It’s now two weeks since we gave our landlord the requisite one month’s notice of leaving our beloved apartment in Lewes, and in just over two weeks from now — on Monday, 14th May — we’ll be packing ourselves and a relative few belongings into our ’98 Fiat Punto and heading for the ferry port at Dover. Only sixteen days to departure and there’s still much to be done and considered.
As I write I’m sitting on the sofa surrounded by various piles: to my left are recipe books, delivery notes, a couple of notebooks, pocket tissues, my phone and compact camera; and to my right a small bag containing two pairs of reading glasses (one clear, the other tinted) and a newly received stainless steel camping kettle with whistle sitting on the sofa arm. On the floor are a number of open boxes, piles of photographs, a tripod and a carrier bag with Silverwood baking tins. The dining table is covered with assorted paper, more notebooks, padded envelopes emptied of their contents, a variety of tech stuff, a set of MacBook Pro screwdrivers, and a couple more Silverwood baking tins. A pair of waterproof overtrousers are draped over the back of one of the dining chairs. It’s officially the beginning of the end as our usually tidy apartment is becoming a place of transition — and it’s only going to get more untidy as we move things around in the process of disposing, sorting and packing.
When I first considered seriously the notion of packing up to go a-travelling (about two-and-a-half years ago) I felt pangs of concern about relinquishing my possessions — the chosen pieces of furniture, kitchenware for all our cooking needs, and my wardrobe of clothes — but yesterday I advertised a ‘for sale’ list without a single pang. Well perhaps a tiny one, but something shifted in me once we made the decision to go travelling and I feel surprisingly okay about letting go of the material load.
Although we’ve been offered a place for storing our things, we both have a strong sense that letting go of as much as possible will enable us to embark on our journey with a greater lightness of being.
It’s both daunting and inspiring to know that we’ll possess little more than we can fit into our car and rooftop box combined, and that we’ll no longer be constrained by these four walls and will instead be able to drive to and spend time wherever we like without consideration of return.
Lewes has been a lovely place to live — a picturesque town with a castle dating back to 1069 it has a good number of interesting 15th and 16th century buildings, is nestled in the South Downs and yet only fifteen minutes or so from Brighton and the coast. From the above image you can get a good sense of its size and how short a walk it is to the surrounding countryside.
I’m grateful for having spent the past seventeen years here, and there are certainly things I will miss, but the time feels right to move on to discover new places as well as the people we’ll meet along the way.