16 Days to Departure: Leaving Lewes to Go a-Travelling

Lewes Rooftops © 2012 Mufidah Kassalias

Lewes Rooftops © 2012 Mufidah Kassalias

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.

7 responses

  1. Mufidah I lived in Ireland for 25 years ( moved there from Horsham!! ) and when I moved back to the UK I brought very little with me – the most important thing being my beloved cat Kisa and my books. It was indeed very freeing to get rid of stuff.. I didn’t miss the bricks and mortar but did grieve for the half acre of woodland my ex and I had planted up, especially as the new owners lost no time in cutting them all down…sigh.
    Most of all I missed my son ( he now lives over here ) and of course my friends.
    You are absolutely right to do this while you still can :)

  2. I love the sense of wanderlust woven throughout your post! How exciting to be a nomad with no end-date. It’s what (my) dreams are made of too. I can’t think of anything more exciting and am so happy that you’re seizing this opportunity :) Congrats to you both!! Don’t worry – Lewes will be waiting for you when you return to it :)

  3. I have often thought about leaving everything behind and traveling the world. I leave this as merely a thought of fantasy. I look forward in sharing your adventures. Happy and safe travels.

  4. You know, I had the same feelings a few years ago when I sold and gave away all my furniture. Even the last item that I kept, a lamp that I loved dearly, is gone, because my brother broke it accidentally. After getting rid of so much stuff, I was surprised when the loss of my lamp made me cry. It seemed like the last connection to the life I left behind. In any case, I moved into a new home now and I’m more than happy to have my stuff back, especially my stereo and my books. Getting rid of all the accumulated junk is a great feeling, but after a few years on the road one wishes for just the little convenience of thinking “Oh, let me just randomly pick a book from the shelf”. Although it’s good to have a homebase again, I still don’t regret my choice to have an adventure. I’m even planning to relocate again in the next few years, probably to a different continent this time. By the way, give me a shout if you guys happen to end up in Berlin at some point! Good luck :)