My eBay inventory and art supplies--all of my work life--
ready to be transferred into the "basement" of the Beluga
I've been looking back at my blog posts from just over two years ago, when I was getting ready to leave Oregon and travel indefinitely (or so I thought at the time) in the Guppy, my 22-foot 1982 Toyota Dolphin Class C motorhome.
It was hard to downsize then, and it's still hard now, even though I have less stuff and I'm more experienced with the process.
Fortunately, I have learned a lot about how to do this over the past couple of years. An essential thing I've become very aware of is the need for self-acceptance.
I am not, by nature, a well-organized person in all aspects of my life. Some, yes. I'm really good at organizing my eBay inventory and getting the stuff that sells packed up and mailed pronto! I'm good at organizing my kitchen cupboards and coming up with creative ways to use up food. And, once I actually get around to making myself do it, I'm good at filing important papers.
But in the more creative parts of my life, such as my art supplies, ooh, boy! That's a different story.
Being a mixed media artist, I see the potential in all sorts of odd stuff. An empty banjo case discarded in an alley is a treasure, even though I don't play the banjo. It's the armature for a collage/sculpture tribute to Steve Martin. A tired old rococo shelf can be brought back to life with some papier mache and gilding. You can add legs to antique glass windows and make them into fabulous shabby chic coffee tables.
So...in one year in my Truth or Consequences apartment, I managed to amass the goods to make at least 20 cool art projects that never happened.
Now, in anticipation of moving into the Beluga, my 35-foot 1991 Holiday Rambler Class A motorhome and traveling for the summer, I've had to get rid of a lot of the things I'd hoped to make into art.
I've become okay with the fact that I drag home things that I dream of making into artwork, and I've become equally okay with the fact that I sometimes have to later say goodbye to those same materials and fantasies. That's just who I am. It may make my life more complicated, but there's no shame or sorrow in it anymore. Just a little frustration until I remember, "Oh, yeah, this is just what I do."
I've learned a lot in these past few years about taking responsibility for myself and my possessions. My boyfriend Steve has more clear and healthy boundaries than anyone I've ever been involved with before. Even though he's a guy with a pickup truck, he doesn't jump to rescue me when I need my stuff moved from one place to another. He gently points out that I make my own choices. And this has helped me to really grow up, finally.
I made a decision today that some of my heavier art supplies will go into storage here in TorC. The Beluga is big enough to handle everything I own, even my mosaic tiles and drywall mud carving materials, but I don't anticipate using any of the heavy stuff while I'm on the road. I have a couple of solo art shows coming up next winter for which I'll be doing some lighter work (collage and painting) while I'm on the road.
Another aspect of self-acceptance I've had to learn about downsizing is that I need to stay entertained while I'm doing it! So I've watched lots of DVD movies these past couple of weeks while sitting and sorting through my stuff, and I've picked out some lighter reading than usual for when I need a break from packing.
I've also been doing what I can to make the rest of life easy while I go through this process--I've had simple-to-prepare foods available so I can throw together a meal quickly, and I've gone out to eat more often than usual.
Steve has had the Beluga at his place in Arizona since I purchased it last month, and he'll be bringing it here to TorC in a few days. My landlord has already found another tenant, so the sooner I'm out of the apartment, the better. I'll get a little of my rent back, plus the deposit once the place is all clean.
The plan is that we'll spend about a month here, getting acclimated to the new rig and how everything works, and then hit the road. I'm excited! I'm looking at maps, asking people about places they've been, and daydreaming.
We do not have a set itinerary. We may make it up to the Pacific Northwest to see family and friends there, and we may get over to Minneapolis for my 40th high school reunion in August.
However, if we find someplace along the way where my Verizon internet connection works really well for my eBay work and where Steve is happy fishing or treasure hunting, maybe we'll just sit in one place for the rest of the summer. We're planning to truly take our travels one day at a time. I do know that we will aim first for the Mogollon Rim.
Don't forget me, Mom!