I want to sell all my things and travel the world

I used to be really wrapped up in having things. Nice things, new things, beautiful things, things that people noticed and recognised, that impressed them and told them I was great. All the things that checked the boxes to indicate success. For the longest time, I was chasing things and the trouble with that is you’re never really happy, are you?

Once you get one thing, you need another and another and another. I saw someone with a big house the other day and they were out the front gardening. This is what went through my mind: Big house means a big yard. Big yard means lots of gardening. Lots of gardening means a need for lots of gardening tools, equipment, mowers etc. All of the yard waste requires disposal, which requires a trailer, which requires a large car to tow, which requires fuel and registration. It made me feel sick just thinking about it.

One of the biggest impacts travel has had on my life is the change it has made on my perspective of things. I’d like to tell you something really admirable like, “It’s because I’ve seen people living happy lives with much less than I have.” But the truth is my perspective changed because all the things I once wanted stopped making me happy.

Nothing I bought made me feel as good as those moments of being free do. That’s why I travel, for that feeling of absolute freedom. As soon as Matt and I start to accumulate too many things we both start to feel restless and edgy. It’s like each piece of furniture and clothing, each appliance and plate is adding weight to us, pinning us to one place. It’s crushing.

I shared a photo on Instagram a few days ago and told people I’d worn a $30 dress to a big awards evening, done my own hair and makeup using drugstore products and had felt a million bucks despite not spending much at all. I also told people they shouldn’t feel pressured to spend money, they should save it for more important things like plane tickets and big adventures and that I’d rather Peru over Prada any day.

Normally I wouldn’t share something like that because I think it’s just my inner hippie ranting and people will think I’m mad. But so many people related to it, so many people commented and said they agreed. It got me thinking, how many others are there out there who feel the same way?!

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It gave me a lot of perspective and I realised all those supportive, positive people were showing me, reflecting back at me, how much change I’ve gone through and how far I’ve come. Sometimes you don’t realise you’re a whole new person until good people show you.

Around 4 years ago I was dreaming of a big house full of lots of nice stuff, driving around in a big car and having so many lovely things. Now all I can think about is how I want to have as little as possible. Just the necessities so I can do what I love, like my laptop and camera. Other than that, the rest doesn’t matter anymore. I didn’t realise that I could be so happy and fulfilled just doing a job I love and living a life I love, without many things. Now I do, I feel liberated!

If you had told me 4 years ago that I would end up doing a job for the love and not even thinking about the money, I would’ve told you you’re mad! However will I buy my collection of things without money? Me no compute!

There are many, many reasons why people travel. They travel to find themselves, lose themselves, have a big adventure or just meet new people. Some people never want to travel, in fact, I met a man on a bus a few days ago who told me he hated it. He had asked me what I do for a living and when I told him I’m a travel writer with a travel blog he promptly said, “I don’t like travel. I hate it.”

AMOY Hotel Singapore travel blog review

Exploring Singapore

But hey, that’s cool! He went on to say how he loves Australia and just wants a really big piece of land to call his own, to set up a little house where nobody bothers him and he can do whatever he likes in peace. The more I reflect on that the more I realise he sounds like a serial killer.

Whether you travel or don’t travel, it doesn’t matter. You make the choices that are best for you and whatever you end up doing, you’ll always learn the life lessons you’re meant to. I feel like a big lesson of mine has been this transition from wanting everything to wanting nothing.

I’ve had a few awkward moments with people who have invited me to do something, be part of something or buy something that doesn’t interest me and I’ve said no. Their immediate reaction is one of awkwardness and I can tell they think I’m saying no because ‘money is an issue’. Truth is, money isn’t an issue, it’s never been less of an issue for me but I guess I mean that in a happiness sense and not in an ‘I’m filthy rich!’ way. I say no to people because I just don’t want to spend money on doing something or having something I don’t like.

