I moved my stuff into storage today. There's this service in the UK called Big Yellow which offers giant storage warehouses all around London. Getting it all set-up was very easy. All I had to do was show up with my stuff, sign a contract and move it in.
My stuff, as it turns out, is not that much. I have one reasonably large box that includes some electronics, some trinkets and other not-very-important stuff. Then some bicycle panniers that are useless now that my bike got stolen, and three trashbags of clothes, blankets, pillows etc, two of which could probably be thrown away because I never use them.
If I didn't have plans of returning to the UK I would have no problem at all with disposing of everything, but storage is cheap, so why not hold on to your things, right? The first sign of hoarding. I try to avoid hoarding physical objects as much as I can, but digitally I am the exact opposite: I must keep everything I find, to the point of downloading youtube videos just so I can have them if they ever get taken offline.
My behaviour in the physical world is very different from the digital one. In the digital world I build giant fortresses to store my information, quadruply backed up to places all over the world because I'm paranoid of losing it. In the physical world I'd rather have as few things as possible so I don't have to worry about losing anything important.
Even my primary computer, which used to be extremely important to me, is now less important than ever before. Five years ago internet was slower and not as widely spread as now, especially when travelling to peculiar places. Things were not standardized yet. There was no Facetime, no cloud sync, no Dropbox. But these days it's easy to get wifi almost anywhere, or otherwise a 3G dongle. Photos get backed up instantly, internet connections are fast enough to remote log-in to your computer in another country, or even stream video from it. Every month there is an advancement in technology that reduces the need for a carefully maintained primary physical system.
I'm travelling to New York soon, and Japan after that. There's a ton of things I need to arrange before I leave, and a lot of people still to contact to set up meetings. But most of what I've been dealing with this past weekend is my apartment. I've blogged before about what I had to deal with related to getting my apartment cancelled. This apartment has been nothing but a burden on me, and I am very reluctant to get an apartment again when I get back. It's safe to say after one year of living in London: I don't like London. I've been to worse places, but I've also been to better. It seems folly to invest money into a contract that forces me to stay in one place for at least six months.
Rental prices in central London are ridiculous. Even in the outskirts of London they're high, and you have to deal with the tube system. Instead, there is AirBnB. There's tons of cheap short-term stays available in central London. I'm planning to do this for at least several months when I get back. I tried it last year when I first moved to London and got a... memorable.. experience. It certainly wasn't bad, but at times mentally tiring. But if the choice is between mentally tiring or being mentally dead for months on end, then I'll take mentally tiring.
Clean apartment. Book hotels. E-mail friends. Sell the last of the stuff. Start packing. Have adventure.