The Psychology of Traveling Lighter

A bad pun . . .

When I moved from Lafayette to Orinda, it was during a divorce, so I packed a small-ish U-Haul and drove it 7 miles away. I hired a kid whom I helped get his Ham Radio license – and so he was pleased to earn some money. BTW – he went on to become an Electrical Engineer – so that was a nice experience. But I digress.

During that move I just left so much crap behind – and turns out that was a figurative and literal thing. One day while at the old house an overwhelming feeling of “I’ve got to get out of here” came over me. You see, my ex wife left me – and while it turns out to have been the best thing that could have happened – I was still in a state of shock. To be kind and fair – the priest who married my ex wife and I gave us the Myers – Briggs test and asked us point blank “Are you REALLY sure you want to get married?”. That seemed very odd at the time – but oh was it so honest – and we blew him off (as 20 – somethings would do). Turns out that was one thing we should have listened to. That relationship was doomed from the start.

From there I went on to meet Kat and we are the same ENFJ, and I do swear by the Myers – Briggs Test. Anyhoo – both of us has had compromises in life – where we moved to places with the wrong people in our past lives – so we made a pact not to compromise this time. That doesn’t mean splurge and go hog wild (I’ve lived in a McMansion before – and trust me – they suck). Less is ABSOLUTELY more – and if you feel “Buying Up” will make you feel better – the exact opposite happens. In fact – its a marker that something is terribly wrong in your life.

Our house in Bend has about the same square footage as our 50’s California Rancher – and even the rooms are somewhat equivalent. The yard will be flat and smaller – by quite a bit, and there is no basement.

In Orinda – someone dug out the basement. Another house on the block did the same thing – and they added a room or two downstairs. Ours is just an unfinished basement – but great for storing tools and stuff. Therein lies the rub – “stuff”. If you haven’t seen George Carlin’s skit on “Stuff” – please check it out on YouTube – its really funny.

Over 17 years that basement got filled up with “Stuff”. And now I’ve been living in purgatory getting rid of said stuff. When we move we will winnow down ALL of our stuff and being only what we truly need. Luckily, I’ve worked through my Ham Radio days – which accounts for piles and piles of shit – and I’ve even worked through Assemblage art – with more piles and piles of shit. Since about 1997 I gave up having a darkroom but I have been working all winter scanning my old film – and have been downright shocked how good my street photography was back in the 1980’s and in London, Paris, Amsterdam, NYC and San Francisco. It was a lifetime of great work done in a decade. I did have another decade of pretty good Assemblage art – so I have no regrets about trying new things – even though I did accumulate too much stuff. Oh – the Ham Radio days – they were very important too – I needed something to do while being sequestered watching kids, working and having some spare time left where I refused to watch TV – and haven’t since about 2002 or 2003.

This time the new house demands that I weed out and bring only the essentials. This means Musical Instruments, Photography gear and two bikes – street / gravel and mountain bike. Our furniture will be sparse since its old and we are giving a lot away. Now that I’ve lost 30 pounds – I will get rid of my “fat clothes”. Some of these are getting threadbare – so all of this is timely. If we move during the Summer or Fall – I can avoid bringing my threadbare Winter clothes.

Its actually starting to feel great thinking about what is essential in my life these days – and it is very funny how we accumulate so much shit over the years – I know for a while – I would get bored and buy shit at the hardware store. Or Etsy. Or Amazon. I wasn’t being a hoarder on purpose – and I did use everything I purchased – but some of the things I did was a bridge to far. That “haunted puppet theatre” idea was a HUGE bust – and it ended my Assemblage days. I do have a small collection of “doo dads” that I can use for still life photography – which is portable and small.

The “digitization of life” has been remarkable – digital recordings or music and digital photography lets me travel much lighter – a laptop and a few things and I have a full on recording studio that all fits on one small kitchen table. Digital cameras may be just a little smaller than the previous analog – but you don’t need all the archival binders full of film and prints. I haven’t printed a photo in 20 years.

Gimp, Raw Therapee and Cubase have replaced a room full of stuff. And I don’t feel less creative – but actually more – because I have room to move around – and my bowing of the cello isn’t hitting the desk and wall when I play. And I can look out a window – which is amazing because the view is like being in a forest – and iots very calming and soothing. I’m so glad to be out of my “Man Cave” in the garage. Oh yeah – heating and cooling – who would have thought?

With new knees I’ve been obsessed with hiking. Kat asked me what the most important thing is moving to Bend and I said “Hiking”. This is because I had struggled for 10 years to walk – and carrying way too much weight. In fact, my latest obsession is looking at the toplogy and maps of trails in and around Bend – and to me its 100 million times what Disneyland or Disneyworld is.

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