Moving is a lot like going to therapy. Packing your belongings requires you to go though not just your physical stuff, but your psychological stuff, too. You have to sort through the things you’ve accumulated over the years — the memories and knick-knacks alike.
I’ve only been packing for a few days, but already I’ve sifted through mountains of my personal property. With each new item, the question must be asked: Do I need to bring this? The move is a chance to reinvent myself and what I take versus what I leave behind will go a long way toward defining me in these next steps.
I go through stacks of books. Old textbooks, paperback scifi novels, pulp mysteries, yearbooks, philosophical texts, books about writing books. Pound for pound, my books are the heaviest things I own. Perhaps more than anything else, they have to justify the effort to haul them across country.
I also donated about 20% of my clothes. Shirts that no longer fit, jeans with holes with them and the screen-printed t-shirts with sarcastic sayings that a teenage me used to love. My clothes are an extension of who I am, and who I was. So, with some reluctance, I let some of them go to new homes to make way for a new look in a new city.
At times, I feel overwhelmed. And yet, I’ve barely scratched the surface. There’s still probably 90% of my apartment to dig through and more futures to weigh. My life in Tacoma starts with what I pull out of these boxes on the other end of the trip. I can only hope for the wisdom, focus and common sense to make sure I remember to pack my socks.
— 30 —
Jonny Eberle is a writer and photographer in Flagstaff, AZ. In two weeks, he’ll embark on a one-way trip to the Pacific Northwest to try his luck in Tacoma, WA. You can follow his journey here and on Twitter.