Letting go

Let it go. Weird title for a blog, I admit.

But it had somehow become the mantra of the two years of preparing this journey.

In movies, books and songs, the phrase let it go kept popping up over and over again, sometimes several times a day. So that’s how the name came up..

And Dragonette’s energetic Single ‘Let it go’ provided the soundtrack for it all.

Once I decided I’d go on a trip, I quickly figured I’d let go of my apartment – a big and cosy place –  and put all my stuff in storage.

I just never thought about how much that might cost. But it would be substantial, considering the size of my place and the amount of stuff I had amassed over the years.

I was looking at 2000 Euro minimum for those 15 months, rather more, if I’d keep all my furniture, and rent a temperature controlled space, etc….


So I started a cleaning-out exercise, back in 2011, with my sister.

The deal was to give away five things per week, and justify what, why and where something had to go.

This created an unexpected dynamic; the more I threw out or donated, the more I enjoyed the new space I had.

I have no idea why I had kept so much stuff. Or had bought it in the first place.

I became less and less sentimental about things. Or: I became more brutal.

I sold stuff I never thought I’d part way with, I donated lots of books, clothes. All things I like, but that are, in fact, not vital to me.

And I realized, I did not miss a thing. Not a single regret. On the contrary, I was getting more and more determined.

I also cleaned up a few other things. Let go of some long-gone friends, let go of expectations, let go of grudges… at least I tried.

As the date of departure got closer, and the first things were packed in boxes, the furniture sold off, things really started to clear up. I was boiling down my life to the essentials:

  • stuff for the trip, that would go in one big bag and a carry-on
  • my favorite books
  • my CDs & my design CD racks that I love…
  • my Madonna record collection
  • a few selected clothes for when I return
  • a few things from my kitchen…

That should be it.

Pretty much all furniture was be sold, or donated.


One of my very best friends offered his garage to stack in my boxes. A colleague offered her basement to put some stuff in.

I remember how panicked when I realized that my Madonna vinyl collection alone made up four huge moving boxes. And I’m talking vinyl here, not the CD’s, promos, cassette singles and VHS tapes, let alone the life size cardboard version of the queen herself.

It was the most profound clean-out exercise ever, and it felt like shedding a lot of weight.

I am pretty sure I never want to have as much stuff as I did.

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