When it comes to travel, I’ve been adopting a minimalist view for the past few years. In fact, it’s turned into a game of how little I can pack for a trip. I have this big fear of luggage getting lost and the headache of tracking it down. Also, what’s with the recent influx of additional fees for even carry-on bags!? AND then, there's the biggest factor—the inconvenience of toting a lot of crap around!
Every year my dad, step-mom, and four sibs who live in Japan (“Japan fam”) come to Florida for the summer. This year I chose to fly Frontier (I know, I know but the times worked and it was non-stop!). I told my step-mom that I was flat-out refusing to pay any additional fees for luggage and I would fit everything I needed into my complimentary “purse” item or die trying! Even if it meant bringing two pairs of underwear. She was like…”um, just….make sure you bring more than two pairs of underwear, ok?” ...
So I resurrected my old Jeru backpack from a study abroad in 2010. It’s definitely seen better days but is the closest thing to a “laptop case/purse” I have. And I did indeed fit everything I needed including FOUR pairs of underwear (you’re welcome, Tammy).
I’ve really been trying to incorporate the principles of minimalism into my daily life, including travel (more than just the packing part). I noticed several changes in my experience this time around.
For instance, I was very mindful and deliberate about purchases. I am a sucker for beautiful things--artsy prints, jewelry, etc. I did not buy a single “thing.” Not because I was depriving myself or told myself I couldn't but because with everything I looked at, I had to picture where I would put it and if it would make the cut to come to NZ with me. If not, I didn’t want to spend my money on it.
This even carried over to no-cost items too like shells at the beach. I found several lovely shells that in the past I would have brought home with me and added to the piles of travel memorabilia and/or beach themed Pinterest crafts on my to-do list (you know, "one day" when I "had time.”)
Instead, I noted the beauty of each thing, the creativity of the artist, took a few pictures of the scenes I loved most, and then left the items where I found them. The pleasure it gave me to hold it or see it in that moment was enough. I did not feel the need to keep to every item or commemorate the trip with a purchase.
Rather, I focused on the activities we did together like getting my first henna tattoo with my siblings, going to the movie with grown-ups (yup, I have them fooled), a long walk with my sister and of course the sunny beaches.
Now that I'm home again, I have no regrets about what I left unpurchased and it took less than 60 seconds to unpack!