Sacrifices? There are plenty.

by Kim on August 9, 2011 · 35 comments

Hello.  I’d like to invite you to take a seat on my emotional rollercoaster.

Welcome aboard.

I’d planned a post about what it’s been like to sell 75% of our worldly possessions in one week.  That post is still coming.  But we signed all of the closing papers on our house today and, well, I’m sad. 

I’m trying to document the good and bad of this journey.  Most of the time, working towards this dream is thrilling.  Chasing my dream has filled me with energy and hope and a genuine excitement about the future.  I feel alive again.  And I can really see, maybe for the first time, what a blessing life is. 

But. 

There are times, like today, when the weight of the things we are sacrificing threatens to bring me down. 

Just in case I make this process out to be all peaches and cream, I want to make it clear.  Chasing this dream has been exhilarating, but it has not been easy.  Not one step of this process has been easy. 

Making the decision to even listen to my inner voice, the one that said I want to travel and write about it, was the hardest thing that I have ever done.  Because all I could see at the time was the weight of the consequences that might come to pass if I listened to my inner voice.  My marriage, my home, my career, my dogs, financial security, at the time I had no idea what would happen to any of those things if I said yes to that voice.

But I did say yes, eventually, after doing pretty much everything in my power not to, because I knew that if I didn’t I would be denying the thing inside of me that makes me alive.  I knew that if I didn’t say yes I would spend the rest of my life half dead. 

Today, many of the consequences of saying yes are still unclear.  I know now that Brian supports my dream and I know that our home will be sold in order to give us the freedom to pursue my dream. But everything else?  It’s still unknown. 

And I guess that, in a roundabout way, brings me back to what I’m really writing about today: how it feels to sell our home.  Indeed, to essentially pay someone to move into our home, filled with our furniture and the blood, sweat and tears of the hundreds of hours we’ve worked to make the place what it is.  Are you on your couch?  In your living room?  Imagine, for a second, that you’ve just paid someone else $12,000 to erase you from the place.  In return, you pack up your few remaining possessions and move into a 600 square foot apartment with your partner and your two dogs.  Are you asking yourself: Is it worth it?  I’m asking myself that right now.  Deep down I believe that it is, but right now it feels like one hell of a sacrifice.

It is evening in Oregon and I’m laying next to the open window.  A cool breeze is blowing in.  Life is so nice in this house, so comfortable.  There are lots of windows and the light shines through.  I can play music loud and dance or yell or do whatever I want.  This place is mine.  Mine!  And I don’t have to think of anyone else when I’m here. 

Our dogs have a big backyard to run around in.  They lay in the sun and nap, chase squirrels.  Moving them into a tiny apartment feels cruel.  I worry they won’t be happy there.  I worry we won’t be happy there. 

This house is filled with love and good memories of holidays and cookouts and evenings with friends.  Brian proposed in the living room.  At the end of bad days this house has been a refuge.  This house is home.  Home. 

But the other day Brian told me a story.

He’d originally heard it on NPR (and if any of you know Brian you will chuckle because he is famous for repeating NPR stories word-for-word).  Because I am equally famous for not remembering a goddamn thing, the only thing I recall about the story is that it was about a couple that moved throughout the world and that the reason Brian was repeating the story was because of one line he loved: 

 “They realized that they didn’t want to live anywhere without the other one.” 

Then Brian said that no matter what happens in life, no matter where we end up, no matter what we end up doing, regardless of whatever may happen in the future, that he didn’t want to be anywhere unless I was there with him.

And I know, I know, that that is what home really is. 

I know that our house is a symbol of everything we’ve built together but it isn’t everything we’ve built together.  We are everything we’ve built together.  Our house is just the structure that holds us all in.

But we love this place.  We’ve got two weeks left here and my heart already flip-flops imagining what it will be like to pull out of our driveway for the last time.

 

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Matt August 9, 2011 at 8:13 pm

This post really touched me Kim. In many respects I know what you are going through. We got rid of a bunch of our stuff today and even though it’s just stuff it’s “our” stuff and it holds lots of memories.

As the Goodwill guy unloaded our truck I remembered the day that my kids played with a certain toy, or the look on their face when they opened up a Christmas present.

I wanted to keep it all not because I had a use for it but because there were memories attached to it and I knew that once it was gone those memories would slowly fade away.

