“Unnecessary possessions are unnecessary burdens. If you have them, you have to take care of them! There is great freedom in simplicity of living. It is those who have enough but not too much who are the happiest.” ~ quote from: Peace Pilgrim
Are you the type of person which packs too much because…you know… “just in case?”
I’ve definitely been guilty of this more than once.
In fact, up until my current world trip, I was a serial-overpacker despite knowing that I would buy clothes and other things on my vacations. I was always one of those people who traveled with a luggage trolley and came back with an extra luggage case, having to sit on my luggage in order to close it.
When I traveled with my ex-boyfriend, he also became extra luggage storage for me.
I’m typically one of those people who like to be prepared for any potential situation. I don’t like wasting money and would rather have something on me than having to go through the inconvenience of finding something in another country (who knows how difficult it will be to find right?)
The turning point
So how did I transform from being a serial over-packer to a simple “backpacker”?
The answer is simple: I borrowed my friends 40-liter backpack and forced myself to use it.
When I first started packing, I kept asking myself: “how the f*** am I going to fit a year of my life in this and my small backpack?”
I kept packing and re-packing my bag until I finally succeeded. I couldn’t believe it – I actually did it! I was so proud of myself ~ I’d never been able to pack so light before (I got to 15 kg’s! a HUGE achievement for me).
Once I achieved this, I wanted to push myself even further (mainly because I wanted to get my luggage to carry-on only) .
A picture of me with my luggage
From backpacking to minimalism
Now that I’ve traveled a little bit (3 continents, about 9 countries and 3 or 4 climates), it’s given me time to notice, reflect and realise a lot.
I keep asking myself the same questions:
- How much does my luggage weigh?
- Can I get rid of anything to make my backpack lighter?
- Do I REALLY need that? (when I’m thinking about buying something)
And it’s helped me realise that minimalism is EVERYTHING for long-term travel
I’m not going to lie ~ I love having new clothes and looking good/stylish but this trip has made me see the value in having useful things over trying to look beautiful 24/7, collecting nice souvenirs and adding to my wardrobe (believe me, I used to buy a new outfit every week and fancy things to put in my house).
Why is minimalism so awesome?
There are MANY reasons but for me, the most important would be:
- Comfort – the lighter your backpack, the easier it is to go from A to B
- Cost – the less you buy, the less you spend
- Focus – you’re more focused on the important things
I’ve realised that you really don’t need much at all to travel ~ it’s something which I cherish from deciding to go on this trip. Preparing for this trip has made me extremely humble and grateful for the basic things in life. Now I focus more on utility ~ only buying things out of necessity, not because it looks nice. Every time I am offered something or see something nice, I think about how much weight it’s going to add to my luggage and if I REALLY need it.
More pictures of my and my luggage ~ so you get an idea of the actual size my luggage. You can also see me getting creative and using my small backpack as a pillow (it doubles as security too)
Yes, I admit that I miss dressing up to look cute or classy for an occasion (and getting that insta-worthy selfie) but looking good and owning awesome things are really not that important at the end of the day (especially when you’re traveling). I barely even properly do my make-up now (and I was a girl who previously couldn’t leave my house without doing my makeup).
What’s important is that you’re alive and healthy, doing what you want. adding to your life experiences and enjoying every day as much as you can!
Without question, I would choose an amazing experience over having the best possessions any given day and I’d happily exchange all my possessions for a life filled with great experiences.
And some pics of me simply enjoying myself – hopefully enough to convince you to pack lighter!
As I’ve said to others in the past – “Possessions are just possessions. They don’t have meaning or add value. It’s like houses ~ it’s the people in the house which give the house its meaning. Without them, it’s just another structure for people to live in.“