It took me 10 years to pare down my travel necessities to a carry on suitcase.
I used to need a large trunk or at least one checked bag to go anywhere for any amount of time. Back in the days of needing too many shoes, curling irons and straighteners, and perfumes to match each look. Back when I thought I needed the extra things to make me more appealing. I probably still need a little more of those things, but I’ve lost the desire to waste so much of my time with it all.
Then, I spent several years traveling with only a camera bag and a carry-on for clothing and toiletries before having a baby. Ah, the simple years. And, if you don’t know what it’s like to travel with a baby, especially one who is easily bored by her toys and requires special sleeping accoutrement, you have yet to experience the most chaotic TSA experience of your life.
Now, our child is 2, going on 3. We no longer need to pack bottles, burp cloths, and 3 backup outfits for each day. She still requires more than I do, but that’s the toddler life. We’ve always said we would rather deal with the chaos of getting us all there than to just put it off and wait until she’s older to travel. So, we just go. Checked bags and all.
I am finally back to a place where I can travel without needing a luggage cart. I can pack a backpack and a suitcase for the two of us. I am beginning to travel-sans baby, again. I am relearning how to pack a bag for just me.
Ridding your home and yourself of clutter is always a big trend around the beginning of a New Year, and thanks to the KonMarie method, I think Goodwill and thrift shops everywhere are overflowing with all of our gently used possessions. When I have less things, I end up packing lighter for a trip. I no longer buy a new wardrobe for each trip I take, and my philosophy is this:
If I’m not wearing it regularly at home, I likely will not wear it on vacation.
My expectations for a trip are lighter, as well. I remember going on girls trips when I was single. I brought a ton of outfits because I always expected to meet an interesting (read: handsome) guy and of course I would need a plethora of wardrobe changes so he would think I was also interesting (read: beautiful). I would go on a trip expecting to see or hear something that would enlighten me, move me, change me, etc. And most of the time? The trip could never meet my expectations. That tends to happen when you set the bar so high, not even the seven wonders of the world could compete.
These days? My bags are lighter, with more empty space. My head and my heart are open, with less defined “goals”. Letting go and clearing out aren’t just thing to do at the beginning of the year, and they aren’t just for your closets and shelves.
When I travel alone, with my camera gear. I love my National Geographic Africa backpack! For me, it holds a full frame body with lens, an additional lens, memory cards, batteries, tripod, book, magazine, pens, journal, wallet/passport, small toiletries, my HP Sprocket printer, and a pair of either Vibrams or Minnetonka’s- depending on the season.
What 4 weeks in Hawaii looked like for us when Liv was 6 months old. It’s important to note that we had a bed for her already at our destination, or else we would have had another bag in that pile.