But what I had to keep reminding myself was that all those memories were going to be replaced with new memories from our new life in Indonesia.

Keep strong on the path of your dreams. It really is a roller coaster of a ride.
Matt recently posted..The Meaning of Life

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Kim August 9, 2011 at 8:43 pm

Hi Matt. Yes, I had a similar reaction when we sold most of our things in a garage sale last weekend. I know it’s just stuff, but the memories attached are what add value to the things. Nonetheless, now that the stuff is gone, I already don’t miss it. Maybe I will feel the same way about the house?

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Gillian @OneGiantStep August 9, 2011 at 8:27 pm

*tearful* Much like Brian is helping you re-define home, we re-defined our home to be the space between the two of us; be it in a hostel, hotel, on a friends couch or the bench on the overnight train; we always reminded each other that home is within us and so always resides with us. There is time for grieving and then time to crack the champagne on that 600 square feet of freedom!! Much love.

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Kim August 9, 2011 at 8:44 pm

Gillian, you are so wise. What would I do without your insight and support?

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Erica August 9, 2011 at 8:51 pm

Congrats guys!

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Kim August 9, 2011 at 9:04 pm

Thanks Erica. It’s been quite a ride.

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Torre – Fearful Adventurer August 10, 2011 at 12:31 am

This post made me cry (first post ever).

Kim, you’re such a good writer. You’re so good at exposing your beating heart on the page. I was so touched by Brian’s quoted words, how gorgeous.

What you’re doing is epic. Always remember that if it was easy, everyone else would be doing it.
Torre – Fearful Adventurer recently posted..A Postcard From Australia That Tells It Like It Is

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Kim August 10, 2011 at 7:52 am

Torre, thanks so much- that means A LOT coming from you, a writer I respect very much.

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Dalene August 10, 2011 at 1:29 am

I don’t know how many times Pete and I turned to each other in the months leading up to our journey and said “Are we fucking crazy?” Most of the times we just nodded yes, of course, but continued on, constantly doubting ourselves and worrying but always plugging ahead.

There will be a moment when you get on the first airplane with nothing but your backpack and it will be like you are floating. It will be freedom like you’ve never known it before, and everything that you’ve sacrificed will seem so small in comparison to that feeling. Just remember: you will never regret what you’re doing. That thought kept us going.

Great post Kim. :)

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Kim August 10, 2011 at 7:53 am

Hi Dalene, if I haven’t said it before I want to say thanks for being your bold selves and giving me a sense of what’s to come. I dream of the moment we are on the first airplane and feel a freedom like never before. I can only imagine what that will feel like!!

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Amy August 10, 2011 at 4:46 am

What can I say other than I am just as torn
I know what you mean. This mourning is tough but necessary. Part of me is envious of your situation and
part of me is happy I am not in your shoes yet. I agree that
home is where you and Brian are together and
I know that one day you will look back just as
fondly on the memories you made that 600 sq ft apartment. The best parts of the adventure and the learning
and growing have just begun!!! I can’t wait to see how
You unfold!

Thank you for being real and posting about the
not so fun parts!

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Kim August 10, 2011 at 7:54 am

Hi Amy, everything you say rings true. Thanks for your support through this whole house-selling extravaganza and please know I’ve got your back and am still asking St. Joseph for some favors for you!!

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Carmel August 10, 2011 at 7:38 am

It’s so odd to me sometimes to be sitting here empathizing and trying to give you encouragement–not because you don’t completely deserve it–but because we haven’t done it like a lot of your other readers. We’re going to be in that boat in another year or two and it FREAKS.ME.OUT. So thank you for sharing your fears because when I hit that point in the future, I’m going to have something to reference and realize I’m not crazy or pathetic for feeling this way.

My brother told me when I was leaving for Spain on my study abroad to take everything that was important with me and be open to experience. It took me a few weeks into it to realize he didn’t mean bringing my stuff with me (I was 19 :P). I’m really happy I have Shawn to take with me because he’s really all I NEED.

Boy, that Brian is a great guy. I like him and I haven’t even met him yet!
Carmel recently posted..Baconfest

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Kim August 10, 2011 at 7:56 am

Hi Carmel!! I am so totally freaked out every day. It’s normal!!! Actually, I think that is part of what feeling alive is all about. When I write about all of this stuff I’m writing it for you as much as for me, because I want people who come down the path after us to know that the sad and scary stuff is normal but worth it in the end (I sure hope… guess we’re not there yet).

