Earlier today I was packing for an upcoming 3 day business trip.
I stopped in my tracks when I realized I’d just packed more for this trip compared to what I brought to the US as a 16 year old moving across the world to start a new life on my own.
My mind was blown, and I’m not ashamed to say, I quickly repacked my bag much more appropriately.
When I arrived in the US at 16 years old, I had spent 4 days and 5 nights traveling on my own.
It was supposed to be a 2 day trip. I should have known that buying the cheapest ticket on a sketchy airline would mean endless delays and reroutes!
The airline put me up in a hotel for one night, but refused to do so for the remaining nights. I couldn’t really do much about it, so I slept on the lovely airport floors for a couple nights.
Thanks to the generous airline, I also got a voucher for one meal and a drink to hold me over for the next 4 days.
I didn’t want to spend ANY of my precious money on food while traveling – I only had 155 dollars in my pocket, and this money was going to have to last until I could get a job.
I had four granola bars in my bag, and I drank out of the airport water fountains whenever I’d get really hungry.
I eventually caved on day 3 and bought the cheapest airport food I could find. In 4 days and 3 countries, I only spent a little over $6.50.
I did also get given a free bag of candy by a concerned looking lady. She probably caught me staring at her son enviously while he ate. True story.
Airline food never tasted so freaking AMAZING! Most of my flights only came with one meal, but that was better than nothing. I also got unlimited free water, coffee and tea!!!
When I packed for the US, I left everything to my friend except for what I could fit into a large backpack.
I brought three outfits – two pairs of jeans, one pair of black pants, and three shirts. I also had a black jacket, two books, some personal items, and my wallet, passport, SSN and birth certificate.
I didn’t want to bring anything else with me, partly because it reminded me of the cult and also because I didn’t want to pay to check a bag.
I think of what I came to this country with, and then I compare it to everything I have now.
I don’t like shopping (okay I hate it), I really dislike clutter, and by all normal American consumerist standards, our house doesn’t have a ton of stuff. I love the feeling of a clean, uncluttered, open space.
My friends are always commenting how uncluttered our house looks, and jokingly asking where we store all our stuff.
But when I look around and see the things I’ve accumulated over the years (way more furniture than we actually need, electronics, TONS of kitchen stuff, clothes I don’t even wear, makeup and hair products, fancy luggage, hundreds of books, etc), I wonder how the hell I ended up with all of this junk.
I probably only need 25% of it. I bet I wouldn’t even miss the rest of it.
I’m 31 years old, and I don’t want to spend the best years of my life earning more money so I can buy things that I don’t need or even want.
My goal for the rest of the year is to go through everything I own, and either donate or sell anything I could comfortably and happily live without.
I can’t undo the decision I made to buy these products, but I’m determined to evaluate every single purchase I make from here on out very closely.
If my quality of life won’t be drastically improved by buying this thing, it stays in the store!
I know my savings account will thank me :o)