need any of it.
I returned two years later, unpacked everything, picked out the most meaningful treasures: some artisan plates and an antique rug that cost $2,000 from Morocco, a bright pink sari from my first Indian wedding, a few books, a blanket from Guatemala, some sentimental gifts, a sheepskin rug, some items of clothes… and sold the rest on eBay. I made close to $8,000 on all those things that I had initially clung on to and then promptly emotionally discarded.
Most of the things I had thought I needed, lost their value to me, as I recognised that this yearning for safety and security couldn’t be found in the things that I owned. They were a deeper calling to cultivate a sense of safety and security within myself that I can reach into whenever I need. This development of inner safety and security is an ongoing practice that has little to with my external environment and everything to do with how I show up for myself. Do I keep my promises to myself? Do I have healthy boundaries? Am I meeting my own needs? Am I taking responsibility for myself, my space, my emotions, my experiences?
The last time I moved after a period of being settled, was when I left my ex in Canada last year, and this time I knew that all the things would fast fade in significance to me. The same meaningful treasures that I had shipped from Australia to Canada a year earlier, were packed up and placed in the attic for the next time. The rest I left with him. In this case, it was easy.
I have trained myself to spend years without a permanent ‘home base’ by finding ways to stay grounded in the present moment wherever I am. I share exactly how I do that in my free “how to travel the world and work online” workshop. It’s a simple spiritual practice of letting go of external validation in the form of places, things and ideas to meet the parts of ourselves that feel insecure without them. I surrender, over and over again, to the concept that nothing is permanent in this life, and the lighter my attachment to things, the easier it is to gracefully continue treading my path.
Knowing all this, here I find myself in a space where I am creating a landing spot again for a while. My 6-month lease ends in May and I am planning to sign it for another year. I like it here on the central-west-coast of Mexico. I live a few minutes walk from the ocean. The airport is a 30 minute Uber away. Flights to almost anywhere are incredibly reasonable. I have a sweet community of friends. People I love from around the world come and visit me. I can leave whenever I want and then come back. Living expenses are low. My casita is enchanting. And I want to buy all the things to make it completely mine.
Here’s something that I am learning this year: it’s ok to invest in the impermanence of life. It doesn’t all have to be so serious and meticulously planned and perfectly puzzle-pieced together. The more I practice presence the more I trust in the signs around me to just follow what feels good in the moment. All the rest doesn’t matter. It always works out perfectly anyway.
The lesson is: let go of trying to control every inch of your life and allow life to be lived through you, even when it makes no sense. If there is one thing I am certain of, based on looking back at my life, is that I am (and we all are) so incredibly supported when we surrender to what is and don’t project our fears out into the future.
Are you ok right now? Yes. Then breathe and let go. 
Have you always been taken care of? Yes. Then breathe and let go.
Do you need to know all the answers to make your next move? No. Then breathe and let go.

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