The “Autumn Special,” a 6’8″ squash-tail, later given away.

David Miller takes “inventory” of various things lost / sold / given away in the process of being a traveler.

ON THIS LAST MOVE to Patagonia we reduced our “worldly possessions” to 3 large suitcases, a duffel bag, a backpack, a snowboard bag, and carseat (for our daughter). This was after being married for 6 years.

I don’t feel proud of this necessarily; it’s just the reality of (a) not having enough money / motivation to ship other things we had–art / books / toys / furniture–down here via container, (b) having a natural aversion to accumulating things, and (c) effecting a transcontinental move via airplane.

But damn, now that we’re down here I’m missing a lot of our shit.

Or not really. Some of it I miss, I guess. Some of it I need. Either way, I’ve been thinking about it lately, all of this different stuff that I’ve spent time with as a traveler, stuff that in some cases got named.

Here are some of them:

1. The Autumn Special

A 6’8″ squash-tail bought for $75 in Pismo Beach, California. Later stored in friend’s garage in San Francisco, then taken down to Mexico, where it was surfed for 4 months, then given to Argentine surfer in Pascuales.

2. “The Land Speeder” aka the “Santa Cruz”

2. 156 cm Santa Cruz snowboard bought for $125 at a surf shop in San Francisco. Used for a season in Tahoe (Heavenly Valley), then mailed to Andy Vernor for usage at local ski-hill in Wisconsin, then later mailed back to me with Land Speeder sticker applied. Was later stolen out of back of jeep in Nederland, Colorado.

Me paddling Big Gun, Encampment, Wyoming.

3. The Big Gun

A creek boat produced by Riot around 2003.

Purchased from a paddler in Glenwood Springs Colorado for $250.

Never fit right, but was used during 2005-2007 paddle seasons in Colorado / Wyoming. “Sold” to dude in Nederland, Colorado who was supposed to send me a check but never did.

4.The “Music Collection”

CD + cassette library maintained from middle school through college (Athens, Georgia) containing, among other artists, Air, Agent Orange, Augustus Pablo, B52s, Billie Holliday, Bob Dylan, Coltrane, Dead Kennedys, Digable Planets, Digweed, DJ Spooky, Django Rheinhardt, Ernest Rangling, Gregorian Monks, James Brown, the JB’s, King Oliver’s Dixieland Jazz Band, Led Zeppelin, Lee Perry, Miles Davis, Neutral Milk Hotel, Nirvana, Outkast, Plastikman, the Porchhonkys, Quincy Jones, r.e.m., Suicidal Tendencies, Talking Heads, Velvet Underground + a whole bunch of 4-track recordings of early guitar / bass / drum played with friends. .

Sold at various music stores and / or given away / lost. [Notes: none of this feels like a “loss” now that we’re in post-cd “world,” except for a particular collection of tapes that I kept in a Vietnam-era ammo case given to me by my Dad that seemed to have disappeared in between graduating from College and heading off to the Appalachian Trail. ]

The Stealth Fighter

The Stealth Fighter

A squirt boat given to me in Seattle by a crew of squirtboaters from Pennsylvania.

Used in exploratory runs on Skykomish and Snoqualmie rivers. Later washed down the Clark’s Fork of the Yellowstone River after I got worked in seam / subduction zone at Purple Cliffs and had to swim.

Special notes: This craft was unique in all possession-experiences in that (a) it was something handmade, and (b) never sold but given from one person to the next, as well as (c) “given” back to the river, which (d) came close to turning into a near death experience as I kept fighting to save it as we started washing into the next rapid, but then gave up and (e) as I sat up on the bank afterward it felt like the whole thing was actually kind of hilarious and I was only sorry there was nobody there to see it happen, which (f) gave me this strange energy that I used to (instead of camping there as originally intended) drive 13 more hours straight across to Colorado to meet up with my friends.

6. The “Library”

Book / magazine collection maintained from middle school and in several houses and states after college, with titles by Alexie, Borges, Bukowski, Carver, Camus, Cather, DeFoe, Dostoyevsky, Emerson, Faulkner, Fitzgerald, Frank, Ginsberg, Golding, Hamsun, Harrison, Hemingway, Herbert, Hesse, Huxley, James, Jewett, Kafka, Kerouac, Kingslover, Lawrence, Lee, Lewis, London, Lorca, MacLean, Mann, Marquez, Melville, Miller (Arthur + Henry), O’Connor, Ovid, Proulx, Roth, Salinger, Sartre, Shakespeare, Snyder, Steinbeck, Storm, Thoreau, Tolkien,Twain, Walker, Williams (William Carlos + Tennessee), Wiesel.

Sold at (a) garage sale in Marietta, GA, (b) various bookstores in Athens, Georgia, Boulder, Colorado, and Seattle, Washington, and left in various places (1) Appalachian Trail Shelters, (2) the Dharma Shack, (3) parents’ house in Florida.

Note: like the music, there is no real “sense of loss” as far as not being able to maintain these possessions.

7. The “Wonder Bucket” and “Belt”

Tool-belt + paint bucket “organizer” used in construction work from mid 90s to 2009 including assorted tools: a worm-drive skillsaw, framing hammer, speed-square, chisels, cordless drill / impact, sawzall, chalkline, plumb bob, level. Given away to people (a) semi-unintentionally in Seattle, and (b) deliberately (as they had work going on and could use them) in Colorado.

8. The Egg

A 1992 Toyota Previa Van with standard transmission and all wheel drive. “Sold” to friends in Colorado, but then later gifted as it was discovered that years of using the Egg as offroad vehicle / Boulder Canyon commuting-machine had led to a “terminal diagnosis” vis a vis Colorado emissions standards vs engine repair costs.

Community Connection

What gear / things have you named in your travels / life experience and what is your relationship to it? Do you hold on to things or just give them away? Please let us know in the comments below.