Ottawa has never been my favourite city. While I have certainly met some people here who I like a great deal, and while there are certainly interesting kinds of work to be done here, I miss the beauty and familiarity of Vancouver. I also miss the options and excitement associated with larger places like Montreal and Vancouver, as well as the unique intellectual atmosphere of Oxford.
Lately, I have also felt as though it would be a good idea to spend a big chunk of time seeing more of the world than I have so far (though there are ethical issues that surround emissions from voluntary travel).
One thing that interferes with all of these plans is my rented apartment and the few thousand dollars worth of low-cost IKEA furniture and miscellaneous materials it contains. Finding it took quite a lot of effort, as good places in Ottawa seem to get snapped up almost instantly. That and sheer force of momentum make me hesitant to give it up, especially since that would mean finding a place to store my miscellaneous possessions, as well as a mechanism for moving them to the storage location.
It is odd how incapacitating it can be to own more things than you can carry yourself. The situation certainly suggests to me that it is wise to continue renting. My present situation already renders me immobile to an extent I find somewhat regrettable. A mortgage, property taxes, repair obligations, and the additional stuff that would inevitably accompany any kind of home ownership would be even more stifling.
I am not as badly off as I could have been. I am still using the same cheap IKEA furniture I bought straight after moving to Ottawa, even though an increasing proportion of it is held together with gaffer tape and screws I installed myself. Most of the surplus income that has accompanied full time work has likewise gone into paying off student debts, building up a cushion of savings, and buying photo gear. Photo gear may be the least anchor-like kind of possession, for me at least. For one thing, it packs a lot of dollar value into a small amount of space and weight. For another, every time I use it I want to go somewhere scenic or novel or important, so as to be able to put it to better use.
Photographing and re-photographing the same few neighbourhoods is not the more enriching experience.