As a traveler December 6, 2022 No Comments

Starting Over—Strangers in a Strange Land

Starting over, next to nothing left, at least in the way of stuff. After 25 years on the road, buying, selling, giving it all away, donating, and even leaving quality crap  alongside the road (on Vashon), we’ve deep sixed more than one or two household’s worth of eclectic, priceless heirlooms, and are down to the bare bones.

The final cleansing occrued on Vahson, just before our move to Norway, thinking we wouldn’t be needing anything essentail for years. In this, continuing our decades old cathartic neurosis, our judgement turned out to be questionable.When I say nothing, I mean nada, zip, niente, zippo. We had to order a bed which good friends set up for us so we’d have a place to crash upon arrival, but that’s about it, except for some plates and silverware and books we still have in a small storage unit. At least this time, with just 648 sq feet of space, we don’t have to worry about fitting it all in. Finally, our junk does not control our lives in any way.

Once before in Hong Kong, we had a flat with just 500 sq feet, and by the end of a year, thought one of us would have to throw the other out the window. We knew then, at least we thought we knew, we could never live in such close proximity again. Wrong once more. Our decision to come home now, with Susan trying out semi or full retirement, we knew we’d have to sacrifice the big footprint and the life of luxurious expat living we had grown used to.

Next step, shopping for essentials. I started my search this morning, two days from our departure—although, unbeknownst to me, Susan started hers weeks ago. Using search terms like old furniture, used furniture, kitchen stuff, etc. my searches went nowhere, leading me to more up-to-date search terms like, vintage, antique, recycled, and previously owned. Old crap, junk, and second-hand shit also went nowhere. Low and behold her loveliness, much more attuned to online shopping, was already using web sites like Wayfair, Overstock, World Market, and West Elm, not to mention Amazon. While I slept, she started going wild with orders that multiplied exponentially. I was so focused on a list of 40,000 other items to get us the hell and gone, her shopping exploits went unnoticed—until.

When messages from our new apartment started arriving, from a service they call Concierge, we were informed that way more than a shitload of packages had begun arriving. When I looked more closely, at least on Amazon, low and behold, my honey had been busy, busy, busy. In my great admiration for her great good sense, stuff like shower curtains and dish towels were among the orders, things I never would have thought of, still trying to understand what it is to truly start over.


As soon as we have a day or two to sort out our jet lag, we will hit the road, top down in Susan’s VW convertible, and go shopping—another fabulous, unique experience, like ones we have always craved, but in lands far away, with much bigger budgets. I did find a couple of quality offerings for our walls, embedded in this post, but I’m not sure this will be to Susan’s taste. I might have to be flexible.

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