I have now been living overseas in SE Asia for 7 years. We made our first big move December 30, 2013 to Bangkok with two 50lb suitcases for each of us (four total). We carried clothes, shoes, toiletries and medical type supplies, special knickknacks for our new home (specially chosen ones), important papers for visa paperwork, laptops, and other miscellaneous but important items. Over these 7 years, we have lived basically the same way. We have what we need and enjoy, and, at the same time, my supply is carefully chosen and kept at a minimal amount. The days of storing the Christmas tins, having loads of blankets, pillows, and other bedding are behind me.
But I must say my thoughts on this minimalist lifestyle have recently been challenged. I have met some new expats in my city who live their life very differently. They have other options available to them, like the use of containers to ship their furniture and household goods wherever they live overseas. They have larger homes with kitchens in the Western style that is as fully equipped as we are used to in the States (including a dishwasher!!).
One side of me thinks back to life as I use to live it in my US home. Then I think of life here. It has taken adjustments, but the simpler way of life has come to suit me. I like being more thoughtful about the things I keep and store. I like having less things and a smaller area to keep clean. I do know that I want my space to be a comfortable space. I do want my space to be filled with things that remind me of special people and fill me with special thoughts from my life. I do want my space to be welcoming to others. And I must say that I like pretty things!
I would also say that, by having met these new expat friends with more stuff, I have realized I could allow myself a few more things. (Hahaha!) What does that look like? Finding Glade solid air fresheners that give my closets, bathrooms, etc. a nice smell. I found the apple cinnamon scent here, and I have been buying and storing them (you truly may not find this again!). I bought myself a couple more pillows/cushions to enjoy and use for floor sitting. I bought a couple more blankets/throws to have for guests and to just enjoy ourselves. And I have another item on my wish list to help with my kitchen space management. So it has been good to expand some and feel the happiness of making my home more beautiful and comfortable.
For many years, even before my expat living, I found it good to de-clutter my home and my life at times. As we are approaching the end of this year, this can be a good time to re-evaluate our stuff. This stuff may be actual things we own. Or this stuff maybe attitudes, disappointments, expectations…you get the idea…that you continue to carry around with you. Here are some questions that could help us truthfully think about our stuff.
I call this “de-cluttering” of life and stuff -- Living Free.
Cindy writes about her adventures, observations, and other nuggets from living in another nation. She and John live in SE Asia. She will also share nuggets from her 58 plus years of life.