How does one go from owning a house, car and living a secure life, to a life where the only things you own are to be found in your backpack? ..and what about the kids? Don’t they miss all their toys?
Perhaps we need to point out, that we do what we do out of choice.. not out of necessity 🙂
During the last few years, we have nurtured a dream of going out into the world, exploring and experiencing the various aspects of life – both the wonderful but also the not so wonderful ones – and because the process and the dream has been evolving with us, it hasn’t been that difficult for us to say goodbye to the life we know, as it might seem.
We always knew that we wanted to wait until our girls had the right age – an age where they would be able to explore the world and remember their experiences. This meant that we had some time to prepare ourselves and our girls both practically and mentally for what lay ahead.
Originally it was our plan to move into a camper van, so before every purchase during the last few years, we asked ourselves whether it really was a necessary purchase – and in the rare occasion when the answer was “yes”, whether the purchased object would fit into our camper van. Later, when our plans changed from camper van to back packs, the reduced space meant that the number of new purchases were kept to an absolute minimum.
The process has been very liberating. Every time we gave something away, be it to the scrapyard or to someone we knew, we experienced a sense of increased freedom. Almost like weight being lifted of our shoulders 🙂
Leaving behind – as an adult
As you have probably figured out, we (Tina and Brian) haven’t had a hard time giving up our stuff. Most of the stuff has been sold, given away or thrown out. We have only kept things with personal value, like photos and things made by our two daughters. These things are stored in a few boxes back in Denmark, until the day when we decide to settle down more permanently again (if that day ever comes).
We have never been big spenders, which naturally has made the process a little easier. We are actually enjoying living more simplistic. Minimalism is a lifestyle that suits us. As vegans, we have a natural affection for life and for the world we live in, and by only buying the stuff we REALLY REALLY need, we leave the smallest possible footprint. It is though an ongoing process, as our backpacks are still too heavy – but we will get there eventually.
Leaving behind – as a kid
As parents we are constantly encountering situations where we have to take choises on behalf of our children. This can be incredibly difficult, and more often than not, we don’t know whether our choise is the right one, before having seen the effects of it.
But, whether you go the standard route, and send your kids to kindergarten, school etc, or you decide to go another route as we have done, you end up taking a choice on behalf of your kids – conscious or unconscious, it is still a choice that they have to live with.
And yes – we have at times been a little nervous about the effects of the choices we have made – wheather our two girls would thrive in the world our choices created. It is after all OUR big dream – not our kids’ – and we are pulling it down over their heads. We know that we give up a lot of normal things by leaving our secure base behind, but we also know that a new giant adventure awaits us 🙂
“When one door closes behind you – new ones always seem to open up in front of you.”
We have been quite surprised about how well our two girls have coped with the whole process. They had literally tons of toys, given to them by us, their grand parents, uncles and aunts – all with the best intentions. But, as with other aspects of life, it has turned out that “less is more”.
Throughout the whole process we have included our girls in most of our thoughts, and presented them with a clear image of what lay ahead – so that they wouldn’t only have the feeling of giving up stuff, but also the excitement of what lay ahead.
They have themselves decided what toys should be given away, which toys were to be stored away and finally which toys they would carry in their small backpacks. So, now they have their absolute favorite toys in their backpacks, toys they like a lot in two boxes, stored away in Denmark and all the rest (about 90%) has been given to other kids or been thrown away.
This whole process has been much easier (and much much more painless) than we feared. They too have felt a kind of relief, getting rid of all the “noise” created by toys they really didn’t need.
Now they only have their favorite toys, and are able to decide on what to play almost instantly when we have some spare time. And another – not unimportant – aspect is that collecting or “cleaning up” their toys after playing with them is now done in mere seconds.
Saying goodbye to the car, the house, friends and family.
Saying goodbye is a part of life, and our kids naturally shed a tear or two when saying goodbye to our car and our house. They had after all played a big part in their short lives.
But – the day after, life went on and a week later, having left Denmark we asked them whether they missed our car or our old house, and their question was a definitive “NO – NOT AT ALL” from both of them. So, they seem to have taken to our new way of life even faster than we had dared to dream 🙂
It is though never easy to say goodbye to friends or family. Especially when you know that you probably won’t see them for the next 5-7 years!
There is absolutely no joy in saying goodbye, and there is no easy way of doing it 🙁
Naturally we will miss our friends and family very much, and it hurts a lot saying goodbye. It hurts even more when you realize how much you love the ones you leave behind and how much you will miss them.
But, as we have always told our two girls – “missing someone is a good thing“. When you miss someone, it means that you love someone. Just imagine not missing anyone?
Fortunately the missing part quickly fades and takes up less and less space in your thoughts once the new life grabs hold of you.
We are free and alive – Living our dream 🙂
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