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Traveling To Heal

Seattle Skyline view from Queen Anne Hill.

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the way I spend my time and the way that has changed in my recent life. Turning 18 I had a definite goal of getting a website up and running and growing the business. I loved to read marketing books, time management advice and anything that could further that main goal. However, since the death of my father in 2010 I officially stopped pursuing that business. It didn’t feel right anymore, I felt I had done the best I could and that there wasn’t anything more for me to do in that area. The time since that change has been very hard. It’s the first time I’ve felt a major gap laying in the middle of my life. To add to that, I’ve had no clue where to start looking for a repair kit — so to speak. I cannot describe the frustration this can burden a person with, but it is substantial. Maybe you’ve felt it to.

Enter, travel…

A month in Seattle. A few weeks in New Mexico. Now I understand why I needed to GO. I needed to start repairing. There was a sure need to search and look and see. My answers for the first time, were not within me.

Now I’m sure we all are bound to have these difficult times in our lives, and we all will have a tendency to deal with them in one habitual way or another. But when all my usual backups, like reading, watching movies, making cupcakes, and taking long bubble baths did nothing to soothe my lost, depressed, and utterly directionless mood I had to GO. I had to travel. I just couldn’t stay home. It didn’t seem an option anymore.

Wisdom Gathering

I use the term wisdom gathering here on this website to describe this “thing” that I’m doing right now in my life. I feel like I’m picking up pieces of life that feel right to me. Places that feel right. People that feel right… etc. And the only way for me to find these pieces is to feel them out. Test them. It sounds a bit crazy, maybe a bit hard to understand if you’ve never gathered a piece the old fashioned way. It seems a lot easier to have someone hand over the pieces, completely assembled, tell you to integrate them into your life and accept this as your knew wisdom (maybe dogma, in some instances would be a better word to use).

To be continued…

I have more to write on this subject but I’m just curious how many out there have ever felt like they needed to GO… to find something– even if you didn’t know what it was? And tell me about it. I’d love to share your experiences and stories, as we all struggle to put our own pieces together. It’s a tough feeling to have alone and I know I’m not the only one doing this “wisdom gathering” out there. Leave a comment if you’ve ever felt this way too.

March’s Wisdom Gathering Morsels

Ghost Ranch

Image by Josse via Flickr

Fun Thing Of The Month: (I love following my favorite vloggers around on there. Without a stable internet connection in New Mexico I couldn’t watch their videos and that made me really sad.) ¬†Also, singing in the car. (Adele‘s album is amazing for this!)

Lessons I Learned: A little familiarity goes a long way when I’m on vacation. Going to the southwest was completely new and it kind of scared me. The environment was different and I felt out of place. Maybe I went just a little to far from home this time, because I couldn’t have been more excited to come home early when my car started making strange noises. But I did really enjoy seeing the places that inspired Georgia O’Keeffe and her paintings!

Books I Read:

  1. Life After God by Douglas Copeland
  2. Little Nuggets of Wisdom by Chuy Bravo

Movies I Watched:

  1. Limitless
  2. Inception
  3. Winter’s Bone
  4. Battle: LA
  5. Yes, Man

Goals For March:

  1. Read a book. I really need to find something I can enjoy that doesn’t tax my head too much. March will be a relaxing month.
  2. Go on vacation! (I’m heading to Taos, NM.) This one is a biggie and will take up most of my time. I may not have a whole lot of time left to blog, but I will be updating my twitter and all that if you are interested in keeping up with me while I’m away.
  3. Get an iPad 2. NOT DONE: I bought a much more cost effective iPod and can do everything I wanted AND MORE. No iPad for me.

Goals For April:

  1. Celebrate my brother’s birthday.
  2. Get jury duty done and over with.
  3. Fix my laptop battery.
  4. Post at least one Happy Thing.
  5. Get my diploma in order with my school.

Happy Things:

  • Yikes, no time this month to post any new entries for this. I have some footage and stuff that needs editing though. Soon, soon, soon my friends!

Vlogging From The Road – Day One

Roadtrip to Taos - Day 1 (03.14.2011)
Joodie Shy
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Value Pack Your Vacation: Tips For Keeping Your Memories Clutter Free

A scrapbook page featuring a photograph taken ...
Image via Wikipedia

While being here in the Seattle area I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about sentimentality and memories.

