There are only 17 days until I fly to London. 26 days until I start walking the Via Francigena. I have started preparing to pack my belongings and put them into storage once more. For me, this is a two stage process.
The first, is going through everything and asking myself if I really need to keep it. Will I use it again or has it served its purpose and is it time to let it go and pass on to someone else who will benefit more?
The second part is to pack what I am keeping into boxes, bag, suitcases, backpacks and finally move it into its final storage place.
The first time I did this in April 2009 was a deeply emotional experience. I cried. A lot. Packing up my life was an acceptance of the decision I had made, to leave the life that I knew and move into the unknown, to live in a way I had never known possible. I was clinging, with my heart, my mind, my body, to a life that I knew but was slowly learning I didn't want anymore.
I was scared of what lay before me in the great unknown. I was scared that there would be nothing left of my old life. Scared that I would never return. Scared that I would. Scared that nothing would have changed but scared that everything would.
I packed and cried, packed and cried, and by the time everything was packed and ready to move into storage, I was at peace with my decision and ready to leave it all behind and see what would be there when I finally returned.
This time, the experience of packing is not quite as emotionally charged but it is still emotional. As I go through each item that I own, I feel overwhelmed by how many things I have. They feel heavy and burdensome when I want to feel light and free. I experience conflict between wanting the comfort of things and familiarity around me when I return and wanting to let it all go. And I experience sadness as I pack, knowing that I am leaving this house where I have lived for the past 18 months and will not return, leaving people I love and this city that I no longer resent but am also starting to love.
Just when I feel like my life is finally coming together, that I have discovered contentment, I have heard the call to leave it all behind, to walk this trail, alone. It is a call I cannot not answer.
I love fiercely, wrapping my heart around that which is near and dear to me. Packing is peeling back the fingers of this love, allowing it all to rest gently on the palm of my hand, to leave it be knowing I can love it from wherever I am in the world.
Packing is the final surrender, letting go of this life and allowing this new current to take me to where I am going but don't fully understand. Knowing I must trust this call, this journey, this surrender to allow new experiences into my life and trusting that what remains when and if I return will be exactly what I need.