Friday, July 30, 2010

Shedding feathers

My "Rolls Royce"
I love my car! I hate driving , but my "Rolls" is one of the very few possessions I now value, together with an old-fashioned Nokia (I'm sure it doesn't even have a number), my digital camera and my Dell Inspirion mini. And, apart from the car (!!), they all fit into my bag and I'm ready to go.

Traveling a lot, first with my family and then on my own, I realized how much stuff we had accumulated and how much there was to give away each time the packers were called in. And with each move you shed some feathers and grow some new ones. We love hanging on to souvenirs, mementos, clothes, shoes, things... that we hang, display, don't wear anymore and generally exhibit, hide and stuff here and there around our homes.

A few years ago, on embarking on yet another move from one flat to another -- and planning to relocate to Dubai -- I decided not to unpack. I would camp! And when you shed feathers, there are some you realize you should have kept... but Oxfam was certainly pleased. I ran back to the charity shop once searching for my favorite leather jeans that I thought would be too hot for Dubai. No chance! They were gone!

There is, of course, some stuff I couldn't part with -- like my dad's collection of pipes; my mother's Limoges and Opaline vases, boxes and plates; a camphor chest which takes you back in time with its sweet smell whenever opened, containing a gold-threaded black abaya, about 10 meters long, that a Saudi princess once gave my mum; my Barbie dolls, in their original pink case with all the little shoes, bags, accessories and outfits; the picture albums... enough for a Mich Antiques Shop, sometime!

With all that in storage, or rather in a friend's garden at the moment, it's quite liberating to have just the essentials. You realize how little you actually need, and that apart from family and friends, their welfare and good health, not much is really important. It's lucky if they are close, but once their photos are spread around, even a tent becomes home.

And so, my car takes me from A to B -- and when I feel very courageous to C. With my mobile I can always hear the voice of loved ones, no matter how far. My digital camera lets me record events and share them. And my Dell, well... something that small has opened up the world to me, changed my life in so many ways and here I am talking to you!!

So until I get to that place where I can at last hang my hat and take my flip flops off, these feathers are fine and camping is fun too.