I breastfeed, I cloth diaper, I babywear (No, that’s not like some new fad of wearing baby clothes or wearing actual babies as clothes – it’s just carrying your baby kangaroo style, in some sort of pouch on front or back. It’s awesome and easy on your arms, you should try it. Preferably, but not necessarily, with your own baby). Anyway, that stuff might come up from time to time but it’s not what this blog is about…
In the summer of 2000, I packed a bag and headed to Newark Airport for my first trip out of the country. I was a junior in college embarking on my first study abroad trip. A trip to Israel. A trip to the center of three of the world’s “major” religions. It would change my life. Not because of some religious transformation, but a transformation of another sort.
I packed a small bag – just a few essentials I would need for the trip. A few clothes, some good homemade mixtapes (yes, that’s back when people still carried cassette “walkmans” around… some of us at least).The trip changed my life. I saw places I had read about since I was a child and others that I never knew existed. I had my first taste of the world and I was hungry for more immediately.
When I returned home and got over the shock of being back in the U.S., I eagerly pored over my photographs from the trip. What struck me about those photos (and the photos from every trip since) was how happy I looked in each one. Whatever the backdrop, regardless of what I was wearing or doing, I looked genuinely “good.” Not the kind of good that you get gussied up and pose for, but a deeper good that must have been resonating from my inner being.
It was then that I realized the beauty of living simply. Whether touring Costa Rica with the same sandals and shorts for days on end or living out of a backpack along the western coast of Africa, living simply has always done this body good. I’ve looked my best, felt my best, and been my best when not bogged down by all of the possessions I acquired back home. Sure, it’s a sentiment that looks good on an adventurous college kid or young professional seeking out her place in the world. But here I am, nearly 15 years and a lifetime later…
We lived in the city when my husband and I received the blessed news that I was pregnant. A fourth floor walk-up seemed unbearable in the second trimester, so we began to seek lower ground and wound up spreading out to the semi-suburbs. I call them semi because in New Jersey’s metropolitan areas, there are these towns which are certainly not urban but not quite fully suburban. Just close enough to the city to be annoying, just far enough to not be convenient. The semi-suburbs did not even last a year.
I don’t know too many mothers who would forego the comforts of suburban living – more space, guaranteed parking, all the home appliance amenities a gal could ask for – to return to the city for smaller space and less amenities. But maybe I’m not talking to enough people. I moved back to the city on the same mission that I had when I went on those trips. To live simply. To get rid of stuff. To look, feel, and be my best self.
We’ve since road tripped, air-tripped, and been all over the world together – just in her first year of life. My “backpack” these days rides on the front with a 20+ pound little human inside. My daughter, my little kangaroo or “KangaRuby” as I call her when we trot around town, is my precious cargo. All that I need for the journey. Together we’re riding through this adventure called life.