Moving to the Caribbean: Step One - Packing
Note: This post was written prior to our departure. We're already on the road and heading to Miami!
Two more weeks. It’s actually happening. We're moving to St. Croix, USVI in two weeks. We’ve been talking about this for a year now – why don’t I feel more ready? Oh I know – because we have SO MUCH STUFF.
Lately I’ve been in the zone of “having so many things to do that you actually just end up doing none of them” and it’s getting out of hand. Last week, I was lying in bed and couldn’t sleep. I picked up my tablet and started scrolling through free e-books on Amazon. I came across Marie Kondo’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”. Ok, ok – this could be perfect. Alex and I are going to need some serious magic to get this situation under control in the limited time that we have.
After reading just the introduction, I quickly realize this chick is serious and just what we need to kick it into high gear. Over the last few years, Alex and I have each moved around a few times. Somehow those random, half empty bottles of hotel shampoo that I picked up on a trip five years ago have made it through each and every one. I’m determined to not let this happen again.
Before we really dive in to the sorting and packing, there are a few limiting factors to our move that we need to keep in mind, and also a few pluses:
We are flying, not driving. Everything has to fit into 4 checked bags and some carry-on items. (Our scuba gear and the fishing poles alone takes up two of the four bags.)
We’re going from a two-bedroom apartment to basically a studio.
Our kitchen has maybe like…two cabinets.
We only need clothes for one season. Hello, 85 degrees all year round!
Most things we don’t bring can be easily purchased on the island.
We could always have our families ship some things down to us through USPS if we really need it. (Like my ten cheese boards I’m reluctantly leaving behind.)
Alex’s family conveniently has a warehouse that we can store anything that we really want to keep for years down the road.
With the KonMari Method’s help over the next two weeks, Alex and I will constantly be asking ourselves, “Does this spark joy?” and attempting to hold on to only the things we really love and need. Everything that no longer serves its purpose has got to go. It's been such a freeing process, but also a bit exhausting. It's crazy how much stuff you can accumulate when you have the storage space. We are so looking forward to scaling down and having a smaller space to take care of - just big enough for what the two of us need.
One of the method’s first steps is “visualizing your destination and what your ideal lifestyle looks like”. That’s been our driving force through this whole process – we can’t wait to arrive in St. Croix and start from scratch, building a life on the island with thought and intention.
Another thought that keeps ringing in my ears is this quote below from "A Gentleman in Moscow" by Amor Towles. He really nails the description of how things tend to outweigh personal experience these days and it's easy to get lost in it. Sometimes you need to get rid of everything and start over to remember the truth.
"From the earliest age, we must learn to say good-bye to friends and family. We see our parents and siblings off at the station; we visit cousins, attend schools, join the regiment; we marry, or travel abroad. It is part of the human experience that we are constantly gripping a good fellow by the shoulders and wishing him well, taking comfort from the notion that we will hear word of him soon enough.
But experience is less likely to teach us how to bid our dearest possessions adieu. And if it were to? We wouldn't welcome the education. For eventually, we come to hold our possessions more closely than we hold our friends. We carry them from place to place, often at considerable expense and inconvenience; we dust and polish their surfaces and reprimand children for playing too roughly in their vicinity - all the while, allowing memories to invest them with greater and greater importance...Until we imagine that these carefully preserved possessions might give us genuine solace in the face of a lost companion. But of course, a thing is just a thing."
So the bottom line is, my goal of becoming a minimalist, free spirit that’s no longer tied down to “things” may finally come true! It’s only taking a 1,518-mile move to make it happen.
Once we sort out the final details of packing, we'll begin our drive down to the Miami airport with a few fun stops along the way. Here’s to starting fresh and new adventures!