It is always around this point of my trips where I look down at my little pile of stuff that I brought with me and think, How did I survive for this long with only that much stuff? It is hard to believe that all of my important possessions for the last month have found a place in two small backpacks. I had to make some important choices before I left on my trip so I would not be weighed down with huge bags and could carry all of my stuff onto a plane with me without having to pay an extra price for going over the weight limit. It meant that way back in June I needed to think about what to bring with me and what I really did not need along for the ride. Throughout all of my years of traveling around the world, I have learned how to travel light, and this is probably the most important thing that I have learned how to do because it has made my trips more relaxing, and it has also taught me that I really don’t need much in order to survive in this world.
It basically comes down to bringing along only the basics. Besides the needed toiletries, I usually bring two sets of shoes, one a pair of sandals because it is the summertime and I don’t like it when my feet sweat, and a sturdy, but comfortable pair of long distance running shoes for those days that I want to go on long hikes through town or up a mountain. When I only have two pairs, I only need to pack one at a time, and they are both light weight so they do not take up a lot of space.
I also bring five t-shirt, two pairs of shorts, and one pair of pants. If I was traveling during the winter time, this might change. I also like to bring a long sleeved t-shirt for cold days, and a light weight jacket. I also bring one extra shirt that is nicer in case I find myself going out to a nice restaurant. I also bring a swimsuit with me during the summer months, and I am glad I did because I have gotten a lot of use out of it. Beyond underwear, and socks, this is all I bring with me in the way of clothes. It leaves a lot of open space in my main backpack for any trinkets that I pick up along the way.
As far as entertainment is concerned, I load a lot of good music onto my iPhone because I will not always have streaming service along the way. I try to make sure that it is all stuff I haven’t listened to in awhile because I do not want to get bored with it early on in the trip. My phone also acts as a camera. In fact all of the pictures you have seen on this blog with a few exceptions have been shot on my phone. I also bring with me my MacBook Air. I have another computer with a better word processor, but it is a lot bulkier, and I have not been working on my new novel on this trip, so this is the better computer to write about the things I see along the way. I also want to read while I am out there, and I have found that a Kindle has been the best piece of equipment so I can bring enough to read without having to add the weight of a bulky book. So far this summer, I have read six books and I am about to finish my seventh. Some of these books were beasts too, so it was nice to know that they all fit nicely on a device that weighs less than a pound. I also bring my guilty pleasure with me, my tablet. This has a few games that I have indulged in while waiting around at airports or train stations, and I also have the Comixology app on it so I can read some comic books if my eyes are hurting from reading too much on my Kindle. Otherwise, I find my entertainment out in the place where I am staying. It is part of the reason that I am traveling in the first place.
Of course I bring with me a couple of pencils, a pen, my charger and the appropriate wires to keep my devices going, but I have one that is easily adaptable to wherever I find myself in the world. I also bring the appropriate papers with me, but this is about it. It feels weird because when I have it all strapped to my back, I feel like I have brought too much stuff with me, but then I look at the other people around me, and see them lugging around huge suitcases and duffel bags twice the size of my bag. I think that these people must be going on a long trip that requires them to bring all of this stuff, but then I remember that most people, if they are lucky, get only three weeks off from work a year. Even if they are taking that much time off to go on this one trip, they are bringing way too much with them. I am traveling around the world for a little over six weeks, and I made sure to bring with me just the bare minimum. It has made my travel more enjoyable that I do not need to worry about my stuff and how I am going to get it from one place to the next, and I have used everything I have brought with me at least once. The places I have travelled in the world are well developed countries, and if I really need something like some medicine, or toiletries, I will be able to find them there rather easily.
This does not mean that I still do not like lugging my bag all over the place. The moments where I get to a new place, and try to navigate to where I am staying while I have all of my gear strapped to my back can be counted as some of my worst moments. I have to figure out how this new place’s transportation works while sweating under the weight of my pack, and I want nothing more than to get there so I can get it off. But I guarantee that it would be a lot worse if I had a bigger bag that I had to bring with me. I also get to this point in the trip and I look down at the shirt that I have worn six times over the past month and start to wish that I had something else to wear. It also gets rough having to shuffle through a bag to find the thing that I want. It does have its disadvantages, but when going on an adventure, I would highly recommend learning how to travel light.