Losing stuff is a fine way to go about life. It is often the only way we can realize what is actually important. I tend not to lose or misplace things, but that is mostly due to how angry I get at myself when it does happen. Keeping my wallet, keys, and phone in one designated spot may also be a bit of undiagnosed OCD (though I’m told by real sufferers that it’s actually CDO, in alphabetical order).

For anyone who has ever smelled smoke and not been able to locate the fire knows the feeling. That sinking gut feeling that things may get a lot worse. When I lived in the San Diego warehouse, I lived next to a scrap yard. I was there, digging about the old doors and window frames when I caught the delicate and charming aroma of burning mattresses. Of course at the time I had no idea what the fire was feasting upon, but looking up to the sky I knew it was a smokey treat. My legs intuitively sprinted to the warehouse, my chest bursting with that low sinking feeling that everything you own is gone.

But as my brain caught up to my pounding heart, I realized that there was nothing in the warehouse that couldn’t be replaced. I owned nothing that actually mattered, and suddenly I realized I was free. Well figuratively. In truth, I had no renters insurance and my student loans weren’t locked inside, ready to be burned up and forgotten. So there would be the annoyance of replacing my passport and things, and having to buy new clothes and other junk. And of course the student loans will always be there. But other than that, losing stuff isn’t that big of a deal.

Starting fresh has its benefits. I’m always amazed when I see a new Facebook blast go out about losing a phone, ‘I need your numbers’. Losing a cellphone can be the ideal time to let go of all those booty call numbers and folks you don’t actually like but you keep them in your phone in case they call you first. You know the ones…

Oh, right. So that warehouse fire was actually just some mattresses that some kids lit on fire in the alley. Me and a neighbor put it out with some garden hoses and expired fire extinguishers. Still, it opened my eyes and put the fear of Zeus into me.

We are officially traveling overseas now, wandering slowly about the globe. The above photo is what I’m currently traveling with, for better or worse. Nothing I’m traveling with is all that important, and at this point in my life, anything lost or stolen will simply make my travels a bit lighter.

There is a bright side to fires and losing things. When you’ve got little to lose, you’re free to do what you please.

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