The following was originally published June 20, 2008 at http://travelingsimply.blogspot.com/2008/06/lightening-load.html
external image 100_2602.JPG
In May, I donated my ponytail to Locks of Love in front of 1000 high school students. Part of a cancer survivor fundraiser for Children’s Hospital in Seattle, students bought raffle tickets to win cutting off a ponytail (mine or the principal’s) or shaving the head of a male teacher or assistant principal. I thought of it as a Mother’s Day tribute – my mom survived breast cancer when she was the age I am right now and I was a kid like my own students when mom was diagnosed. Growing my hair long was an almost two year commitment. It surprised me how much lighter I felt when it was cut off.

In May lightening the load was about hair, in June it is our house that’s on a weight loss plan. Getting ready to rent it and be away for 6 months means cleaning out closets and corners I have ignored for years. The outgrown kids clothes are being passed along to younger children, board games and toys are being sorted (Candyland, anyone?), and every thing put away, recycled, or slated for donation. Even easier, we hauled the vent-less gas stove to the curb, put a FREE sign on it, and it was picked up in a few hours. The neighborhood loves a free pile.
external image Kamiak+Butte_0682.jpg
Soon we’ll have one pannier of personal gear each as we pedal our tandem bicycles from Eugene, Oregon to San Diego, CA. Lightening the load there will help me swear less up the hills. And remind me of how little stuff we really need.