You can’t spell STUFF without a U and an S (there is US in our stuff)

by Georgia

[Thoughts from May 2, 2015]

The warm Alabama sun is shining through the trees and warming the grass. Kneeling down in a ray of sunshine petting Junebug’s hot black fur. Looking down at her closed eyes and a soft smile on her face as she lays on her back soaking it all in [M: She really does smile]. I look up and see Mark carrying thick heavy wooden crates obtained from an apple farm near where he grew up.


He is tall and strong [M: Suns out, guns out], wearing jeans and a white shirt, the sun seems to shine on his footsteps. He is emptying the crates of stuff collected over the years, placing it all on the ground to sort through.

As part of the trip preparation, we have been selling most of what we own to rid ourselves of things we won’t need after the trip and to add to savings for the journey. So far we have sold larger and more valuable items on Craigslist such as furniture and old bikes, and are now preparing for a yard sale and the sale of his house. So out from the shed, the typical gear and tools come out- old paint in cans tough to open, fertilizer, rakes, containers used for his interest in growing herbs (mmm basil)[M: Yeah, mmm basil!].


Those things are somewhat easy to determine whether to keep or sell. Using a criteria of will we use it afterwards and is it expensive to replace (not knowing what income we may have after the trip). Sometimes we get hung up in the decision making process- “yeah but if we keep the old tent then we keep the stakes and the tarp and of course it goes well with that rope lighting, soooo we need the rope lighting then… amiright?!” Where do we stop? [M: Apparently we stop at some point beyond rope lights, as they made it into the “keep” bin]. It’s so easy to rationalize keeping stuff.

But what about the other things that aren’t so easy to decide on- the things you can’t bear to watch walk away with someone else. In the mix is a tackle box, 35 years old, that was put together by his father. One he never uses but has carried with him through several moves [M: Kept.  I’d very willingly give it to a kid who likes to fish, I just don’t know any].


A lovely piece of handmade pottery his mother had crafted years ago [M: Kept. Always will.].


And those apple crates, what about those? [M: They have been repurposed for shelving, just too cool.]

There is so much of who we are, our story, in our stuff.

As I’m watching all this, I’m smiling.  [M: She does that, just like Junebug.]

I’m smiling as I watch this man decide what he is keeping from his story, and what he is trading in for a new one.

I’m smiling listening to his stories and learning more about what has shaped him into who he is and how that has prepared him for this journey.

I’m smiling as I realize that the possession of stuff isn’t necessarily a bad thing…It’s a matter of the heart- do we control our stuff or does our stuff control us.

I’m smiling thinking of how “stuff” relates to us and our story – how the physical stuff is like the emotional junk we carry around with us and how brave we have to be to let it go. To no longer allow it to control us. And on the flip side, how much joy and growth we gain from the treasure in moments, and how aware we have to be to pick them up.

He catches me looking at him, so I walk over and plant a kiss on his cheek [M: She does that too, it’s better than the smiles]. Standing by his side, as he contemplates his “stuff”, I’m on the ready to help him carry it, whatever he chooses to pick up.


5 thoughts on “You can’t spell STUFF without a U and an S (there is US in our stuff)

  1. Christie May 23, 2015 / 4:41 am

    so exciting. Georgia has a nephew who always uses his papas and dads tackle box when fishing. He would keep it and make good use of it for you I’m sure. He’d also give back if you prefer when you get home since it sounds pretty special.

    I commend you both. I am not a hoarder but I love our “stuff.” There’s a whole garage and half a basement of stuff I haven’t seen for a year or more. Is there anything useful in there? No idea. Looking at too much stuff in house.


    Liked by 1 person

    • freedompedalers May 26, 2015 / 2:19 am

      The stuff inside the tackle box may not be all that useful but if I can find it and if I remember, it’s all his! I may take out one or two items, for old times sake.

      Can you fit cars in that garage?!



      • Christie May 26, 2015 / 5:02 am

        We have no cars in our garage. Sadly. And I know Cody would be happy to hold it for your return. He’s a good kid just ask his auntie. But please don’t feel obligated. Looking forward to meeting you all, especially those furbabies! xo


  2. Jerry and Marcia Abbott September 29, 2015 / 3:19 pm

    I am Jerry (with two Shelties). I met you today at Starbucks in Boca Raton. I just finished reading your posts from beginning to end. I am hooked. I will follow with interest your entire trip. I wish I could do what you are doing, but at the age of 81 it may be too late. When I was your age, I was too busy (in the words of George Carlin) “accumulating things.” I commend you for what you are doing now. You are great examples for all of us.

    When I finish writing the e-mail, I will download and forward the photos I took today. At the moment I have not figured out how to do this, but I will.

    Like you, my wife and I love to travel, but have done most of our traveling in the comforts of a travel trailer, sailboat, cruise ship, power boat, or Toyota Van. When we travel in our Sienna, we take out the middle row of seats and fold down the back row. This provides our Shelties a personal condo in the back of our van. Thanks to the customer satisfying practices of Holiday Inn Express, Drury Inns, and LaQuinta Inns we have been able to enjoy many of the comforts of home while on the road with our Shelties. We did take two “roughing-it” trips when we were first married. We purchased two shelter halves at an “Army-Navy Store” in Boston for camping out. When we put them together, we discovered they didn’t match. Thank goodness we did not experience any rain while using them. The first time we used them to camp out was in a campground on Mt. Desert Island near Bar Harbor, Maine in 1959. The only other time was when we drove the entire length of the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive in 1961. The first night of tent camping on the Blue Ridge Parkway, we heard a bear rummaging through a nearby trash can. “Gigi,” our first Shetlie, heard the bear sooner than we did and ran towards the opening of our tent. We barely grabbed Gigi’s hind quarters in time to save the bear from the perils of a protective Sheltie.

    Forgive me for going on so long. I know you are very busy with your adventure and don’t have a lot of time for the ramblings of an old codger.


    Liked by 1 person

    • freedompedalers September 29, 2015 / 3:51 pm


      It was great meeting you yesterday! I wish we had a few more moments to talk.

      Thank you for the comments and also for sending the pictures, We just don’t have very many pictures of all of us, so it will be great to see them!

      It sounds like your travel has provided you with some wonderful memories! Isn’t it a little surprising that experiences where things didn’t turn out exactly as planned are the ones that are often mostly deeply ingrained in our memories? Thanks for sharing your stories. I can only imagine that bear was breathing a sigh of relief that night!

      The “ramblings of an old codger” are welcome anytime. We love to swap stories and talk about life, and to absorb the wisdom of those who have more experience in life than us. Perhaps if our paths cross again, we can share a cup of coffee or a meal.

      We hope you and your wife, and your four-legged family, continue to travel and explore the world.

      Mark and Georgia (and Junebug and Biscuit)


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