You’re going to want to bring very little.
If you’re turning something around in your hands, reacquainting yourself with the nooks and crannies, chances are you don’t need it.
Having done this: given away most of my belongings and fitting what remained into a third of my Corolla, then living in Los Angeles for two years, there were moments I thought: “this is stupid.”
It happens when I have to buy things I could have easily brought with me. I recently moved into my second apartment in Los Angeles, and I realized after two years I was right back to where I started: sitting on the hardwood floor and eating off paper plates; hunting Craigslist for dishware and utensils and a sofa; using the same mug to drink water/coffee/wine.
And I wonder why I didn’t think to bring dishes, or maybe a second cup, or a can opener? Why didn’t I cram everything I thought I may need into the car? (I’m talking about modern conveniences here: dish towels, lamps, a toolbox — not anything extravagant.)
Because all these things are only convenient once you’ve settled down.
My goal was to get to Los Angeles, and everything that didn’t contribute to that goal was extraneous. Things own you as much as you own them, the same way gravity pulls in both directions. “Getting there” took priority over “getting comfortable,” and I left nothing to chance. I wanted to arrive and think nothing of the convenience back east. If I wanted convenience, I would have stayed where I was.
Personally, I knew I was starting over. Most people don’t need to take it to this extreme. But if this is something you’re going to do, with no job or apartment or network in place when you arrive, you’ll want every advantage. You want to be fast and flexible if you’re Fighting Broke, which means shedding the excess, and freeing yourself to accomplish what you set out to do.
For the most streamlined blog post on simplifying your life, read the Simple Living Manifesto by Leo Babtua.