Getting Rid of Things to Travel Light

Americans, such as myself, are lucky because they can take two suitcases home free of charge; other countries can only check one free of charge. Despite my added luxury, I didn’t come to Korea with two suitcases and I didn’t want to leave with two suitcases. However, after three years of life in Korea, I had a LOT of things to go through. I started weeding through my things about 4-5 months before I left. Basically by my last month in Korea, I had already sold the bulk of my things.

I had a couple of things I didn’t want to get rid of because they are rare to find outside of Korea and they’re kind of ‘cultural.’ For example: I received a gift from teachers at my last high school. It includes five miniature traditional wooden masks. It’s from the Hahoi village, which is famous for these traditional masks. I LOVED it and wanted to take it with me, but the cover is glass and I was worried it would break and it was kind of long and…let’s face it–it takes up a lot of luggage room. I had to sell it. Now all I have left is the memory of it, and this picture:

Miniature traditional Korean masks from Andong

Miniature traditional Korean masks from Andong

Other things, like Korean language books, are relatively cheap and easy to find in Korea. However, Korean language books are somewhat hard to find and they are overpriced in USA. It was hard parting with some of them…I ended up taking two with me (a beginner Korean workbook that gave me the foundation for my Korean language ability and a Korean children’s comic book) which are in the picture below. I also had two other really good Korean language study books but I sold them to a friend.

2 books to study Korean and 6 picture books with Korean dialogues

2 books to study Korean and 6 picture books with Korean dialogues

I tried to sell a lot of my things online via facebook groups. I had quite a people with serious inquiries, and (of course) a few trolls. I was able to sell books, cooking utensils, foods and seasonings, cleaning supplies, and electronics.


Some of the things I listed for sale.

Some of my things I gave to my friends (and a lot was passed onto the girl who replaced me–mentioned in my post “Nails“). What I couldn’t sell (or didn’t want to try), I donated. My excess dog things went to a shelter. I made one trip to the orphanage and shipped two large boxes to them of stuff including: bedding, clothing, roller blades, toys, school supplies, and some of my remaining books. Other donate-able things, but not for kids, went into the donation boxes on street (I believe for the homeless).  The rest of my things were trashed–which, surprisingly, wasn’t much.

In total, I left Korea with an underweight suitcase, a travelers backpack, and a carry-on backpack. (I had my dog in her kennel, too, but that didn’t count towards my luggage count.) And unlike other people, I decided not to ship anything home but to only take what I could carry with me.

People that have left a foreign country to return home, what did you do with your things?


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