And yes, Brian is freaking amazing.

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PostcardFromBK August 10, 2011 at 11:50 am

Don’t think of it as selling your home, think of it as buying your dreams :)

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Kim August 10, 2011 at 5:56 pm

Good point. Actually, we did say, how much does it cost to buy our freedom? $12,000???? Worth it!

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Rhonda August 10, 2011 at 1:03 pm

wow, Kim, that brought tears to my eyes. You very eloquently put into words what all of us that have traveled around the world have experienced. Stay strong, I know it feels like everything is so topsy turvy right now you may not know which way is up but you will, again, come to realize it’s all part of the process of following the dream that makes you feel alive.
In an interesting sidenote… keep in mind that when you once again return home, you will probably have some similiar feelings but in reverse. We had horrible reverse culture shock upon our return and the good old USA no longer felt comfortable. I love this post from Ryan from Roundwego.com about their homecoming:
“The comforts of home and the same place to lay my head each night is now feeling uncomfortable. Home is where the heart is, so the saying goes. But my soul lies elsewhere. It’s been exiled to the many places we called “home” throughout our travels. It’s spread out among the friends and people we met along the way and somehow has yet to catch up with us.
A very good friend emailed me with two months remaining in my 14 month around the world journey. “Who have you become as a result of your travels?” she asked. The same hard question I’d been asking myself all year long. The problem was I didn’t have the answer. In many ways, I feel supremely sure of who I am, what I want and what I’ve learned. But in many other ways, I am more conflicted than ever before. ”

Isn’t it fascinating that they were coming “home” and yet were facing many of the same conflicting emotions you feel today, but in reverse!
Having been on both sides all I can tell you is that this too shall pass! Keep on dreaming!

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Kim August 10, 2011 at 5:58 pm

Wow, yes, that is really fascinating. I guess you never really are done searching and growing and trying to figure it all out. Better this way than living in a way in which nothing ever changes.

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Jason August 10, 2011 at 3:18 pm

It’s only a house. I understand all of the hard work and great memories that go with it, but it is still only a house. The happy memories are what’s most important. I think it is better to spend less time worrying about possessions and more time making happy memories. You can always buy a house, but you won’t always have the time to pursue happiness.

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Kim August 10, 2011 at 5:59 pm

True… but you know, it is MY house. Yes, I know it is just stuff and I know it is just a house. I know it all logically but emotionally it is hard to make the break. I actually did not expect it to be this hard.

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Marina August 11, 2011 at 6:17 am

Hi Kim, I’ve been reading your blog for awhile but was never compelled to write a comment until now. I’m also planning on traveling for an extended time but not until next year and all I can think about are my possessions – my house, my things, my stuff. This process made me realize how attached I’ve gotten to my things, and this realization has encouraged me to pursue my dreams even more. How much freer would we be without any attachments?

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margot August 14, 2011 at 10:57 pm

Your dogs will be just fine in the apartment. Dogs care about being close to the people they love, and they can live anywhere as long as the humans involved are responsible with walking the dogs and otherwise getting them outside. Given that you’re an avid runner, I’m sure that your dogs will get plenty of outdoor activity outside of the apartment. The dogs are going to be very sad when you leave the country, but hopefully they will come to love their new humans, too.

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Bama October 2, 2011 at 3:03 am

Kim, this is a very powerful piece of writing. I couldn’t agree more with you. It is what we have in heart that matters most.

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Kim October 2, 2011 at 5:46 pm

Thanks, Bama.

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Kera May 8, 2012 at 8:22 pm

I love reading your posts. You touch on many of my fears of the day I decide to travel the world.

This post is especially poignant for me as I have downsized all of my things, sold my house, quit my corporate job, started my own small business and am living on the edge of my seat a bit. Thank you for writing this, with all of my heart. There is a certain part of me that appreciates reading the fears I have gone through. Makes me feel a little less alone.

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Kim May 12, 2012 at 9:57 am

You are definitely not alone!!! It has helped me so much to write about my own fears as those out in the world (like you) will tell me they have the SAME fears and then I feel less alone, too. Doing things that most people don’t do is scary- remember that! But I think it is ultimately more rewarding, too.

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