The Eagle has landed. We safely arrived in London on Tuesday.
Our friend, Peter, that picked us up from the airport was shocked at how light we traveled. We each had one carry-on backpack plus one personal item, a small purse for me and a small daypack for Tom.
It wasn’t easy, but we did it!
In order to pack for this trip, we did quite a bit of shopping. We had to be intentional about what to bring in order to live out of one bag for a year. The items needed to be dual-purpose, able to be mixed and matched, dressed up or down, and comfortable enough for walking.
As mentioned in past blog posts, I’m a typical girl in the sense that I want to look nice while footing my way through Europe, but I am very atypical in that I hate to shop. It’s not that I don’t like clothes, but decisions in general overwhelm me.
To solve this problem in the past, I have used the services of Tog & Porter. I highly recommend them and you can read more about them on their website (togandporter.com). In short, they offer personal shopping services to the average person.
In the past, my Tog & Porter stylist skyped with me at no cost to learn about my needs, wardrobe, style, and budget. Then she sent me a box of clothes to try on. I kept what I wanted and returned the rest. Brilliant.
Unfortunately, when I contacted Tog & Porter to send me clothes for this trip, it was too late to get the box in time. Nevertheless, they were kind enough to put together a style guide for me and it set me in the right direction. You can view it on their blog here.
Listed below are the specifics of what we packed:
What is a souvenir that is free, takes up no room in our bag, cannot be stolen, and grows more precious over time?
As Tom and I said goodbye to friends this past weekend and packed up our apartment in Newport, I realized how much more my life is enriched by people than by possessions.
I especially felt the burden of our things as Tom and I cleaned, sold, packed and stored all of our stuff. Every object we have worked so hard and spent so much money to acquire now drained us of time, effort, space, and more money during our last week in Newport. As I looked at all our stuff, I felt exhaustion and discontentment.
On the other hand, I had a heightened experience this week of the richness and blessing of the relationships with friends and family we invested in over the years. As Tom and I squeezed in every last second with the people we love, we found ourselves physically tired, but spiritually refreshed.
It reminded me that relationships, like things, require time, effort and work to maintain. Without such intentionality, they slowly deteriorate. Our good friends sum it up best in their toast to friendship (thanks Ziyalyan’s and Hovsepyan’s): Friends are easy to make, but hard to keep, because friendship requires effort.
But unlike possessions, friendships leave us humble, appreciative, and strengthened.
Nevertheless, we will always have things in our lives, and that isn’t necessarily bad. As I whittled my belongings down to the bare minimum this week, I took note of the objects that are worth buying and keeping. I found that the most precious of my objects either commemorated or facilitated a relationship.
A good example is our party hats!
People continually ask Tom and I how we can afford to travel for a year. But maybe the better question is how we can afford not to?
We jotted down a quick list of annual and monthly expenses that we won’t have to pay while traveling.
We know the nomadic life comes with its own price tag and some new extra expenses (which we will track and share in future blog posts), but it also gives us reprieve from having to spend money on maintaining life at home. Just imagine your checkbook if you didn’t have any expenses related to rent, mortgage, or cars.
Below is a list of some actual post-tax annual expenses we paid in the past 12 months that we won’t have to pay in the next 12 while traveling:
I'm Jaime. My husband is Tom. Suburbanites, backpackers, and expats...we've been them all!