One thing I’m not fond of when it comes to travel is packing. Packing this light, squeezing all necessities into a carry on suitcase and shoulder bag for a two week overseas trip initially seemed ludicrous! My friends and I were moving around Italy every two days so we decided checked baggage (or as they say in Italian, “bagaglio”) was not an option. It runs the risk of being lost. Who wants to head to the Italian Riviera with only the clothes on your back? (Ok, not me! I’m the one who’s always armed with a bikini in my carry on, just in case. Except this time in my packing haste, I packed HALF a bikini!! Oh well, I just had to buy a new “Made in Italy” one from a beachfront shop!)
Minimizing baggage is a challenge to say the least. I understand the less you carry, the less you stress: the less you have to lose, the less force on your body and mind, the less space you occupy on a plane, train or automobile. I’ve seen people with all types of baggage, struggling through boarding lines, dragging it over cobblestone walkways in Europe and of course, the relentless backpackers hunched over so they don’t fall flat on their backs! Being a minimalist for many, including me, demands a steep learning curve. But the initial fear of feeling you “should’ve packed it” is later dampened by the relief that you didn’t bring it with you!
Shedding unecessary baggage lightens the load and frees up space – space to breathe and move freely! Like many, I pack some old clothes and dump or donate them after I’ve used them throughout my international journeys- liberating! Eliminating unnecessary baggage is therapeutic. At least for me, an escape out of town, whether one hour away or thousands of miles across the ocean provides the opportunity to detach from anchors that held you back and consumed your time, strength and energy – all valuable resources for a healthy, happy life. I think there’s something to be said for letting go and lightening your load. We all have baggage to some degree. There’s the inevitable or necessary baggage and the “extra” baggage. And as we age, baggage becomes inevitable. But holding on to negative experiences and refusing to allow their life lessons to positively change your course is the baggage we need to deal with…. then dump! If not, we bring it into the next experience- a career, a relationship or a new phase in life.
Getting out of town for me, is a way to look in from the outside since I’m physically detached from my daily life. I can then clearly see what baggage I’ve been hauling around and distinguish between the unhealthy (aka unnecessary) baggage and the inherent (aka baggage that’s just a part of me). The result? A return home with a clearer mind and revised game plan for positive growth… (oh, and a new suitcase purchased in Portugal to hold my fun finds and souvenirs!)