How to Fit 5 Years of Your Life Into a Suitcase

I recently moved from my beloved home in France. After 5 long glorious years living as an expat, everything came to a standstill then it all came crashing down.

I had the daunting task of packing up my life and putting it in a suitcase…

This is by no means a simple task. The psychological effect of deciding to pack up and leave a place where you called home after 5 years is impactful. Even if you are excited for your next move.

So how does one fit 5 years of life into a (tiny) 20kg suitcase you may ask?

Throw it all away. Everything.


And prepare for disaster.

To top it off, I – Collector of ALL things – decided that I would eschew my option of TWO checked bags for just one. I dunno what came over me.

My dear friend, who flew over from Germany to hang out and say goodbye (#aaawww), asked if I was on some kinda “spiritual minimalism” with this “one suitcase” mantra that I was chanting the week before I left. He sat in awe confusion and wondered “wat di ass” was going on with me. I am pretty sure he decided at that very moment that I was officially the craziest. He was kind, though, as he attempted to offer me advice on the best packing strategy he used for when he’s moving to a new country. I was not having it. Mostly he listened and helped me sort through my belongings and emotions. Because who was I kidding? Leaving was as stressful as packing.

travelwanderwish-the room exhibit-paris-france
Posing with award winning John Thackwray in Paris for his photography exhibition “My Room Project”, showcasing how people all across the world live, from the view of their bedrooms.

I embraced Minimalism and chugged along.

With that mantra, I made FOUR trips to the Charity Relais to fill up an entire charity drop-off box of clothes. I threw out 5 garbage bags of more clothes. And I enlisted the help of my waaaaay more organised friend to help me de-clutter.

And with all of that, I STILL left an almost fully furnished apartment for the next renter.

Oy vey!

But seriously, I learnt a few things about travelling and prioritising from this packing nightmare adventure:

  1. You don’t need so much stuff.
    Really, you don’t.
    Let me be the first to say that I love my stuff. But I realised that all of it is just Noise. Do I really need a second pair of black shoes? Or a third blazer? Or the myriad of tops I almost never wear? No, I don’t. And you don’t either.
    After finally fitting everything into 2 suitcases, it was lightweight and freeing. Plus it leaves more space to buy more stuff. Kidding!

  2. Moving is so easy now!
    Packing and unpacking is now a 1 hour affair *tee-hee* Need I say more?

  3. The Experience is what really matters.
    Your memories (and a few pictures), special events, friendships formed and how they have all changed you are what really counts towards your happiness and well-being. This is all you need to fit in your suitcase.



So forget all the baggage and extra stuff…throw it all away!

Are you a “throw it all away” type of person, or are you more likely to overpack?




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