Why not travel light, even when you’re not traveling?

Have you been seeing all the ads on Facebook and Instagram for luggage?

I actually find them fascinating. Not the ads — the products themselves. All the different kinds of suitcases, knapsacks and packing cubes designed to let you cram as much as you can into a bag small and compact and lightweight enough to take on board with you — thereby avoiding the need to check
your luggage and worry about whether or not you will be reunited with it once you arrive at your destination.

They’re brilliant. And if you’re smart and practical about what you take and avoid the “well-I’ll-take-it-just-in-case” trap, it is possible to go away for a month or two with just two pieces of carry-on luggage.

Bliss, right? So simple and easy. And it’s made me long for an equally unencumbered lifestyle here at home.

What I’m talking about goes much deeper than going through your closets and finally getting rid of that jacket you haven’t worn in a couple of years. I mean really taking stock of your life, figuring out what you really need and getting rid of everything else. Nothing extra. Just the essentials.

To me, it sounds like total freedom. Absolute joy. Literally being light as a feather. Weightless.

Why not,” I keep asking myself.

This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately and I’m convinced I could live happily with a couple of pairs of jeans, a couple of pairs of “dressier” pants, enough of an assortment of short and long-sleeved T-shirts and sweaters to see me through every type of weather and mean I’d only have to do laundry once a week, a lightweight jacket, a raincoat, a winter coat, a pair of runners, a pair of sandals, a pair of comfortable walking shoes, a nice pair of flats and a pair of winter boots, a few scarves, a cap, a warm hat and a pair of gloves. And an equally spare amount of socks, lingerie and sleepwear.

Where my plan falls apart is my books. Books and old family photos. I gave up my attachment to “things” years ago, sending truckloads of antiques to auctions. I am rather fond of some of my furniture and art, but the more I daydream about this notion of living light, the more I come to realize I could walk away from it — if, for example, I was going to live abroad.

But giving up my books? Dumping the albums? That’s a struggle for me.

Interesting isn’t it? I’ve managed to separate my emotions from practicality when it comes to every possession I have or have ever had — except for books. That’s the final frontier to be conquered and who knows — maybe I will and maybe I won’t. Time will tell.

All I know is the thought of a life that can metaphorically be packed into two pieces of carry-on luggage is very appealing.











12 thoughts on “Why not travel light, even when you’re not traveling?

  1. Just this morning, I was looking around at all of the STUFF in this house and thinking similar thoughts. I agree. Traveling light and unencumbered (metaphorically – I’m not much of a tourist, to be honest) is something I long for.

    • I’m determined to give it a try — with the exception of my books and family albums — at least for now. I have to gradually work my way up to that 😀

  2. When I downsized from a four bedroomed family home to a tiny, one bedroomed flat, Most of my stuff had to go…and it really is liberating. I don’t really have much space for purely decorative items, the only ample cupboard space is in the kitchen… even furniture is minimal. But… my walls are lined with bookshelves stacked two books deep. And I still haven’t enough space for them all 😉

    • Like you I am fine downsizing everything but books. A few years ago I was giving serious consideration to moving to France. I still think about it. But the thought of leaving my books behind really bothers me. And the cost of shipping them there is staggering.

      BTW, I loved your post yesterday but have had so many problems trying to “like” and comment. Your son’s newfound love affair with his garden and pond is such a lovely story. And what a wonderful mom you are.

      • When I moved to France, I took only a couple of books, but acquired more. I left minein my mother’s care. They gradually moved to France whenever I visited… and I still acquired yet more. I shipped a crate of them back to England when we returne, after giving away about five hundred of them. I use my books! 🙂

        To be fair, I could dispose of a good many of them if I had to. But some of them are family…

        Thanks, Fransi. We spent most of the day by the pond again 🙂

  3. In my own quest to declutter and get rid of extraneous “stuff,” I have exempted books. I did donate hundreds a few years ago, but it barely made a dent. Perhaps someday I will tackle books, but I don’t yet see the need. When Marie Kondo said she didn’t see why people needed to keep more than 5 books (she’s since revised the book collection number to 20), I realized Marie and I were unlikely ever to see eye-to-eye. That’s OK. I’d rather look at books.

  4. A timely blog Fransi, I’m in the process of planning my move to smaller quarters, not a big deal purging the sweaters, pants , shirts etc however my artwork and my books are another matter, I will be editing with great difficulty. I think my walls will be pretty much covered in art my art and design books will definitely be coming with me, I think I may be passing on my bios which is my preferred reading . I will donate to a charity or maybe the 519 Community centre if they would like them, they will have a new home and bring much pleasure to their readers I’m sure. As far as traveling I’m guilty of overpacking and often return not having worn about 30% of my wardrobe, that’s a lesson I need to work on so maybe purging will help me with that or is that wishful thinking ?

    • I’ve heard that the library takes books, but you’d have to check. Also possibly assisted living facilities. I agree it would be easier to give up our treasured books if we know they will go where they give others pleasure. As for traveling with clothes we never wear I think we all do that, I know I have. I once had a job, back in Montreal, where I traveled every week. That’s when I learned to pack light — or at least lighter. Good luck with your move, Nicholas!

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