Packing Up and Shipping Out

Unpack This Place
As I get ready to leave Amsterdam I remember how all this started…

…I’d often get the blues as my travels were coming to an end. At the airport I’d be particularly low and would play a game with Brett to try and lift my spirits. It was called “if we weren’t going home, where would we be going?” We each had to tell the story of our next (imaginary) destination in as much detail as we could muster. It would go something like this:

“We’d be heading off to New York, to a little apartment in the East Village. We’d be staying for two months and we’d shop at Whole Foods…and we’d visit the Museum of Modern Art.”

or

“We’d be going to Santorini. In a cave house. And we’d just lay on a beach for a week or two ordering food and drink.”

You get the idea.

Then one day, after a particularly lovely trip, we were at the airport just about to indulge in our favourite game when I turned to Brett and said:

“We’ve either got to do it, or stop talking about it now.”

There was silence. Lots of silence. Then he said:

“Okay. Let’s do it.”

The next few years we worked hard at getting our business to be location independent. Being able to work and travel was important for two reasons: we didn’t want to starve and we love what we do. Then there was our flat; we still need to be in London two weeks a quarter, did we rent it out long term or do short AirBnB lets? Should we rent it furnished or unfurnished? What about all of our stuff? Do we get storage or get rid? The closer we got to becoming nomads, the more detailed our decisions had to be.

Regarding the flat, we opted for renting it unfurnished on a long lease. We sold all of our furniture at auction (there’s nothing quite so thrilling as watching your worldly goods get auctioned off via a live stream) and donated the rest.

As a side note, a friend of mine did something similar when she moved from a big house to a little apartment to a travelling tiny home. She set up a website, created an online yard sale and sold her house on Facebook (but that’s a story for another post).

Brett and I had to downsize considerably to start life on the road. There are a few boxes living in my parents’ loft, but mostly it’s just us, our computers, some clothes, two suitcases and no regrets.

I worry I make this process sound easy. Of course, there were hiccups (I was admitted to hospital the week before we had to vacate our flat, our upstairs neighbour sprang a leak that soaked our ceiling, the auction house needed our furniture six weeks before we were ready to hand it over and our flat rented a month before we’d booked our first trip, so we had to move in with my folks in Bristol).

It seemed that once we’d made the decision to go, things happened pretty quickly.

Eleven weeks into the nomadic lifestyle and any hassles from the big move are forgotten. I don’t miss any of the items I donated (to be honest, I don’t remember half of them).

So, as I bid farewell to Amsterdam (don’t worry, I have lots still to post about the place – including where to find the best burgers) and head to the airport, I won’t be playing the “if we weren’t going home, where would we be going?” game. Next stop: Croatia.

Resources For Moving:
Chiswick Auctions
Sourcing Property
Freecycle
We Clear Junk
Kerri Richardson (her coaching service and Clearing Clutter Course)
Parents who are willing to house you / your stuff / both

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