Day 55 | Throwing All Our Stuff Away

May 3, 2017

Today we threw away ALL of our stuff… but for a good reason. We’re getting our van! Yippee!

We found out late last night that the weather in Wyoming is going to be a lot warmer for the next few days! It’s not supposed to stay warm for long so if we want to take advantage of this opportunity we have to jump on it right away. The weather doesn’t often give us advanced notice.

Scrambling to get ready to make this transition sounded a little overwhelming but neither of us had any doubt about whether we wanted to pursue this. Of course we want our van ASAP!

This made today an absolutely crazy day of running around so that we could be ready to leave. Because our rental car and belongings have picked up some bad contamination we needed to try to make a completely clean break. We definitely don’t want to risk introducing the same contamination into our new van. This meant we had to get rid of everything! Except our driver’s licenses, credit card, my glasses and my prescriptions. Ideally we would have had time to replace those too but we didn’t.

This morning we went to a gas station that had a big dumpster and started throwing things away. We didn’t realize people would stop to ask, “Is that any good? Why are you throwing that away? Can I have it?” It was kind of funny actually!

First a man stopped and asked if he could take our shovel and folding chair. I wish we had had more time to think about it but we decided it was probably okay since the items didn’t have toxic mold growing on them, they were only mildly cross-contaminated. Most people don’t react to these substances at the minute levels that I do. Next two older women stopped to ask, “Why are you throwing that away?!”

She wanted almost everything we had and even dug through the dumpster to get things we had already thrown out. It was all we could do to keep ourselves from laughing. We let her have most of it except a few items that I felt were the very worst in terms of contamination. I worried that the tent and the cot mattresses especially might be bad enough that they could harm even a vulnerable healthy person.

Next we drove to Albuquerque. First we had to return a backup tent that we never used and then Brett stopped at Starbucks to back up his phone. Then we went to drop off our contaminated electronics at a friend’s house so that they could mail them back to my parents house. I can’t tolerate them right now but we couldn’t afford to lose the photos and documents we have on them.

After that we stopped at Home Depot to pick up some cardboard boxes and gorilla tape to protect the new items we needed to get for the trip. We didn’t want our new outfits getting contaminated by the car. Then we stopped by the Apple Store to return my new phone and headed to Target.

I waited in the car while Brett went in to get two new outfits for each of us, flip flops, sleeping bags, and water. Then he brought out the stuff for me to test. Unfortunately, I reacted to a lot of it and he ended up going back four times to return items and get different ones! The poor guy! We didn’t know if it was safe for me to be in the Target parking garage so we parked pretty far away. It was quite a long way to carry bags full of heavy water jugs! The whole process was rather frustrating and took way longer than we expected.

When we finally finished putting the new stuff into the boxes we headed to Whole Foods to pick up some paper towels and snacks. Then we went back to our friend’s house to decontaminate in their back yard before heading to the airport to find a new rental car. It was already getting so late! We had to shower in the dark. Thankfully, they filled our water jugs with warm water for us and we were both able to scrub down really well. We wanted to be super careful not to bring any contamination with us.

Then we changed into our new clothes. We put on two layers so that we could decontaminate again before getting into our new rental car. We also covered our seats with cardboard to keep us from getting contamination on our new clothing.

Unfortunately, my legs started itching as soon as I put on my new pants. Oh dear! I guess I was in a rush when I was testing things and didn’t notice how badly contaminated they were. As we got in the car and started driving the itching got much worse. “I can’t get a new rental car in these pants! I’ll contaminate the seats!” I thought.

So we rushed to Walmart and Brett went in to find me different pants to change into. Unfortunately, I needed two layers and one of them wasn’t good enough. So he ran back in and got another pair. It was 11:00pm at this point and we were both really stressed out! We thought Hertz Rental closed at midnight and were starting to worry that we might not make it in time.

I changed as best I could in the car and wiped my legs down with a wet t-shirt. Pretty soon the itching stopped and we were finally on our way to Hertz Rental. I was so nervous! What if they didn’t have a car that felt good?

Thankfully, we found out they closed at 1:00am when we arrived. Yay! They only had 5 cars for us to test though and that made me a bit anxious. Last time I had to try 15 cars before I found one that I didn’t react to!

I was so surprised when the fourth car we tried felt pretty good. It was the only one that felt good out of the 5 so we decided to go with it. It was midnight by now and really cold and windy! Decontaminating was miserable! I poured water on my head, face and arms and hoped that no one would notice my strange behavior. Then I took off my top layer of clothes and realized that I forgot to rinse my feet and change into the new shoes. Bummer!

Brett was in the building setting up the rental so I would have to wait. I didn’t want to go back into the contaminated car to get the box that had the new shoes and water. I paced back and forth trying to stay warm. Then I realized I could just rinse my feet with drinking water and get into the new car without shoes! Duh!

When Brett came out, he transferred the few items we got in Target into the new car and threw out the cardboard boxes. Then he decontaminated and threw out his outer layer of clothing. It was so cold and miserable that I couldn’t watch. I felt so bad for him! I never knew one man could love a woman so much! Sometimes I am amazed that he would go through all this trouble just to get me better.

We were both so relieved when we finally got into the rental and drove away. Even though it was super late we were determined to make progress on our journey. We drove out of the city and found a good place to spend the night on public land just south of Santa Fe. It was 2am, we were so utterly exhausted and so thankful that part was over!

I send out a weekly digest with updates about our adventures. To receive these updates click here.

Previous Post Next Post

You may also like


  • Ruth Meyer

    One man’s poison is another man’s treasure? What an experience! I’m so excited to hear you are getting the van–finally! 😀 All the times you have had to decontaminate, change, and throw things away, just amazes me. I know that would stress me out in a lot of ways. I’m glad you have found a system that works for you, though. Your story feels like a great illustration of how sin keeps trying daily to contaminate our lives, and we daily turn to God in prayer and His Words in Scripture for help to keep our hearts clean, healthy, and pure. I’m glad the Lord helps us in every way, and His methods never fail, no matter how often we use them. Praying for you today

    May 5, 2017 at 6:20 pm Reply
  • Natalie Julson

    I’m so happy for the new van!!!!!!!!!! I know you guys have been waiting to get it for so long. Prayers and hugs sent your way
    And I may be doing a happy dance right now too because I just can’t contain my excitement for you guys

    May 5, 2017 at 8:01 pm Reply
  • Bekah

    You got the car! You got the car! I am so happy for you guys!
    Prayers coming your way!

    May 5, 2017 at 9:35 pm Reply
  • Patty Margaret

    I read your post with out taking a breath. I can’t wait for more. It’s a hard hard way to go but your getting this down. I bet you have ideas how not to contaminate the van, or at least how to clean it. Hugs.

    May 6, 2017 at 5:30 am Reply
  • Abby

    *throws confetti in the air* Yall got the van YAY!! 😄

    May 6, 2017 at 6:53 am Reply
  • Ellie Peetz


    May 7, 2017 at 12:58 pm Reply
  • Betty Keen

    This is amazing! What kind of van are you getting, and why in WY?

    May 7, 2017 at 5:44 pm Reply
  • Denise

    Praise God from whom all blessings flow! I can’t wait to see a picture of y’all’s new van:)

    Ana and Brett are two of the most amazing people, I pray for you all often and know God is at work even when circumstances seem otherwise.

    May 9, 2017 at 9:22 am Reply
  • Leave a Reply