Posted by: Teacher Peter | February 13, 2010

The Things We Leave Behind

I’ve done this before, leaving the country. It’s exciting. 13 years ago I completely altered the trajectory of my life by moving to Japan for a year to teach English. One year became two and then I returned to the U.S. and Minnesota to start a teaching career.

I’ve accumulated A LOT of crap.

I read this book during my freshman year at Macalester. It was called Road Song. In the story a family decides to uproot their lives from the continental U.S. to move to Alaska. There’s a whole chapter in which the parents explain to the children that they each get a box. One box in which to put all their treasured belongings. The rest will be sold or given away.

Part of every journey is deciding what to leave behind.

It was easier 13 years ago when I was just out of college. The interceding decade has given me too much time to accumulate stuff. I’m a school teacher. I’m an art car enthusiast. I like comic books, books, and toys. I now have LOTS of things to get rid of. How much should one put in storage? Is it better to sell an expensive item only to repurchase it one to two years later? What, if anything should we bring with us overseas?

These and other questions will be answered one way or another in the next four months.

One idea that I thought my help me part with some of my crap that I am rather sentimentally attache to is to take photos. (I read about this in Real Simple magazine.) I think it could actually be a fun writing project. I could take a photo of me holding my item and post it to the blog. Next to each photo I could write a little bit about why the item is important to me. If I can’t think of anything noteworthy to say, TOSS IT. If the item in question provokes a good story, TOSS IT ANYWAY, but now at least I have a memorable photo and a great story to show for it. A bit more time consuming than just shoving stuff in the ol’ Savers bag but overall I think it might be worth it.

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