“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”

Lao Tzu

Tao Te Ching

Krista and I are very grateful for the opportunity we allowed to come our way. I’m retired full time now and Krista retires this summer after 20 years at the bank. Together we planned the trip of a lifetime with the driving thought behind it being we deserve this.

Originally we planned on putting our furniture and things in long term storage for a year and now we’re keeping only those things that add joy to our lives. We both carry a lot of pain in our hearts and a spiritual purge is what we each need to reset ourselves and our journey. Krista has had a job since she was 17 so having time for herself to spend on herself will be nice to see.

We’ve been looking at Tiny Homes in British Columbia once we’re back from Mexico. They’re just the right size for us and we can help with the design before we get one built. Moving from a three bedroom house in Halifax to a one bedroom apartment in Toronto didn’t present us with any issues so size isn’t something we worry about.

It does leave us with an apartment full of furniture we won’t be taking and a chance to truly start fresh. We’ll be donating most of what we own and giving the rest away. Of course everyone has things they don’t want to part with and we’re no exception. The trick we’re using is each of us will pack a bankers box of keepsakes and that’s about it besides the art we’ve collected during our travels. Everything else has to go.

When we leave this summer we’ll have our outfitted car, a few boxes stored at my brothers place in Ottawa, and nothing else. A year without a home is seriously outside the comfort zone but we are so excited to get going. Just us, our pug Alice, and a year to go anywhere we want to in North America.

So we obviously need to throw a bunch of stuff away. Clothes we can donate (Krista is giving her work clothes to a woman’s centre), kitchen stuff and most of our furniture goes to charity, and the remainder probably gets tossed.

I’m not looking forward to some of this because I have emotional attachment issues. Going over Rehtaeh’s things and seeing what to keep and what can go is heartbreaking. I still have lots of her art, her writing, and all the small things she had that meant something to her.

My plan is to start small and not overwhelm myself with grief. Purging can be good for the heart and soul and there is really nothing that can replace the memories I have. We did this when we left Halifax a few years ago and still brought a ton of things with us we haven’t even looked at. So why drag it around?

We’re keeping what brings us joy and makes us smile. Everything will have a place and a purpose in our new home. We’ll pick up every single thing we own and ask ourselves, do we need this and does it bring our lives happiness?

If not, it’s gone. It feels very freeing to make choices like that.

 The Metropolitan Museum of Art

New York, NY