Less is More
As the time to travel slowly draws near, I find myself contemplating on what is necessary for the journey ahead and what objects I need to free myself from. Eleven years ago, when I first began to travel, I used to pack anything and everything that I “might need” for those “just in case” moments.
Living out of a backpack allows me to access areas more easily but I have to remember that I am carrying all of my things… Less is more and I have started to notice that I will tend to wear the same four or five outfits the entire time!
Travelling is the perfect opportunity to reflect on where you have been, where you are at this moment and where you are headed. Take the time for reflection. I find it super helpful with staying on course, following the path I have chosen for myself. Keeping a journal is a super helpful companion for creative expression and emotional release. A journal allows me to note down sweet places I visit, yummy restaurants I eat at and the names and contact details of people I meet along the way. The journal can also become a scrapbook where I love to keep little maps and drawings that I tend to collect. Let your journal inspire you!
Style of travel
Contemplate your budget and what kind of accommodation you plan on staying in:
- Camping (offers a connection to nature)
- Couchsurfing (staying with locals)
- Home stay
- Volunteer positions
Let me recommend Couchsurfing if you have not tried it before. Join the website and set up an account and descriptive profile and you will be able to search for hosts as well as host guests at your own home. It’s the perfect opportunity to experience the local way of life. Staying with hosts is free and I find it’s awesome to contribute to the household, cook a dinner, offer something positive to the experience and show your appreciation.
I have experienced very positive home stays in India and Jamaica, where I stayed with a family for a very affordable price. I had my own room on their property and got to experience their way of living, cuisine, music, etc. I highly recommend this opportunity!
AirBnB’s are amazing if you want your own space and your own kitchen for preparing meals. This allows you to save money by not having to eat out all the time. The couple of AirBnB’s I have stayed in really allowed me to see how the local people live. One was a super tiny apartment in the centre of Shibuya in Tokyo and the second was a very traditional Japanese apartment in the town of Mount Fuji. Both places offered such an individual experience, rich in culture and way more interesting than just staying in a hotel.
Volunteer positions offer opportunities to travel for longer periods of time, trading your labour for accommodation (and sometimes food) and giving you the chance to share your skills, obtain new knowledge and meet new people!
Hostels are affordable and can be super fun if you are in the mood to meet other travellers. They are great for socialising but sometimes I find that hostels can be disconnected from the actual place I am visiting. Just be careful not to just spend all your time with travellers… meet the local people and be respectful to the local community.
The weather is going to play a huge role in what you choose to pack. Obviously if you are going on a ski/snowboarding trip you are going to need lots of layers and snow gear which makes travelling light more of a challenge. For warm weather excursions assess the seasons… If you are headed to the tropics will it be wet season or dry season? A thin waterproof layer is always a handy addition. Perhaps even a mosquito net if you have a tendency to get bitten. For dry climates, nights will most likely drop in temperature so make sure you have a warm jumper. A cotton scarf is always useful, warmth for night time and shade for your head and shoulders during the day.
Let me share my list of travel supplies I will never go anywhere without:
- Book to read
- Yoga mat – my soulmat
- Stainless steel water bottle (refill whenever you can so not to use plastic)
- Small first aid kit – include antihistamines for bug bites, valium for long flights, essential oils, (peppermint for headaches; oregano oil for immunity support; tea tree for antiseptic) Electrolytes for proper hydration
- Toiletries bag – toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, small sewing kit, feminine hygiene products, (tampons can be hard to find in parts of India and Asia) tweezers, nail clipper, floss, tongue scraper, sunscreen, coconut oil, mascara, eye liner, my favourite patchouli oil
- Travel towel (micro-fiber dries quickly)
- Global adapter (to charge camera, phone or Ipod, etc.)
- Waterproof jacket (super lightweight and packs up small)
- Mosquito net (they love to bite me!!)
- Clothing = 7x pairs of undies, 5-7x pairs of socks, 3x singlets, a couple of long sleeve tops, a jumper, 3x leggings, 3x skirts, 2x trousers, 1x pair of leg warmers, cotton scarf, swimwear
- If I am going to a festival during my travels, which will mostly likely be the case, I will usually pack a couple of funky vests and a couple of snazzy pants or skirts to jazz up my wardrobe! Get into the party spirit and feel great!
- If you intend to drive or hire a scooter get an International Drivers License
- Lightweight tent
- Foam mat
- Sleeping bag and stuff sack
- Blanket and pillow (these are just for extra comfort – not always necessary)
- Tarp/shade structure or cloth
- Toilet roll and/or Babywipes
- Lamp + batteries
- Cooking supplies = stove, fry pan, saucepan + lid, plate, cup, spoon, fork, knife, can opener, chopping board, bowl, tea towel, dishcloth, dish soap
- Esky (if you have a vehicle) or cool bag if you are carrying your belongings
Travel with an Open Mind and Heart
Have fun and be open! When I choose to explore exotic parts of the world it’s awesome to travel with an open mind and an open heart! Be respectful to the different cultures, (it’s ok to not agree with everyone’s choices and ways of living but there is no need for judgement) be patient, make an effort to learn some of the language and allow yourself to flow with the rhythm of the country!