Minimalist travelling


I love travelling. I hate packing. If I were a filthy wealthy, posh person, I would pay someone to pack for me every time I travel. But I am not, so I will either stop travelling or find a way to deal with this chore. And I doubt I will ever stop travelling. 

Background story

You may wonder why I hate packing suitcases. Or not. Either way, here it goes, so please bare with me.

After school, I started my undergraduate studies at the University of the beautiful Greek island of Rhodes, quite far from home. The only ways of commuting are naturally aeroplanes or ferries. Though back then, in my college years, the ferry was the top choice due to the lower travel cost and no weight restrictions.

And what happens when you give people immense freedom? Mayhem. And mayhem was every time I had to pack my gigantic suitcase to visit my parents. 

Why a gigantic suitcase? Simply because I couldn’t decide what garments I should carry along. Different clothes for each occasion with different accessories accompany them. What if I went there and the weather was such? What if I went to this or that coffee shop, bar, or restaurant? Maybe one extra pair of shoes, just in case.

But there are more frustrating parts of the story. The first and most infuriating part was carrying the ten tones suitcase in and out of the ferry. The second most dreadful part was barely wearing any of the clothes I had so painfully carried around due to my resorting to my favourite pair of jeans and a couple of comfy, easy-to-wear T-shirts.

Travelling with a dog and a baby

After my university years, I moved to Wales for postgraduate studies. My trips to Greece were less frequent now, but packing was still painful due to my indecision about what to pack and the plane’s weight restrictions. Nevertheless, I certainly upped my game by significantly reducing the amount of things I packed.

Some years later, I found myself in Berlin with a partner and a lovely big, fluffy dog.

The first summer after we adopted our wonderful Winston, we decided to drive from Germany to Greece. It was a beautiful long trip but with lots of luggage. We had our own stuff, and the dog had a duffel bag full of his toys, food, towels, mat and medication in case of emergency. We initially thought we were very clever with our packing, but travelling for many days and spending each night in a different hotel proved our packing method disastrous.

The second summer, we decided to undertake the same journey, only this time with an additional member, our baby; therefore, we changed our packing method following what we believed was a more efficient one. But we were wrong once more. Too many different bags, not well organised. And certainly, more things than necessary. 

Lesson learned

I love travelling and building moments and experiences with my family and beloved ones. Therefore, I don’t want the packing to strip this pleasure away. 

Thus, this year, I decided to go entirely minimalist without the “what if” stress. 

I only packed the clothes I really feel comfortable wearing and look nice on me. Owing only a few garments has undoubtedly made this decision easier while simplifying the packing process.

My husband did the same. As for our dog, I dramatically minimised the amount of “necessary” stuff.

And same goes for the baby. Sure enough, one has to be proactive when packing for a baby, but all his stuff fits easily in a small suitcase.

What helped me eliminate the excess stress was abandoning the “in case of” mentality. We travelled to another country and city, not in the jungle! There is always a launderette nearby or a washing machine in the hotels one can use. Things are even easier when travelling to a friend’s or family’s house. One is never too far from a drug store or a supermarket, so filling a bag with numerous snacks and foods “just in case” is futile.

Minima has a helpful essay on minimalist packing and clever travel tips that proved beneficial to me and supported my decision to streamline my packing methods. All the packing-generated stress was gone, and I obtained a more explicit idea of what I needed; apparently, not much.

No matter the amount or value of stuff one owns, if we don’t feel confident in our bodies and life, then nothing is good enough. Radiance is internal.

When the anxiety of wanting to have a bit more kicks in, I always take a step back to refocus on the things that I regard as essential; my beloved ones, a healthy and robust body, a nutritious diet, good skin, confidence in my values and beliefs, a well-established routine, my blog, my goals and peace of mind. And I always carry all these with me, regardless of all the fancy things I could have.

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