Travel Lightly and Be Where You Are
I want to be where I am, not where my stuff is.
When we travel, great time and attention is devoted to our stuff. What stuff should bring? Did we bring enough stuff? Will our stuff fit in a carry on? If it doesn’t, will the airlines lose our stuff? Where will we put our stuff when we get there? How much room do we need for the new stuff we buy when we travel?
If I am wandering around a city, wondering if I remembered to bring an external hard drive or extra pair of shoes, I’m missing out. If I’m thinking about something I left in the hotel room on the way to the airport, I’m distracted. More importantly, if on my travels, I am constantly on the hunt for more stuff, I’ve really missed out on what the city, or destination has to offer.
In two weeks I’ll be traveling to Portland and Seattle with nothing but a backpack. I know that doesn’t sound like revolutionary news, but if you’ve ever been anywhere with me before, you know that while I want to live with less, I don’t travel with less.
Why I’m going…
I am creating a new photography collection for One Million for Good called The Cities. I have great images from San Francisco, New Orleans, and Savannah, but want to add a few more, including Portland and Seattle. I will also be meeting new friends, enjoying some solitude, and doing a little aimless wandering.
What I’m bringing…
- Small backpack. I don’t really like backpacks, but because I will be all about planes, trains and boats, I want to move easily with nothing to carry in my hands but a camera.
- Iphone + charger
- Sunglasses (Here’s hoping)
- Lipstick. Yep, just one.
- Tinted Foundation
- Blush + brush
- Toothpaste & toothbrush
- ID, Debit Card, a little cash
- Raincoat (It’s Portland)
- Black Shirt
- Gray very casual dress (only if 60 degrees or higher predicted)
- Pink Sweater
- Something to sleep in
- Black flats
I’ll wear Jeans + Tank + Blazer + Sport shoes.
In the interest of full disclosure, you should know that on past trips, I typically packed two outfits per day (one for day and one for night) plus an additional outfit if I was planning to use a gym, pool or yoga studio. I don’t share that for any other reason than to let you know that minimalism does not come naturally to me. I crave less, but my travel experiences have not reflected that.
For you to fully appreciate how far I’ve come, you should also know, that I have traveled with another empty bag stuffed in my suitcase for…shopping. Yep, I used to bring stuff home. This should be a glaring example that big change is possible anytime.
When Kristin and Shannon from ALL of US revolution achieve their mission, I anticipate even bigger change in my travel needs. Give me what I want ladies – more less.
What I think I’ll wish I had packed…
- a shirt for each day
- yoga clothes
- bathing suit
- shorts or skirt
- cute heels
- flat iron
- hair dryer
I’ve been inspired by minimalist travel bloggers like Karol Gajda, who only packed this for 500 days, but I can’t really relate to his experience. I’ve packed more make-up and accessories on 5 day trips, then everything he packed for 500.
I needed someone taking shorter trips with less to teach me. Enter Francine Jay, better known as Miss Minimalist. I am reading her book The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide: How to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify Your Life and it’s smart and gentle. Francine has always been a voice of reason, so I thought her blog would be a good starting place. After reading her Extreme Light Travel routine though, my little backpack is starting to look like a little much. Maybe I’ll lose the black flats and blazer and wear the sweater. (baby steps)
On this trip, I’ll…
- Board the plane slowly instead of rushing on to make room for my stuff.
- Drop my things at a hotel and get out in the city, instead of unpacking and re-organizing.
- Make due with what will fit in my pockets, so I can truly embrace each city.
- Gaze out of the train window, instead of making sure my stuff is safe.
- Enjoy a meal without thinking someone might trip over my suitcase.
- Lose the thought of losing a bag knowing everything I need is on my back.
What’s in your suitcase? I’d love to hear your tips to travel lightly, and any great recommendations to get lost in Portland or Seattle.
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