Books, Featured, Inside My Head

Getting Rid of It to Travel

8 Comments 11 December 2012

Holiday Shopping in Sydney

This is the season for shopping – it’s impossible to escape the marketing overload in December! November is for giving thanks, January is for purging bad habits – and December is for accumulating. Ever since I started traveling, I don’t really do any holiday shopping or give out holiday gifts. Mainly because traveling has taught me one important thing –people (and specifically myself) don’t need 85% of what they think they need. However I understand – it’s fun to give and get gifts – seriously – I am no Grinch. But I have chosen to give experience gifts sort of like what I’m doing for my nieces. I’d rather take them somewhere rather than get them more stuff.

One of the questions I get asked all the time is “How do you do it – how do you travel and support yourself?” One of my strategies is to simply not have much to support which equates to not having much stuff. After my initial career break I came back to the US after 16 months, took one look at my apartment that I had sublet and realized – I didn’t miss any of it. Nothing. So if I didn’t miss it then why keep it – why let it weigh me down.

I decided to get rid of it – free myself and keep traveling and see if it was possible to turn this passion into a career. Over the next 3 months I purged practically everything. I used Craig’s List as my pusher and I watched as things – things that I had worked close to two decades to accumulate – walked out my door so that I could achieve my goals and flexibility.

My past life of stuff…

Getting rid of it…selling it via Craigs List

This is what makes it possible for me to travel – I keep my expenses low by not having a home or much stuff.

Ok – not everyone wants to or needs to be as extreme as me.
But if you are:

• looking to break free of our consumption society
• someone who really wants to save money
• wanting travel more or travel longer term
• looking for a have a flexible location independent lifestyle then having less makes sense.

And quite frankly, after traveling around the world and seeing how other cultures live, I can’t help but think we don’t need all of this stuff. We are conditioned to always want more in our lives and never be satisfied, but I say let’s strive for less.

The Book That Will Get You There

My friends Warren and Betsy Talbot from Married with Luggage decluttered and downsized their life in order to achieve their goal of traveling. They put together their best advice, tips, and methods on how they did it into a book called Getting Rid of It. The book is not simply how to purge EVERYTHING – as they know that people who do that are probably in the minority. It is simply about how to have less – whether it’s 20% less, 50% less or 80% less. I didn’t really have any guidance when I purged my stuff, but I would have loved some as I probably could have made more money and got rid of it quicker!

Getting Rid of It includes:

  • Super advice and tips on how to use Craigs List and Ebay to sell things online
  • Dissection of each room in your house and tells you how to de-clutter it and get rid of things you aren’t using.
  • Detailed weekend projects so that you can feel like you actually accomplished something in a weekend.
  • Tips on how to stay motivated and not get sidetracked
  • How to mentally approach and downsize sentimental items
  • Creative ways to get rid of things and give your items a good home.

My favorite part of the book is when they provide tips and exercises on how to determine what you are using and what is simply taking up space in each room. I could have used this for my big closet full of clothes years ago!

My advice on what to buy this holiday season is simple – buy this book on how to get rid of you excess of stuff. And when you get done with the book – give it away! It’s the gifts that keeps giving!

Getting Rid of It by Betsy and Warren Talbot
Available at Amazon on Kindle and paperback
Cost: $4.99 Kindle  $7.99 Paperback
(by the way – I like Warren and Betsy so much that I will be hiking the Lycian Way with them for 5 weeks in November 2013.  Want to get rid of your stuff and join us?!)


Product links above are affiliate links; I will earn a small commission from any books purchased.

Your Comments

8 Comments so far

  1. I love the second apartment picture where you are down to a lawn chair and TV tray table! That was us in the end too…a filing cabinet/dining table/coffee table and sleeping on the sofa bed. Love it!

  2. I am so with you on the idea of giving experiences as gifts, Sherry. Taking someone to a show, strolling around a few galleries, having lunch together somewhere interesting or trekking to a park they otherwise wouldn’t bother to go to alone, is the gift of companionship – and memories, especially if you bring along a camera:) ‘Face time’ is in such short supply these days, it sure is the best gift of all.

  3. Lindsey says:

    I wish I’d known about this book a couple of months ago when I started purging my things – it sounds incredibly useful. I love the feeling of freedom that grows as my stuff becomes less and less :)

  4. Lori says:

    for the last few years, I have given my son experiences instead of gifts for special occasions, to me it means so much more than a physical item, he will have the memories for a lifetime. Anytime he mentions somewhere he wants to visit, I work to accomplish it. We will be exploring San Francisco in May for 4 days as part of his graduation gift. I even started this with my god-daughter for her birthday this year, granted it wasn’t a big trip but we went to the movies and shopping (8 years old) of course she wants to shop, but I plan to continue this each year gradually building up the experiences. I would rather she remember the time we spent together than the gifts I bought her.

  5. Melody says:

    Getting rid of things is so liberating, yet as an American, I am so conditioned to feel like I need more “stuff”. Getting rid of things I don’t need and not buying as much stuff I don’t need have helped me save towards travel but I still have a ways to go. I look forward to reading your friends book to help me more with getting rid of things I don’t need. Thanks!

  6. I was literally just thinking about how I need to consolidate! Did you find it hard to release your possessions?

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Sherry traveling the world

I'm Sherry, a corporate cube dweller turned nomadic traveler. I travel to off-the-beaten-path destinations to bring you unique travel experiences and photography. But it's not just about travel, it's also about life experiences of a middle age wanderer.
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Where am I and Where am I going?

Minnesota/Wisconsin -> Nebraska

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