Lauren's Travel Blog: The Soul of a Journey

Counting down: One week to go

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My flight leaves in 7 days, 21 hours. The past two days were the longest of my life.

I’m still clearing out the house, but it’s nearly done. It’s been physically and emotionally grueling. Tearful goodbyes to beloved family heirlooms. A lifetime of possessions sorted, furniture carried down the steps and loaded onto trucks. Living on Tylenol, coffee and ten-minute catnaps and collapsing at sunset. Thank heavens for friends and for my fiancee who was by my side the whole time, patiently loving me through the meltdowns and taking over the bulk of the work when I became overwhelmed.

I’m looking forward to being lighter and free of possessions and responsibilities. Can’t wait to close my bank accounts, stop my auto insurance, cancel the internet bill at the house.

The house hasn’t sold, but my ex wants to rent it until it does. He’ll be getting a great deal, and can return to the neighborhood he loved. I don’t have to worry about paying power bills, leaving the house unattended or hiring someone to care for my yard. So it’s awkward, but a win-win.

I gathered everything I thought should come with me. Compressed all the clothing into stuff sacks and vacuum bags and it was twice as much as would fit. And far too heavy to carry around by myself.

Unpacked, picked over everything, discarded a bunch. Tried again to cram it all into the pack. Close, but not quite — and no time to go over it a third time.

Finally, I broke down and went to REI for new clothes. Now all of my clothing is weightless, bulk-free, and feature-rich. Shirts and pants are SPF 50, wind-, wrinkle-, soil-, water-, and odor-resistant, and super quick drying. All my pants have secret security pockets and some of them will convert into capris or roll up and store themselves inside their own pockets. I spent a fortune — everything I made from selling my dance costumes — but my life for the next few years will be so much better with the right gear.

There’s still a ridiculous amount of work to do in a week: two cars to sell, three bank accounts to close, bills to shut down, cat to relocate, loads to haul away to Goodwill, packages to ship, some furniture to sell, addresses to change, reservations to confirm. I’ve had to become very guarded about social obligations, and had to cancel a few. Sleeping on a futon, without a fork to my name, it takes creativity to get through the days now.

I have to keep working at remembering why I’m doing this. It helped that this morning, the Secret Garden hostel in Quito posted this photograph of the Cotapaxi volcano, a place I intend to return to over the summer.

Can’t turn back now, I have no furniture or dishes. Onward!

Lauren Haas is a nomadic freelance writer. She has been traveling the world, living out of a backpack, since May of 2013. She loves to travel on a budget, learning about different cultures and cuisines.

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