Possessions: what do we really need?

John and I moved our household to Vermont last weekend.  I drove the 26 foot U Haul truck from Massachusetts.  It was full to the brim with our worldly possessions.  We have moved a lot in the last ten years.  In 2004, we moved from Jamestown, NY, to Santa Fe, NM.  North American Van Lines informed us that we had trucked 10,000 pounds of stuff with us.  We were appalled. I was proud to report that when we moved from Santa Fe to Massachusetts, we were down to 6000 pounds.  That was the last that we weighed our stuff.

The good folks of South Acton Congregational Church in Acton, MA, raise funds by helping people move!

The good folks of South Acton Congregational Church in Acton, MA, raise funds by helping people move!

The move from a rental to a new home in Lancaster was done by locals so it wasn’t weighed.  And, as mentioned, we did U Haul this past time. Again, not weighed.  We lived in a small, two-bedroom Cape home in Massachusetts and felt like we didn’t have a lot of furniture or stuff.  The thing with Cape-style homes:  they are compact but can cleverly hold more than you think.

So, last Saturday as we made our way (or shall I say weigh) up I91 to West Windsor, VT, I pondered the concept of carrying our life’s collection of personal belongings in a huge truck to yet another new home.  And I thought about the week that we spend on the Ohio River with nothing but the bare essentials with us.  Karen and I are proud at how well we have learned to pack.  We know what we need for a week and we are pretty darn compact. Oh course, we know that anything that goes into the canoe will likely have to be carried out of it each day as we set up camp.  That keeps us frugal. It is freeing to live on so little even if only for a week.  It is a reminder that we really don’t need much in life to be happy.  And yet we carry tons, literally, of stuff from place to place because we can’t let it go for some reason.

I think that the idea of living in a tent, on camping mats with sleeping bags and dehydrated food and a couple of gallons of water at a time is one of the things I like the most about our canoe trips. My almost 59 year old body isn’t always thrilled with those sleeping mats but it copes for a week.

I know I can’t give up all the stuff that we dragged with us once again to our new home but our canoe trips are a good reminder that I could live just fine without it.

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