Traveling light – from chaos to minimalism step by step
Since years I love reading about people who travel the world with only cabin luggage around 9kg and I really want to do the same. My first longer trip to Mexico 2015, I had a 15kg backpack with lots of stuff – it took me hours to pack all my things and when my sister arrived a few months after, I realised that everything is easier with less!
The same I try since years in my room, every time I move place, I have the goal to only keep half of the things I posses. I remember when I studied, I had so many things (books, furniture, paintings, sewing stuff, clothes), so that I needed a big van to move to a new room. My room was never tidy and clean and I didn’t even have place to put everything away. It is not that I spent much money on shopping, but I loved flea markets, ebay and second hand shops… So I had to get rid of a lot of possessions, I remember bringing more than 5 huge bags of clothes to charity and selling more than 50 parcels on ebay. Of course also a lot of things I just had to throw away. But it gets easier and easier with time. The last time I moved, I decided to spend a lot of time for it and sorted every little thing I own, every picture and every pen. I wouldn’t let people help me much to move my stuff, so I had to carry it myself and realise how much it is. I didn’t have any furniture any more, even my matress was just borrowed from a roommate. In the end everything fit in my fathers car and we didn’t have to rent a vehicle anymore. But still, I own definitly more than 5 boxes of things and clothes… Let’s see how far this will go next time.
When I traveled to India 2016, I booked flights with only hand luggage and I bought a backpack in which would fit about 40 litres, that had to be enough. Still, I packed quite a lot, in the end I had around 10kg but it all fit. From 4 flights, in only one they wanted to measure the weight of my bapckpack, allowed was only 8kg… So I had to pay 50€ extra, which was a painful lesson. Being in India, I still had more than enough clothes and stuff and it was relaxing not to have a huge choice of things to wear. I was never able to go shopping, because I knew that my backpack was pretty full. That was sometimes hard, but on the other hand I learned from previous travels that most things I like when I travel are not the same when I’m back in Germany and normally I don’t bring many gifts, because I don’t feel it is somethinge people need. So this trip was an improvement but still not super light…
Packing for Australia 2017 I tried to take only half the stuff that I took to India, at least for clothing. My backpack was still heavy, but I just wore a lot of clothes on the flights and then it was around 8kg. After 4 months I can say, that I could still take a lot less clothes, it is really a learning process. Whenever I need something else, I can just buy it for a few dollars in an OP Shop here. It is very releasing to be able to pack my things in less than half an hour. As always I still buy and find things for free here and there and use them for a while, but I am very aware of how much I want to take with me when I move place next time!
Some tips for a light backpack (for warm and dry areas):
- I use an e-Reader app on my phone to read books
- I write diary on my phone or laptop
- I stopped using make up, shower gel is great for hair as well and I have small bottles for all liquids I need
- Instead of taking an external drive, there are usb sticks now with more than 100GB space
- My only warm pullover is a fleece jacket and whenever it is colder I have a light rain jacket that I can wear on top
- Flip flops and one pair of light shoes is often enough
- I use packing bags to compress all my clothes in one bag
- Think of people like Steve Jobs: He said he wore the same every day, to have less decisions! 🙂