Wednesday, September 26, 2012


 Tried to find the original source to no avail. Next best thing a Pinterest source.

I have a theory.  I think people who move around a lot are resistant to completely unpacking. Resistant to taking everything out of their suitcases. Resistant to hanging up those last few pieces of art on their walls.

Our container shipment arrived in May from the USA. Right behind this chair where I'm sitting are two large baskets filled with who-knows-what that I haven't sorted.  I'm completely crazy-anal about how I organize my books on a bookshelf. So much so, I'm known to even throw tantrums about it. (Just ask my husband.) It's usually one of the FIRST things I do when unpacking. I haven't done it this time. We still have stacks of picture frames and art work resting against our walls, waiting to be hung.

I hate moving. HATE it. I really don't like packing-up; but there's just something about unpacking. I can do a lot of it, but I don't ever quite finish. It's been like this for years. Since I started moving around. And I've moved around a lot (see this post).

Before my husband and I met, he had very few possessions that didn't fit in a backpack. A couple small boxes were kept in a friend's attic, just in case he ever settled down.  He has had a transient life for nearly all of his adult years.  After the last several moves we've made, he hasn't even unpacked all his clothes to hang in the closet. His jobs required him to travel upwards of 80% of the time, so it made sense he lived out of bags, even at home. (I usually unpacked his bags for him.  Well, sometimes.)

I thought maybe this was an oddity, that we were really weird (well, we are; that's a different story) but in the last week, I've talked to two other expats who feel exactly the same way. They too absolutely hate unpacking all the way.  Today, my dear friend, V, told me,
"Yeah, I hate unpacking because the minute you get that last photo on the wall, you move." 
Totally true!  It's like you'll jinx it! I keep thinking, "Well, maybe we'll end up moving to a new house. Then we'd have to take all these pieces of art down. What a pain in the ass. I'll just leave it longer to see what happens. Just in case."  Have you ever thought that way?

I spoke to another expat last week who told me she also is resistant to unpacking from little holidays and vacations to places; she tends to always leave a few things in her suitcase. I do the same thing. We mused if it's because we don't completely want our adventure, the beautiful holiday, to end.

Since our family moves around so much, we may not feel like we can give ourselves permission to truly settle in one place, to call it home. To hang our pictures up and say: this is it. This is where we are.

We might fight against that, unconsciously, because we know it's not permanent. And permanence feels like a luxury.  And a lie.
JUST what EVERY expat needs! Source

It's the issue of transience. It's always around us when you're an expat.  Even as we're in the midst of settling in to a new place, we're watching others leave. Coming. Going.

I've noticed that expats who only have one year left on their contract are already planning and processing that next move. They're thinking about where they will go. Where they shouldn't go.  They're asking questions about countries and cities to other expats, gathering information.

They're already mentally checking-out from the place they are, gearing up to leave. You have to, though. It's kind of necessary if you're going to keep moving around.   But does this mean you're not completely open, completely present where you are now?

Have you moved around a lot?  Do you have difficulty totally unpacking like my friends and I, or is it the opposite for you?


  1. Although I don't mind moving, reading this I realised I do have a problem with unpacking! You are so right when you friend said the minute the last photo is on the wall you will move again and that thought really stops me from letting everything out. Hopefully our next move will be our last but honestly I don't think so....I am going to make suitcase drawers like in your picture. They are gorgeous!

    1. Hi Michelle,
      Thanks for the message. I swear someone should do a research paper on people who move around a lot! LOL I have a feeling lots of us don't like to unpack.

      Funny how you already think your next move will be your last one.

      Oh, will you take a picture of the suitcase drawers after you make it? They're amazing, right? I wish I had some, too! LOL

  2. I can relate. I hate unpacking. You nailed it! June Maddox


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