Expat Experience: Starting
With about 17 months to go in our life here in the USA we’ve started making definitive moves. Our plan has us abandoning our American lifestyle for something simpler, more mobile, and focused on experiential living. We plan to have experiences rather than things.
We are selling everything. By everything, I mean almost everything. At this point maybe we’ll have a small carton of things that will be forwarded to us in a couple of years. Albums of photos, documents, maybe a camera or two. That’s about it. A reasonable question would be if we don’t need for a couple of years, do we need it all? We’ll cross that bridge when it comes. First we have to get down to that level. Right now we have a house plus all the stuff that goes with that in Southern California.
I’ve started selling off photo equipment and digging through a storage bin that I still have. The contents that that bin need to be gone by March for the sake of my sanity. It’s a small piece of the accumulation of a lifetime of stuff. I was looking at the contents the other day and realized that there are things in there that I couldn’t care less about. Most of those things have almost zero value; they’ll probably go in a dumpster.
There are other things that have some sentimental value. Like my fishing rods. One in particular which was my dad’s rod that became mine. It’s nothing special in terms of the fishing pole, I had it re-wrapped and eyeletted in the 80s so I could use it. In considering what to do with that rod, I thought about giving it away to a friend or simply yardsailing it.
The reason for keeping it has become unclear to me. I’ve not fished in a small river, pond, or lake since moving to Southern California in 1996. That’s what the rod is for. I can remember catching my first fish with my dad around 1965 in Hartford Canal near Woodriver, Il. I think today the canal has reverted to the historical name of Woodcreek. Anyway it was a dogfish, well below the keeper size and not really an eating fish; we threw it back. It wasn’t on that same rod, but my dad was fishing with that rod at the time.
Question is whether the memories are with the rod or with me. In my mind, I don’t need the rod to have the memory just as vivid. Perhaps the rod is a memory aid, to remind me of those times when they are far from my present. The fear is loosing the ability to realize a memory is there to be refreshed and enjoyed without a talisman to trigger it.
I’m preparing to take that chance; that the memory will disappear to lack of triggering. I think it won’t. I’ll be looking a little creek in the Pyrenese in a few years at it’ll take me back to that day on Woodcreek with my dad and fishing rod. Most of my things are like that. The memory is avialable out there in the world for remembering.