Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Double-Barrelled Packing

I'm sitting in my room now and it's nearly empty. There are still the paintings on the wall that my roommate made, but my maps of Buenos Aires and Argentina are down. Most of my clothes are either packed up or at the laundromat. A suitcase lies opened and nearly full, while a large backpack contains a few t-shirts and a sweater. I'm getting ready to move again, and once again I'm packing my life up.

I'm getting better at this. 8 major moves in the last year and a half. 8 times I have packed up my life and started over, unpacked it all, packed it all up again, and moved on to call somewhere else home. Starting in May, 2008, I packed up my college life and headed home. In August I prepared for the move to Quito, and shortly there after my short lived move to Machala. Packed up again in Quito and then on to Cuenca.

I stayed in Cuenca the longest, and once I left there for home again and got settled in, it was time to leave again. This time for Argentina, arriving in La Boca for a month. Next I moved up north to the Microcentro. And after 4 months I'm on the move again, this time farther north to Palermo. A real life Argentinian Horatio Alger. Rags to riches, moving on up. But for how long this time?

I had my bags nearly ready in under an hour, with the majority of it packed up in under 30 minutes. Remember those questions they used to ask us in school? If your house was on fire and you could only take one thing, what would it be? I think I'm a fast enough packer now that I could take it all and still have time for smores. What kind of a nomad have I become? I don't want to get to a place where I feel the need to move after getting settled, but there seems to be an incessant need to find something else. Not necessarily "pata caliente" but a want to feel comfortable. So far I haven't found the niche.

A life without furniture, it's kind of sad to think that your whole life can be summed up in a couple of bags, but then again, it has the power to make you more agile, if it doesn't all weigh you down, anyway. I had to think of two things for this big pack. Not only am I moving out by the end of this week, but I'm also going to Patagonia with my parents for 2 weeks on Sunday. They arrive to Buenos Aires on Saturday, and so one bag will stay in Buenos Aires with mostly work clothes, while the backpack comes with me, filled with Tees and casual gear.

It kind of adds a different feeling to the long term packing, because at least one bag stays for me to pick up eventually. "Well pick up your gear and gypsy, run..." I'm back on the road soon, but still have a place to come back to in Buenos Aires. Even though that might not be an apartment I can call a home yet, it's a place in mind, which I've come to understand as more of a home than an actual place with walls and windows.


Justin said...

It doesn't sound sad to me, it sounds like pure adventure! Maybe this life of suitcases and moving seems arduous, but remember how easy it is to get stuck in a rut and become sedentary! And how miserable that is to our kind! No, we chose a different path (not without it's tribulations) because we need freedom of movement, at least for now.

In a few months, I'll be stuffing my meager worldly possessions into a bag and shipping them home by slow boat. The rest I'll wrestle into a pack and haul them on my back where ever I go.

I'm thinking of a Modest Mouse lyric, "do you need a lot of what you got to survive?"

Stay in good spirits, my friend!


- Justin

Jon said...

Hey Justin,

Good to hear from you again, it's been a while. You're right about getting stuck in a rut, and how awful that can feel. It's easy to forget about the joys of movement when you're seemingly consistently doing so.

So where are you heading next? Backpacking around southeast Asia? If so, I'm totally jealous. What's your next major plan in the future?

Hope all goes well for the rest of the time in Taiwan, and good luck with the travels. Send me the link for your blog again, I've lost it.