back from vacation and back in the saddle

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We arrived home from our two week vacation yesterday, and we’re all getting back into the routine of being at home.  On Tuesday, as we prepared to hit the road and packed the trunk of our car, it occurred to me that it was filled with a lot of stuff.  We had acquired some things while on vacation (namely, an entire junior golf club set) and it showed in the fullness of the trunk of our car.  Why is it so hard to make plans to take very little on vacation and then end up doing the total opposite?  I suppose the truth lies in the reality that it’s human nature to fill a space if it is available.  If I have a big suitcase, I’m likely to fill it to the brim, rather than leaving it half full.  Same goes for the trunk of the car.  Oof.

Having had a couple of weeks to ruminate about life, I realized a few more things while on vacation:

  • Practicing minimalism requires having some faith.  I’m a bit obsessive about what I take on vacation.  I feel more comfortable if I take everything in my medicine cabinet.  That alone has got to be a sickness.  I need to practice having more faith. Faith that if my kids get sick or hurt, there will be a drugstore nearby to get anything they might need.  Having faith is a good practice in daily life, and particularly practical if you are an aspiring minimalist who desirous of a contented life.
  • When you get bored on vacation, it’s easy to fall back into old (read: bad) shopping habits.  Spending time at the local shopping mall was a huge draw while we were on our holiday.  In a city known for its fabulous summer weather, Kelowna did not have beach-worthy weather for the first half of our stay.  In fact, most days were filled with clouds, rain and thundershowers.  We spent a good portion our vacation close to home and the kids had a lot of fun playing in my parents’ back yard, but eventually the lure of the mall won out in the early part of week two.  I realize how lucky we are to live in Vancouver where there are so many other things to do than hit up the mall in a moment of boredom or desperation.
  • We’re lucky to live in a city where we don’t have to get in a car in order to leave home and experience the wonders of the world.  We’re so fortunate to live in an amazing, vibrant community with parks, an ocean, playgrounds, and walking paths just outside our front door.  I’ll admit I take the convenience of all the amenities of our neighbourhood for granted, and I found it a hassle to get in a car with two kids in car seats every time we wanted to go somewhere while we were on vacation.  I’m so grateful for the location of our current home and I am loving the city life more than ever right now.
  • When everyone you know lives in 2000+ square feet, it becomes easier to rationalize the idea of moving into a larger space.  My husband has been tossing around the idea of moving out of the city in a few years, and so we checked out some neighbourhoods in Kelowna where we might be interested in living. Potentially.  It’s a sad realization that most homes that have been built in the last 10 years are over 3,000 square feet.  I’m just not sure that we need all that space, but maybe ask me again in 5-10 years when my two boys are in their teenage years.
  • Suitcases were designed to facilitate us taking more “stuff” with us when we travel.  It’s official: I hate suitcases.  My husband received two suitcases as a gift upon graduating from university over ten years ago and we’ve used them faithfully for our annual vacations.  But they weigh a ton.  And they’re huge.  And I just end up taking more stuff with me on my trip because, hey, there’s that extra space in there that I could use for something.  Which leads me to my next point…
  • You will always need less than you have packed for your trip.  I took twenty or so items of clothing with me and didn’t get a chance to wear them all in two and a half weeks.  I also took four pair of shoes and only wore two of them.  I’m going to be packing lighter for our next trip, and knowing that we have access to laundry facilities, I’ll probably need to take only half as much as I took for myself and the kids for our last trip.

I put a little pressure on myself before we left on vacation to complete my decluttering challenge of ridding our home of 4022 items, and I managed to accomplish my goal!  I’ll be continuing to declutter our home as need be, but most of my efforts will be put towards continuing to stem the tide of things coming into our home.  My oldest has a birthday coming up in the next two weeks and I’ll be exploring options for a minimalist birthday party, so stay tuned for that post coming soon.

I’m hoping to re-strategize for a week-long trip we have coming up at the end of the months and do things a little differently.  I won’t be taking my suitcase, and I’ll be taking about half as much clothing for myself and the kids as I took on this most recent vacation.

Do you like to travel light?  Or do you bring everything and the kitchen sink?

 

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