Minimalism is the art of living with what you need, nothing more, and definitely nothing less.
That means sticking solely to things you require and ditching the rest!
Besides stuff this also includes commitments, relationships, work, and lifestyle – any non-essential that’s weighing you down. Simply put, minimalism leads to a more fulfilling and intentional life.
What Is Minimalism To Me
I think of minimalism as a lifestyle that you adopt because it makes your life easier.
And I’m a firm believer that you can travel light while still having everything you need.
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There is a time and a place for minimalism; where, when and to what degree it applies to every person is arbitrary, and I don’t think it can be measured with numbers like ‘100’.
To me the secret to true minimalist travel is having portable peace of mind.
What does this mean?
In short, it means having the ability to take ‘home’ wherever you go.
You can go anywhere and you won’t have to worry about being homesick if your home is always with you.
Imagine if there was a way you could pack it up and carry it everywhere, without it weighing a thing…
What does the word ‘home’ mean to you? For most people, it’s
- the place they keep their stuff
- the place they grew up/made good memories
- where they ‘live’
If you take these three things and think about them carefully one by one, perhaps it’s not so hard to believe that you can make your home ‘portable’.
1. “It’s where I keep my stuff”
If you take your stuff with you, then your home is no longer where you keep your stuff!
If you go travelling often, it might be the place you use as storage.
If that’s the case, any safe place will do as storage space!
2. “It’s where I grew up”
When people get nostalgic, they’re not really thinking about the particular thing, it’s for the memory of it.
A piece of clothing, an old toy or even a building isn’t what is making you happy, it’s all of the happy times you’ve associated with it.
Memories are stored in your head, so if you really think about it, you don’t actually need the thing to be with you forever.
You can move from place to place, and create new memories which will be just as good, or even better, even after you’ve moved away.
Of course it will be a little sad if you never saw the place you grew up again, but not getting too attached to things that don’t last anyway, is the key to moving on.
Even though it may be nice to revisit memories once in a while, dwelling on the past isn’t something you should do forever.
3. “It’s where I live”
By ‘live’ I mean where one eats, drinks, sleeps and relaxes in general.
If you move to a new place, this is now where you will ‘live’, so who cares where it is?
Wherever you eat and sleep is where you are, so a part of what ‘home’ means is you.
You are your home.
Why Traveling Light Is Important To Me
It Saves Time
Moving through airports is much easier when bags are lighter and more manageable.
You don’t waste time checking and collecting bags.
It Saves Money
When you travel with minimal items, it means you don’t have to pay extra luggage costs.
It Saves Energy
Carrying around fewer items translates into less physical effort on your part. And you don’t have to deal with lost or delayed luggage.
It’s Easier To Stay Organized
Keeping track of fewer items makes it simpler to stay neat and tidy during your travels, which can help reduce stress levels.
And it’s probably the most important for me. Fewer things mean fewer distractions.
You Become More Conscious About What You Need
Bringing only the essentials encourages you to make mindful decisions about what is truly necessary for you. This helps keep packing lighter and more sustainable in the long term!
How To Pack A Minimalist Suitcase
The first thing you must absolutely do is reduce reduce reduce.
Even if you have quite a small wardrobe already, chances are you may still have one or two things you haven’t worn very much that you can get rid of.
It might help you to make a ‘definitely taking’ pile and a ‘maybe pile’.
Then, look at the ‘maybe’ pile and ask yourself:
- does it fit me the way I want it to?
- is it easy to clean/does it require ironing/other maintenance?
- is it only suitable for certain occasions, or more than one?
- will I be able to wear this in different weather conditions?
- does it go with many other clothes?
- have I worn any of these in the past 4-6 months?
Obviously these are questions for clothes, but you can also pare down things like toiletries, gadgets etc. by asking yourself:
- how often do I use this?
- how easily can I buy a replacement?
- what is available to buy at my destination?
- what is the worse that can happen if I don’t bring it?
Systematically looking at each item and going through a few points in your head sounds like it will take a long time, but in my experience it actually only takes a few seconds for me to decide whether or not something is worth taking.
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Decide what you will put in your suitcase and what you will take as carry-on. It might also help to decide what you will wear for the flight – if you choose the bulkiest/heaviest stuff, then you can fit a little more into the suitcase.
Once you’ve decided on what you’ll take, it’s time to start packing. You could roll your clothes into tight cylinders, or fold them around a ‘core’.
Tips On Creating Your Own Minimalist Packing List
What is essential to me may not be the same for everyone, but I’m sure the strategies below will help make your packing process easier and your bag lighter.
- If it’s an item that can be bought wherever you travel, it’s probably not worth bringing along with you (e.g., sunscreen, shampoo).
- Streamline your toiletries – pick one cleanser, moisturizer/face cream and a quart size bag to keep things organized.
- Stick to small 100 ml containers/travel-sized bottles for all your liquids.
- Prioritize multi-purpose items – such as dresses that can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion.(e.g., sarongs that can also double as blankets or towels).
- Opt for pieces that can be easily mixed & matched into multiple outfits.
- Stick to a handful of colors – having a few core colors makes it easier to mix and match pieces into different looks, so you can make the most out of what’s available rather than having an item for every occasion; if undecided on which shades to choose, opt for timeless hues such as navy or black.
- Choose items that are lightweight and easy to pack.
- Choose shoes wisely – take time when choosing which shoes you pack as these can be the most bulky in your luggage; prioritize sneakers and other lightweight shoes such as sandals, since these are highly versatile and better suited for long hikes and sightseeing trips.
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