Most of this is already moved out and for sale. Julia Hubbel

Years and years of acquisitions are on their way to a house near you

Not without some real humor, given my current circumstances of releasing and selling off mountains of acquisitions (including a full-sized giraffe, baby elephant, llama, leopard and donkey, no really), I read a financial article the other day which addressed the coming flood of more and more stuff.

New stuff, mind you.

While I can't find that particular article, this one will suffice:

Retailers have an inventory problem as lockdown lifestyle fades
As inflation hits and consumers abandon lockdown spending patterns, some retailers are left with the wrong kind of stuff on their hands.

In short, the retail market had been caught flat-footed by the pandemic, and then, in the typical knee-jerk fashion, had then overcompensated by over-buying masses upon masses of more stuff to respond to an expected pent-up demand which, given inflation's merry rise, has stalled.

So, the article posited, we might see the Great Reseller of All Time, the TJ Maxx companies, once again sweep in and pick up overpriced items and let us have LOTS MORE STUFF at discount prices.

Going broke saving money by buying unnecessary stuff at 70% off is still going broke, albeit it's brag-worthy until you get the bills.
And have to sell your stuff to pay them.

This morning after I hit the gym, I completed four more trips to my local fine consignment store. There, savvy shoppers are searching for deals, which they will most certainly find when they buy my stuff. Many are new home owners with empty walls and shelves. My hope is that they are as attracted to Cote d'Ivoire masks as I was, and hope to fool their friends into believing they've actually been there.

I have, to nine countries in Africa, just for starters. There are stories attached to all of it. So my stuff is authentic, in that I negotiated their prices by the roadside and in the stalls. Whether or not that translates into a reasonable price is anyone's guess, but my greater pleasure is getting free of it as opposed to buying more.

With many thanks to the kind Dear Readers who have offered solace as I negotiate the emotional minefield of letting go of things, at this point, with rare exception, I am past the point of attachment to nearly all of it. When I did my first cut, a pile of lovelies took up space next to the wall which looks out over the deck where I watch the birds fight over food.

I keep returning to that pile to challenge yet more. Why have statues of horses when what I really want is to ride them? Why have this  huge fake llama when I can massage one instead? Why have this fake elephant when I can visit and support one instead?

Representation of a life lived isn't a life lived.

Too many of us, and I include myself in this, lead straw-man lives. While my travel stuff reflects actual experiences, here I am referring to a rich designer wardrobe which spoke of a life I never lived. Would never live. Now that most of that is sold off, I am left with a bunch of expensive shoes which are about to get carted off to Plato's Closet. Discerning shoppers will be utterly delighted. Those shoes are replaced by Hoka hikers, which are far kinder to the body.

Yesterday I took down all the framed certifications of achievement that I had posted in my gear room. That I had climbed this or that mountain, survived Macchu Picchu, blah blah blah.

I am going to keep the certificates in a file lest someone accuse me of bullshitting, but I no longer need to stare at framed words proclaiming something I did ten years ago. All that matters is that I bloody well know I did all those things, and my truth stands. As I wrote before, hanging onto anything simply keeps me from moving forward. I don't need validation. I did those things, 'nuff said.

Stuff is the same way. My ex walked into my house for the first time back in 2008 and walked around moon-eyed, saying I was so "accomplished." At that point I hadn't really begun my travel career; he was just impressed with the accumulation of stuff. He had no idea if all I had done - as millions are wont to do these days- was buy someone else's shit and put it up around my house and present it as my own.

My mother did that once with a goat's head. Painted it gold, stuck up on the wall, and told her bridge friends it was an oryx she had shot in Africa. It was such a blatant dishonesty that I outed her in front of her friends, for which she never forgave me. However, I never quite forgave her dishonesty. Perhaps that was the beginning of my commitment to actually do those things, rather than lie about them, in order to garner approval. Or whatever.

That acquisition of someone else's story may happen with those things making their way to Fine Consign today. Proof of a life well-lived, someone else's travel trophies, now on a wall or a vanity implying that the new owner had indeed, been there, done that.

Never thought I'd be doing this again. Julia Hubbel

I have already started boxing what I am choosing to keep. What the consignment store can't sell, they get to donate. I never want to see any of it again. It's been released into the Universe of Gorgeous Clutter, and may those wonderful things delight others as much as they did me.

In doing all this, in all frankness, once I made the decision that this stuff hadda go NOW, and it was going to make space for more adventure, well. I can feel the balloon of my life lifting as each and every load heads out the door forever. Ballast tossed is altitude gained. I love being in the air.

Even better, the higher I go, the better I can see. Each great shift, each major transition, even with all the pain, contains the seeds of the next journey. If I ask good questions as I make those changes, Something Else is possible.

What I hope for is that we learn to recycle more instead of produce more. This isn't new. Why? Here's one way to think about it. Eddie, the chef and manager at Researcher's Rest in Tanzania told me that the used shoes you see for sale everywhere in Arusha are far better than the new ones. I would posit, with rare exception, that those furniture items and older pieces, clothing I bought ten years ago, whatever, are far better made than what we are sold for fifty times that price today.

Something to buying used, no matter what it is (barring diapers, that is).
That said, I am in no mood to buy again but for absolute necessities. Food, gas, and, well, airline tickets.

On my way back from visiting my buddy JC in Portland the other day for breakfast, I intentionally stopped off in three TJ Maxx Home Goods stores on the way home. I wanted to walk the aisles and see how it felt to do so with no intention of buying a damned thing.

It felt wonderful. And then I flew home on the rising air.

Hot Air Balloon
Photo by Alexe Rice / Unsplash