I love to document. That is one of the few unwavering qualities I have kept throughout my entire lifespan.

I photograph, write, hoard keepsakes, record, draw, compile, etc!

However this can cause several clutter related issues, mentally and physically.

  1. Every scrap of paper becomes important and it takes up space.
  2. You constantly worry about losing these “things” from your trip.
  3. Over-spending seems rational at the time.
  4. You become wrapped up in the past moments (of time/significance/value).
  5. Being mindful, alert, awake, and conscience becomes an uphill battle.

For example, I’ve been keeping my ferry ride receipts thinking, “Hey now I’ll have all the exact times and dates that I rode the ferry each day!” For some reason “late afternoon” is no where near as valuable as the “3:36 pm” stamped on my reciept. What? Why?

Analyzing the logic behind this reveals the mistake in my thoughts. Do dates, times, accuracy, amounts, digits (or anything that can be quantified) really have more value than being ready for whatever the current moment is holding for you? Is it worth missing out on all the great unexpected things that happen in strange places?¬† This logic leaves regret and clutter waiting for you the moment you set down your bags at home. You’ll accumulate useless items, forget how you were feeling/thinking/sensing and you’ll waste time and money.

I still have a shopping bag full of unused postcards, books, brochures and receipts from a trip I took several years ago to San Francisco. It’s taking up space and making me feel guilty for not “doing something” with it. Sometimes we rationalize “Hey, this will be great for that scrapbook I’m going to make someday!” Yet, I’ve never made a scrapbook in my life, and I’m much more fond of digital organizing anyways.

1. Unless you are a die-hard scrapbooker, the paper is just junk.

Take a photograph of it, or better yet, find the spot on the front of that postcard and photograph yourself right there! Taking pictures is simple, easy, affordable and accessible to everyone these days; why do we still buy postcards with other people’s photos on them? However, there may still be things you need to keep for records or have an actual use for back home, if this is the case…

2. Dedicate a finite amount of space for travel trinkets and papers to bring home.

Be diligent amount what goes in and what doesn’t! Consider it a sacred space (folder, box, envelope, whatever) for only the most irreplaceable items and documents. Some people are collectors, so take that into consideration BEFORE you go on your trip. If you collect sand/dirt samples from around the world bring the jars with you and only take what you can. If you like sea shells bring a small jewelry box or trinket box for these. Press leaves from trees. For all of you sensual people (meaning the 5 senses!) Take a paper rubbing of Lenin’s headstone, or Micheal Jackson’s Hollywood Star. Rub a flower on a postcard you’re sending home (like a scratch-n-sniff). And of course, copy down that recipe for traditional sourdough bread to replicate at home. Then…

3. Store as much digitally as you can.

Easier to retrieve later. Less delicate. Longer lasting (keep backups regularly). Takes up almost no space at all! Really, digitize as much as possible. The zoo map you think you need to reference at some point can be scanned or usually something similar could be found online. But I’ll save the best tip for last…

4. Document as you go, and then forget about it!

Take a picture and then REALLY take it in. Use all of your senses here. Be present. You are in a brand new place and you can define your experience there any way you want. You can get in and out rushing to take all the snapshots to prove you were there and convince everyone how awesome it was OR you could actually just be there and feel amazing the whole time. These days, when you send an email you have a copy archived for a lifetime if you need to reference it. Your photos practically organize themselves by date or location. And with GPS and geo-tagging you can lookup the name of that awesome beach you surfed at later. Enjoy now; your friends will be jealous no matter how well or poorly documented your trip was. (They’ll be dying for your tan/shoes/massage/haircut/whatever long after you stop talking about the trip.)

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All That I Have – Or, My Version Of Decluttered "Suitcase" Living

I’m still miles away from the lists of these simple travel gurus, but I’m chugging along.

This is my own list of items I’m currently living with. This is everything! The rest is in storage and only appropriate for someone with an apartment to furnish. It may look like a lot to you, but simplicity is different for everyone. Example: my 9 nail polishes is WAY simple for me; I usually have 40+ to choose from whenever I feel like it. That being said, I packed my clothing last minute and didn’t pay much attention, so things got a bit out of proportion in that department. I’m proud of where I am and feel I am getting more use out of each object because of the simplicity and lack of choice-paralysis I usually encounter.


