Check out my small pile of clothes to pack!…I’ve come a long way…Coming tomorrow, total costs for 77 days in Madeira…Three days and counting…

This is my measly pile of clothing, keeping in mind this includes not only all my everyday wear but also two Scottevest jackets, three remaining bathing suits, two sets of Bugsaway clothing including three hats, and three small handbags.

Yesterday, I decided to get a handle on how much I have to pack. We’d received a package with new clothing for me while in Madeira with two pairs of jeans, three tee shirts, and three skirts to add to my worn and dwindling wardrobe.

Over these past months, I diligently made a pile of clothes including pajamas and swimwear that I decided had to go, to not only replace the weight of the new items but, also reduce the overall weight of my luggage. 

Another view of my tiny pile of clothing which also includes three belts, three long cotton tee shirt dresses that I wear to bed when it’s cool, three pairs of jeans, one pair of capris, one pair of shorts, and a dozen tee shirts. My few items of underwear are at the bottom of this pile.

A few weeks ago I handed off the accumulated pile to Gina and her daughter, hoping they’d find a few things they’d like, donating the remainder. Getting those items out of sight really helped.  No longer would I riffle through them, reconsidering one item or another. Now that they’re gone, I don’t give them a thought. How quickly we forget “things” once we decide to let them go. 

I learned this lesson well when we sold all of our “treasured belongings” before leaving Minnesota almost two years ago. I cried when I saw my favorite household goods being walked down the road during the estate sale, a happy purchaser enthralled with their “good deal.” 

This is it folks, all the shoes I own, a paltry six pairs. I don’t recall ever having so few shoes since I was a kid when I got one new pair of Buster Browns once a year. Bring back memories?

Once we boarded our first of eight cruises on January 3, 2013, I’ve never given any of those items a thought. It was just “stuff.” I felt free. I felt liberated from the constraints and responsibilities that go with owning stuff. 

It was only a few days ago that Tom and I spoke of how we can’t imagine ever owning a sofa or a dining room table and chairs. One never knows. But, at this point, it’s far removed from our reality.

We spotted this circle in the ocean a few days ago, curious as to its origin.

Yesterday, when I made these piles of clothes and shoes as shown in these photos which include every wearable item in my repertoire except a small bag of costume jewelry, I smiled, kind of proud of myself. 

In my old life, at times I’d feel a sense of accomplishment when I’d revel in the things we had acquired from years of searching for the perfect addition to our home and lives, content with what we “had.” Now, I feel a sense of accomplishment for the things I don’t have. What a turn around! See, we can “teach an old dog new tricks!”

We wondered if that circle was made by the freighter or by some other phenomenon. Why would a freighter go around in a circle?

My pile of clothing is small enough that I no longer need to use the Space Bags with the little vacuum sucking out the air. We’ve may decide to use the bags  anyway for security, making it less likely someone would break the seal and steal something. Or, we may not.

Tom has yet to organize his stuff so we’ll see how that goes. I believe at this point he has more stuff than I do.  We shall see on Wednesday when we pack.

Late-blooming Bird of Paradise, aptly named.

It’s hard for me to believe that I own only six pairs of shoes; one pair of water shoes, two pairs of leather Keds, two pairs of sandals, and one pair of boots I refuse to ever part with, after having them custom-fitted back in Minnesota when they were too wide for my calves. 

Besides, we’ll need our boots for Iceland and the Outback in Australia along with our BugsAway clothing (which is also shown in my pile of stuff) when the mosquitoes and flies are fierce in Australia, New Zealand and on the islands in the South Pacific. 

We never got enough of the clouds rolling in over the hills.  Each time it occurred we watched from the veranda in awe of the beauty.

Actually, other than a few desert climates we’ve visited in the US such as Nevada and Arizona, flying and biting insects are everywhere we’ve traveled. While in Africa I decided that I wasn’t letting my sensitivity to being bit have a bearing on where we’d travel in the future. 

As soon as we post this, we’re off for our last short road trip when we’ll take a few photos, stop at the supermarket and say goodbye to the “downtown” we’ve enjoyed over these past months, the seaside village of Ribeira Brava.

Our neighbors were harvesting some of the treasures from their garden.

Yesterday, as mentioned, I began the process of going back to the beginning of our first post and editing the many errors that remained, some my typos and others due to internet connectivity issues. I managed to get through the first 11 posts. It will take several months to complete this daunting task when either we won’t have time or we’ll be cruising when Internet rates are too high for such a time consuming project.

We have a fun post already prepared for Thursday, our travel day, which we’ll publish shortly before we leave the house to go to the airport. Doing so, we won’t miss a day!

Photo from one year ago today, July 28, 2013:

Summer was in full bloom in Tuscany. On this date a year ago, we booked our tickets for Kenya, a little disgruntled that we couldn’t choose our seats online for the very long flight. For details, please click here.

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