I’m very lucky to have close friends who understand this, girls who love to shop at op-shops and think designer stuff is stupid. Girls who are happy catching up over home-made burritos at someone’s house. They’re the purest, most honest friendships I’ve had and it’s so nice to know your friendship is about loving each other and not just being seen at a cool bar all tarted up.

Phoebe Lee Travel Blogger Australia Queensland Brisbane Lady Eliot Island

Lady Elliot Island

When I think about it, it’s kinda funny. I stayed in my crappy job for so long because I thought I wanted to earn a lot of money to be all the things I wanted. I was scared to leave my job in case I didn’t earn enough money and couldn’t have things. Now I’m free and I love my job, I’m not scared of not having money anymore because I don’t want the things anymore. All I want is to be loved and to be free.

So, with all of this in mind and the support I got sharing the photo on Instagram, I’m going to try to be a little bit more open and share my newfound perspective and hopefully it helps a few other people out there listen to their own inner-voice telling them what they really want too.

Whether you want things or don’t want the things, whether you want to travel or want to be a serial killer on a large property in remote bushland, just make sure you are doing whatever you want to do and whatever makes you happy because nothing else matters as much as what you want matters. And as I’ve said before, that’s not selfish, it’s just smart.

Have you seen our Drunk Travel Tips video?


Phoebe is a travel writer and photographer with a love for storytelling and making people laugh. Matt is a videographer and photographer with a passion for the great outdoors and big adventures. Together we inspire big adventures through our guides, videos, vlogs and photographs. Find out more about us here.

28 Comments on I want to sell all my things and travel the world

  1. Congratulations on reaching your realization that experiences are much more important than things at a much younger age than we did. It took us into our late 40’s to realize that, ultimately, things rarely give the satisfaction that experiences do. We started getting rid of our things about 5 years ago and in January 2016 we retired at the age of 53 and travel the world full-time. Our worldly possessions now consist of two carry-on suitcases and two small back packs each.

    While I was still working, my friends, mortgage brokers, etc. looked at me a little funny when we rented a one bedroom 90 m2 apartment rather than buying the 400 m2 McMansion that they had. Instead of a luxury car or SUV, we had an economical electric car or took transit. It wasn’t a matter of what we could “afford”, it is what we chose to spend our money on. Our lives are much fuller and happier with fewer things.

    Great post!

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  2. Thanks Phoebe, I’m just starting to read your blogs. I love your honesty and laugh with your humour. I’ve just started a new career as a travel agent and also want write as a travel blogger. I believe when you get an inspiration for a story to write it down. True stories are heartwarming and easy to relate. Looking forward to reading more. Take care!

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  3. Ayesha Martin // September 14, 2015 at 1:13 pm // Reply

    ‘One of the biggest impacts travel has had on my life is the change it has made on my perspective of things.’ – It’s like reading something I’ve written myself – this couldn’t be more true! I’ve just stumbled across your blog via Polkadot Passport and love your honesty, will definitely be following you on your adventures!

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    • Thank you SO much Ayesha… I’m so glad those words resonate with you 🙂 Thank you for popping over to my blog after finding me through Nicola’s… I’ve been in a bit of a self-doubting funk today, so your words couldn’t have come at a better time 😀 Phoebe x

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  4. The great investment to make in your life is to airplane tickets lol 🙂 I totally agree with you.

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  5. itmayormaynotrhyme // December 6, 2014 at 12:42 am // Reply

    Do take me with you.

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  6. Great post! I love the way you think. Keep up the good work!

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  7. Another great post! I am so happy that I don’t feel obligated to own the latest ____________ (designer clothing, electronic device, fill in the blank). But, as I’ve written here before I do have a big-ish house that I bought with my ex and had to refinance to buy him out. Most of my monthly costs go to this lovely home. But, I’m ready to let it go and see what freedom from home ownership looks like. I’m in the early stages but hope to look back in a year or two and see how this period of time was a turning point in my life. Your posts always inspire me and get me thinking about changes in my life. Thanks!