  • toothbrush/toothpaste
  • hairbrush
  • lotion
  • OTC medicine kit
  • prescription medications
  • Q-Tips
  • shaving cream/razor
  • hair ties & accessories
  • Kleenex
  • 3 types of perfume
  • Chi hair oil
  • BioSilk
  • hair straightener
  • deodorant
  • basic kit (tweezers, scissors, mirror, chapstick, nail file, Rx lotions, nail clippers, cuticle butter, calming mask, spare nail file)
  • bag of cotton balls
  • nail polish remover
  • 9 nail polishes
  • makeup remover

= 29 items


  • Watercolor kit
  • 2 journals
  • a gazillion books (oops, not counted)
  • sketching kit
  • guide books & maps
  • GPS
  • cellphone
  • 1 teddy bear (yeah!)
  • MacBook Pro
  • Panasonic digital camera
  • water bottle
  • fleece blanket
  • external hard drive
  • projection clock (love it!)
  • noise cancelling headphones
  • 3 spot surge protector
  • computer mouse
  • 2 Netflix movies
  • 2 tripods (one is for irregular surfaces)
  • 1 small jewelry case
  • 1 backpack

= 23 (plus chargers and books left uncounted) items


  • 1 pair flats
  • 1 pair sandals
  • 1 pair boots
  • 1 pair sneakers
  • 1 pair of Keen sandal/walking shoes
  • 1 pair cargo pants
  • 1 wind/rain jacket
  • 1 pink skirt
  • 2 hip-Ts (genius BTW)
  • 4 pairs of jeans
  • 1 hoodie
  • 6 sweater/cardigans
  • underthings
  • 2 belts
  • 3 purses
  • 1 pair of lounge pants
  • 12 shirts
  • 1 dress/coverup
  • 1 swimsuit
  • 1 pair of leggings

= 42 items (underthings not included)

In my day bag/purse

  • 2 lip products
  • sunglasses
  • wallet
  • cases for GPS and camera
  • keys
  • tampons
  • 1 granola bar
  • gum
  • 1 chupa chup lollipop
  • 1 pen
  • card holder

= 13 items

Daisy Stuff

  • 1 food bowl/ 1 water bowl
  • container for food
  • box of training pads
  • brush
  • bags of treats
  • harness & leash
  • spare poo bags
  • special car blanket
  • monthly Heartguard supply
  • sweater she will never wear
  • toys she never plays with
  • moist wipes to keep her clean
  • carrying bag (just in case)
  • extra leash (the extendo kind the rolls up on its own)

= 16 items

Mistakes (not counted, as if I could!)

  • the amount of cosmetics I brought. I cannot even list to you the magnitude of what I own (2 train cases plus 2 bags of brushes plus 1 smaller bag)
  • should have tried on ALL the pairs of jeans I brought… (one pair does not even fit, what a waste of space!)
  • memory card reader/storage hard drive – turns out it’s not compatible with my Eye-Fi memory card
  • travel sheets (turns out they’re not comfy or smooth) – I will try to wash them a few times to increase softness

Misc. (not counted)

  • I brought granola bars with me and bought food along the way
  • dog gate I never used (nowhere to set it up)
  • my shampoo exploded in transit so I’m just using the stuff this B&B has provided
  • SHOULD HAVE BROUGHT: sticky roller, small amount of allergen free detergent & new bottle of Nasacort (my allergies are driving me crazy!)
  • considering buying an air purifier because I cannot pinpoint my allergies here


That’s an estimated 123 items, not including the junk to tedious to count.

From going to suitcase living straight from a large two-bedroom apartment I’d say I did pretty well. And I’m always keeping more than I need to for Daisy because I never want her to be without something she needs at a moments notice. For the next reduction I will work on clothing (mainly tops), books, and my toiletries.

In counting up my posessions I was a bit nervous about how it would turn out. However, I feel really good about the amount of stuff I left back home. As far as technology goes this is the simplest system I’ve ever had, one cellphone, one computer for everything, and one camera (with no accessories either)! I’ve always kept a ton of gadgets around me but this is working out really well. I still feel very connected and I don’t feel like I’m missing a single thing.

The whole point is to find the place of enough.

And I’m much closer to enough than I ever have been in my entire life. It’s more rewarding than it is difficult, but I do struggle with the urge to shop often.

If you had to itemize an area of your life, which would you least want to do? … Purge!