Thursday, September 4, 2008

So how much stuff do you really need?

We're coming down to the wire on our travel, and it's amazing how many details you have to deal with. Magazine subscriptions, utilities, bill payments, goes on and on. Sometimes it makes me envy the young college students who can go off on this sort of adventure without all the strings that tie them to an established household, but Mom and Dad still have the household waiting for them when they return!

The big question is in the title: how much stuff do you really need? Since shipping expenses to Spain are prohibitively expensive ($350 for 50 pounds....ouch!), we'd like to limit ourselves to what we can bring in our suitcases. Spain is a Western European country, and I'm sure we'll be able to buy everything we need for much less than it would take to ship it. The question then becomes: what is so important to you that you're willing to carry it through a succession of airports and train stations, but so unique and personal that you can't buy it elsewhere? I'm finding it a liberating experience to realize how few of our multitudinous "things" meet that criteria. We have to carry enough to take us through the first two weeks of travel (clothes, toiletries, laptop, travel guides, something to read on the plane). Beyond that....well, I have few poetry books that I enjoy reading again and again. And I have some materials that will be helpful for my English teaching.

See, the self-examination and personal growth is beginning before we even leave!

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