Goodbye Los Angeles: Lessons on Moving, Traveling and Selling Our Worldly Possessions

A story has no beginning or end. Arbitrarily, one chooses the moment from which to look back or from which to look ahead.
— Graham Greene, The End of the Affair

Ivan here.

I had a hard time writing for this blog in July. A couple weeks ago, Jennie suggested that I do a “Pre-departure Diary” summarizing our experiences in LA and our two year journey in preparation for our RTW trip.

But even as I sit here typing on this yoga mat in the middle of our empty studio, I have no idea how I feel. To be honest, things have worked out so perfectly and according to plan that it scares me.


The Origami Couple - The Story So Far & What’s Next


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Since I can’t process anything at the moment, let’s just stick to the facts of our story:

  • June 2015: Ivan lands in Boston, ending six years of long distance

  • March 2016: Jennie and Ivan move from Boston to Los Angeles

  • April 2016: We discuss the idea of traveling the world for a year

  • August 2016: We start The Origami Life blog and set a two year goal

  • April 2018: We save up $40k in travel funds and $2,500 per month in freelance income

  • July 2018: Jennie quits her job. We give notice to our landlord, sell our things and leave LA.


Over the next few months, our plan is to:

  • August 2018: Spend 3 weeks in Albuquerque so Jennie can spend time with family

  • August 2018: Travel to SF for a week for final face-to-face client meetings

  • September 2018: off to our first stop on our RTW trip: Kauai, Hawaii


5 Lessons on Moving, Traveling and Selling Our Worldly Possessions


While I have no further comment on Los Angeles, I do have some thoughts about the logistics of the move itself:
 

1. Our lifestyle in Los Angeles wasn’t as “minimalist” as we thought

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It’s true - we only owned five pieces of furniture in Los Angeles. But during the move, the amount of knick knacks we found in our apartment seriously stressed me out: notebooks, never used. Papers, brochures and advertising. Piles of clothing. Wires and chargers for electronics that no longer worked. Then there were the odds and ends we “saved” because they had “sentimental” value.

Not gonna name any names, but one of us has a lot of sentiment.

After we sold, donated, or recycled most of the useful stuff, Jennie and I decided to “digitize” 90% of our memories by taking pictures of each item and then letting them go. The last 10% was what could fit inside one small carry-on luggage - to be stored at her parent’s place in Albuquerque for a later time.
 

2. We’re still not very good at "playing house"

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Laundry is my least favorite chore around the house, followed closely by cooking. I don’t mind washing the dishes or sweeping the floors precisely because they’re mindless. I can do them while thinking about something else. But laundry and cooking involves interruptions and willpower. It’s not possible to do these things in your spare time. They are activities that expend mental energy. Energy that, in my opinion, could be more profitably deployed somewhere else.  

Don’t get me wrong - I do them anyway. All I’m trying to say is that I’d rather not spend so much time on things I don’t value. Maybe it’s a sign of immaturity, but I’m very much looking forward to 15 minute laundry by the sink and not needing to cook 4-5 days a week.
 

3. We’re not convinced by the cost vs. quality debate when it comes to buying new things

They say you get what you pay for. To an extent, I suppose that’s true. But the further from the midrange you go, the less relative qualities matter. This makes sense because raw materials are only a small fraction of the cost of production. What’s leftover is design and brand. I for one, give zero fucks about brand. If I wanted a story, I’d just write one. As for design, is there an objective difference between the best that money can buy and the second best that money can buy? And if it’s all just preferences and self-expression, I’d rather express myself in ways that don’t cost me both my time and my money.
 

4. We’ve probably outstayed our welcome in Los Angeles by 2 to 3 months

Being responsible adults can be insufferably boring at times. Jennie and I achieved the goals we set out in this blog three months earlier than our September 2018 plan. Ever since, we catch ourselves staring at each other over breakfast and wondering:

“What the fuck are we still doing here?”

There was some discussion about Jennie quitting her job back in May. I mean, do we need to be adults all the time and tie things up into neat little bows? To quote Bobby Axelrod from the entertaining series Billions: “What’s the point of having fuck you money, if you never say fuck you?”

In the end, we decided that relationships are the reasons (not to say fuck you). You never know where certain relationships can lead you down the road. And a person with a reputation for burning bridges or disappearing can’t be trusted with anything of value.  
 

5. It’s a relief not knowing what the future holds

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For some time now, Jennie and I have known that all of the goals we set out two years ago were within reach. We might not have been there yet - but we could see the light at the end of the tunnel. Everything was working on autopilot. And that was comfortable - for a while. The satisfaction of having turned an initial conversation into a reality.

But soon, we found ourselves missing the uncertainty of a new beginning. That hopeful/fearful feeling of facing the unknown. The thrill of the pursuit. It doesn’t matter what we’re pursuing so long as it’s challenging and meaningful. For us, the pursuit and the journey is all there is.

I realize now that this is why we’ve been struggling to “sum things up.” We’re sick of talking about what we’ve done or are going to do. We’d rather just be doing it. We’re looking forward to having a new blank page - and all the possibilities that come with it.

Finally, another chance to start over.