Unpacking Our Trip

I’m currently in a very dense bubble of work, so dense that I don’t think it’s really sunk in that I’m back in the United States instead of hopping around the world. (As someone who works remotely anyway, work craziness feels pretty much the same anywhere.)

Anyway, I did pop out of the bubble long enough on our first night back in Ohio to photograph our final travel possessions. (Brian’s idea!) Below, all of our ending items are sorted by the country where we first acquired them.

We didn’t photograph everything we started with. We also didn’t photograph the many things that we acquired and then lost or gave away. Our records aren’t perfect! Sorry.

(Also, there are pictures of underwear and stuff below. If you don’t think that we wear underwear, you might not want to read any further.) Continue reading “Unpacking Our Trip”

Maybe Someday Stockholm: Settling Into Ohio

We’ve been back in the United States for two months now, staying with family initially while searching for a new home. Then, two weeks ago, we purchased and moved into a house in Columbus.

It took three minivans-loads and two car-loads to transfer all of our possessions. After moving just the contents of our backpacks each month for two years, this felt like a ton of stuff, but it still leaves our house mostly empty of furniture. Oh well. We have places to sleep and a table to eat around. Also (of high priority to me) our kitchen is pretty well equipped. (We are attempting to obtain most of our possessions, including kitchen-gear, second-hand. More about this in a separate post.)

So, we have a house. We have some stuff. I guess we’ll be here for a bit.



Continue reading “Maybe Someday Stockholm: Settling Into Ohio”

Household Experiments

Please don’t consider this post prescriptive– instead, it’s just an outline of what we’re currently trying, with the thought that it might spark ideas for others!

As you’ll see below, I like experimenting with various self-enforced policies to keep our moment-to-moment actions aligned with what we value. Currently, we’re experimenting with purchases, transportation, donations, and (of course) food.

Mostly Used Stuff (And Not Too Much)

We sold and donated most of our possessions before leaving on our trip. Since returning, we have been attempting to obtain most of our household goods and clothes second-hand from thrift/consignment stores, relatives, yard/tag sales, etc.

In addition to wanting to pull stuff out of the waste stream instead of buying new, we decided to focus on second-hand objects to give ourselves an automatic distance between wanting something and actually obtaining it. In this gap we sometimes realize that we don’t actually need something, or that we can make-do with something that we already have.

Thus far, we’ve been mostly successful, though we have made exceptions and bought some items new: the most sizable being replacing Brian’s four-year-old iPhone, obtaining a mattress for our bedroom, and buying parts for the computer Brian is building (the case and monitor are from the thrift shop).

The main downside to this decision is that it can take a lot of time to find specific items, including lots of hours scouring thrift stores. While I’m lucky to have the time right now, I still don’t particularly like shopping. Then again, sometimes this is even more motivation to just make do with what we already have, and keep the total amount of stuff that we own to a reasonable level.

No Clothes Dryer

Our residences as we traveled were generally pretty nice, but we hardly ever had a clothes dryer. Since we managed for most of two years without one (and since most of the world, including Europe, seems to not prioritize them), we bought just a washer and are drying our clothes on lines in our laundry room. It requires a little more planning (we need to wait for a load to dry before starting a new one) but otherwise has been pretty easy.


One Car

We are currently meeting our transportation needs with just one car, supplemented by a bike and a bus pass. I work from home, and we purposely selected a house in a pretty walk-able area, so this isn’t so challenging for us. (We didn’t have a car in California, so being able to run to the grocery store any evening of the week already feels like a luxury.)

Since Brian takes the car to work each day, I pick up Theo from school on foot. Our walk home has become one of my favorite times with him. We pass plenty of prompts to discuss everything from dandelions to dead squirrels. img_4841

Not Hoarding Good Luck

At this point in our lives, our regular income meets all of our immediate and savings-related needs. (We are very lucky.)

So, when we have unexpected financial good luck, we take that money and send it to people who need it more than we do, on top of the 10% of our gross income that we regularly send. This year, the money has gone to UNHCR, GiveDirectly, and Amnesty International.

Similarly, now that we are using the library for our books instead of buying Kindle books, we will donate the money that we were spending on books to the library.


One of my favorite parts of the trip was learning to cook some of the local food in each area we visited. While I don’t always have access to the same ingredients and resources as I did while traveling, I’ve been trying to replicate some of this experience here at home, by picking a country and cooking about 50% of our dinners from that country for a month. I’m starting with Indian food, though a variety of other cuisines have been sneaking in as well, depending mostly on what we find at the farmers market each week.

Even though I miss the variation in available ingredients as we travel, having a consistent set of kitchen equipment is really great!