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  8. LOVE this post! i have such a similar story. travel has opened my mind to having less, but living and seeing more. i don’t see myself ever going back to my old way of thinking, and that makes me incredibly happy. 🙂

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  9. I was so touched by this post. Thank you so much- you’re a beautiful writer and one day I hope to have your courage. I’ve wanted to be a writer ever since I could hold a pen, but fear continues to hold me back and chain me to an office desk. One day xo

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    • 😀 wow, that’s so sweet of you. I have a huge smile on my face reading your comment – thank you. I used to be afraid to publish what I write and share it, but the more I shared the more people like you found it and told me they like it and it resonates with them. And that gives me so much cofidence to keep sharing. Now I feel like every post I share goes to friends and I don’t have that fear anymore. When you’re ready, just start 🙂 if I can do it, you can too!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m facing the “get rid of it” stage. Traveling, alas, is not in my future, but I have done enough in my life to have great memories. Now is the time to give away or throw away “things.” Your post is an inspiration. What a great life you have! Doing what you love for a living is a true blessing.

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  11. I can totally relate to this. I have been feeling trapped in my own house, so much stuff, so much things I don’t need anymore (if ever). I started selling things on ebay, and next year whatever is left from a garage sale will be donated. Hubby and I have made this decision, we don’t want this big house anymore, and all this stuff. The plan is to move to a place that will make us happy (we are considering San Diego,CA) and where we can be free, live in a small apartment, just having stuff that we really need, and then..TRAVEL, travel, travel! 😀

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    • Yes! Yes! Your comment made me feel so happy, you can just feel how happy this decision is making you 🙂 you’re buzzing! It’s so great you and hubby deel the same way and you get to share this cool experience. Keep moving forward and get yor travel-buns out there 🙂 amazing!!!

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  12. Louise (@teaswirls) // December 3, 2014 at 8:45 pm // Reply

    Ahh, this post is so good, fills me right up to the brim with inspiration. Feeling totally bogged down with “stuff” at the mo’, but it’s hard to let go sometimes. I’m going to bookmark this and read it whenever I need a little kick. 🙂

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    • That’s amazing 🙂 makes me so happy to read your comment. Clear out the stuff! I love even just getting rid of things, throwing stuff out or taking it to the second-hand stores. It’s therapeutic 🙂 thanks for reading Louise

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  13. I absolutely love this post. Thank you for being so inspiring!!

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  14. Amazing. I love to travel and have travelled the world. Can you please tell me how you got started?

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  15. You might as well expect me to comment on all of your “cutting-ties-of-real-life-and-traveling-the-world” posts. This post practically made my eyes water. It is so sad to me. I’m at the step right on the edge of the one before the one you’re on – if that makes any sense. I have a good office job, with a stable home, with stuff, lots of stuff, I want a brand new car and the biggest TV, and I’m comfortable. But do you know what I want more than anything? Not the worry of tomorrow, waking up early to do the same thing I’ve done for the past two years, not the same old paycheck, although I am extremely grateful. I want to wake up early to see a new road sign, to walk barefoot across a new piece of land, to see every single state I’ve never been in. I want that. I want to take my husband and just drive. With our pets of course, but I just want to GO. But I don’t even know where to begin. I am fearful to start the journey because I am not patient. I think of all that we would have to save up and I want to go NOW.

    Patience is a virtue I suppose. It’s time for my lesson.
    Good luck to you. Best of wishes. I will keep following your journey.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your comment really touched me too, I could feel what you’re feeling right in my chest. Its that angst, crushing, fear, longing all mixed together. Patience is a virtue, but sometimes you just have to trust yourself and take a really big leap. Just jump and trust your parrachute will open 🙂

      I think you already have begun, by knowing it’s what you want. Now you just need to let yourself do it. Say yes. Do it. Its not as hard as it seems.

      Stay in touch, I’d love to hear how you go with all of this 🙂 you were designed to be happy, so do what makes you happy xxx Phoebe

      Liked by 1 person

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