How to Sell Everything and Travel
I’ve been dreaming of being a full-time traveler since I first learned of backpacking almost a decade ago. Although various life circumstances kept that dream from coming to fruition the desire only grew as I began seeing the world bit by bit. Then, I couldn’t take it anymore. I decided that if I ever wanted my dream to come true, I had to take action. So 6-months ago, I made the decision to dump my boyfriend, sell everything I own, take my location independent business on the road, and become a full-time nomad.
I’m tired of having stuff. I’m tired of playing that domestic girlfriend role. It’s not me. I always asked myself, “why am I here? I know this doesn’t make me happy.” It gets worse though; I already knew what makes me happy. It wasn’t a person either. I’d been on a 5-month backpacking trip through South America and a 6-week volunteer trip to Vanuatu solo… those are the only moments in my life where I can say I was truly happy. So why was I sitting at home, working in my little home office, and cooking stew in a damn crock-pot hosting game night for my friends? I don’t know.
It’s about time I woke up. Who in their right mind would just sit around doing what makes them unhappy when they could very well be doing what makes them happy. Seems like some poor decision making to me!
Make the Decision to Go (or not).
I remember being in utter turmoil trying to figure out what to do. I didn’t know whether I should stay in a long-term relationship and never follow my dreams or dump him for a chance at the unknown.
I couldn’t figure out what direction to go. I tortured myself for an entire 2 months by racking my brain. What if I made the wrong decision? What if I lost the love of my life? What if I wasn’t capable of doing it? Can I maintain my business on the road indefinitely? Ect. Then, one day I woke up and I was lifeless. I knew that I couldn’t do this to myself anymore and that I had to make a decision. I decided there were rules to this decision; once it was made it was final. There was no turning back or flip-flopping mind-changes. What would be done, would be done. Even if I made the wrong decision, I would stick with it to the very end. That, in itself, was incredibly scary.
But I knew. Deep down I knew. Ultimately, I decided that life wasn’t worth a compromise. We only live once and as painful as it was to admit, I’d rather be with someone who shared my dream rather than compromising it to be with someone. So I left. Now what? Let’s transform that Dream into Reality. To keep the dream alive I feed myself tons of inspiration by going to the travel section in the book store, reading travel blogs, or check out sites like http://www.escapetravel.com.au for destinations advice and great discount on flights and tours.
Tell Everyone You Know
It’s hard to make a big change. I knew that if I told everyone what I was going to do, I’d do it. If not, maybe I’d procrastinate or find some excuse or you know, stuff. But by telling everyone I knew, I’d rather die trying, than have to cowardly come back saying I didn’t have the guts to do it. I was more afraid of that, than actually taking the steps to live my dream. By telling everyone, it forced me to begin to take action.
Take Baby Steps
It took me a while to realize that my dream was coming true. By the time I told the 100th person I think I started to believe it myself. I was in my apartment, the scenery hadn’t changed, so it was easy to pretend that everything was normal. That’s our defense mechanism kicking in because change is fucking scary. I began taking baby steps towards my new lifestyle so that I could visibly see things were going to be different real soon. A huge change is a shock to the system. Every day I would take a small step towards my goal. These items included: saving money, preparing my business for full-time location independence, listing items on craigslist, having garage sales, building new internet businesses, connecting with other travelers, and trip-planning (although I admit I haven’t planned much). Every small step is a step in a new direction.
Learn to Let Go
There are a lot of things I have to let go of. My friends. My ex-boyfriend. My apartment. Everything I own. My dogs. You’re destroying your past life. I’d be lying if I said it was easy. I’ve learned to cherish life as it happens and be thankful for those I have in my life right now. It’s funny how your mind-set changes when you know your losing something or someone.
When I was sorting through my belongings I kept very few things that were sentimental to me. If it was replaceable, like an electronic, I got rid of it. I kept cards from my grandma, books my dad wrote in, and a few letters. Everything else is just stuff. You’ll get over it. The second you walk out that door towards your new life, you’ll forget about all of it. You might even kick yourself for making such a big deal out of a freakin’ object. You don’t have less now, you have more. Remember that.
Begin Listing Your Items on Craigslist, Ebay, and Amazon
In order to maximize your profits when you sell your items list them on Craigslist, Ebay, and Amazon first. This is where you’ll be able to find niche buyers for the specific items you own. They’ll pay the most money. Do this 6-months out from your departure, earlier if you have the luxury of time.
Be careful bringing people to your house off of Craigslist as I had to call the cops on a psycho who bought a massage table from me.
Sell Leftover Books, CDs, DVDs, and Clothes to Specialty Stores
When you’re 2 months from leaving, begin taking your leftover books, cds, dvds, and clothes to specialty stores like CD warehouse, used clothes resellers, Half-Price Books, and such to get a few dollars per item. On some items you’ll get more at these stores than you would at a garage sale. My DVD’s went for $3 or 4 for $10 at my garage sales.
Have Garage Sales
You’re last resort is a garage sale. This is where buyers come in search of bargains so be ready to price your items to sell. Don’t think about how much you paid for something, think about how much someone would be willing to pay for it. It might be insulting, but remember this is necessary to move to your new lifestyle.
You’ll want to start having garage sales around 2-months before you depart. Have them every other weekend until your items purge down to a minimal size. When you end up with a small lot of random items, have an everything must go, everything’s a $1 garage sale.
Garage Sale Tips
- Make it easy to browse your items.
- Hang up clothes and arrange by size and/or type (ie: women’s, men’s, childrens)
- Have it on Saturday morning from 7 -11 am (or longer if people keep arriving)
- Post it on Craigslist the day before – Mention your intent to sell everything you own.
- Have coffee ready for people to drink while browsing.
- Since you know you’re going to have a few garage sales, keep in-demand items priced accordingly. If they aren’t selling slowly move the price down as the day goes on or as the weekends pass by. You may be able to wait for the right buyer willing to pay! Then, again, don’t be such a hard-ass that none of your items sell.
When your finished with your ‘everything must go’ garage sale, bring the rest to good will or wherever else you can donate your items. Pat yourself on the back and consider yourself free of stuff. Now there is nothing for you to come back to. Go out and live your dream!
Need more help selling off your items? Check out “Sell Your Crap” from ManvsDebt.