Travelling Lightly

When I was planning my recent trip to the UK I toyed with the idea of travelling with just a small backpack, something like I would have used for school.  I was going from town to town, travelling by train or bus or subway, and didn’t want to fight with luggage every step of the way. Especially when I was to only arrive at a hotel late in the day, meaning all my sight-seeing would need to be done with the contents of my whole world on my person. Could it be done?

I searched the internet for people’s tips and personal experiences to try to determine if it was something I could do – and not only IF I could, but did I really want to? I have always leaned towards being prepared for anything, which requires a lot of things to be lugged along in the process. Experience had showed me that if you were prepared and well-equipped you would have a wonderful time because you were ready for all weather, all situations, all emergencies.

Over the last few years, though, this thought of living simply: finding more in less, and joy in small things that are all around us, has been in the back of my mind. Maybe I could travel with less and have a mind-set of enjoying it no matter the weather, situation, or emergency. I know a person doesn’t need things to make them happy, and maybe this is one more way I can live this thought out.

All the stories and tips I read on the internet pointed out one thing: everyone who travelled lightly enjoyed themselves and would never go back to packing everything and the kitchen sink. I let their thoughts sink in. Was I going to die or my trip be ruined if I didn’t have a hair product with me? Could I not buy something at a store if I needed something unexpectedly? Would taking 10 minutes to wash out my clothes in a bathroom sink every night be all that terrible for 2 weeks?

I put those thoughts into action, paring down my selected items. I went on my trip and had an amazing time with just a handful of items. There was a thing or two I did not use, but was still glad I had them for emergency back-up (umbrella, safety pins) and only one thing I needed to buy (a small bottle of hand lotion). I realized how wonderful it was to live life with less. I think we get caught up in society’s need for more, living our lives expensively and wastefully. Happiness has nothing to do with what we have, or all the little gadgets that are supposed to make life run more smoothly, or our house being picture-perfect.  It is a frame of mind that we choose to put on and clothe ourselves with. Just because my trip to the UK is over, I still hope to travel through the bigger journey of life simply and lightly.

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