Pack Only Your Zen

Dear On A Dime travelers, I am an almost rehabilitated over-packer. Like a celebrity’s “clean and sober” weekend with twins, I tend to teetotal pack only to fall off the wagon by loading twin pieces of souvenir granite into the backseat of my car, of course only where it is permissible. It’s hard to outrun rangers with boulders slowing vehicle movement, not that I would know about that personally.

 And speaking of movement, there is an interesting one sweeping the land and we’re applying it to travel. Minimalism is the new kid in town and it feels in sync with On A Dime Adventure’s mission to travel simply and without breaking the bank although the mantra of Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus of The Minimalists might – at first glance – seem frivolous to the financially conservative crowd. Their 20/20 rule goes something like this, “Most everything can be replaced for $20 within 20 minutes”. These guys assert that the possible, small amount of money spent in a moment of “oops” outweighs the insanity of an overstuffed suitcase as well as an overstuffed life. They also make the point that, barring the extreme; generally people are within 20 minutes of a business that can replace for $20 or less whatever is needed. Socks, underwear, a pair of sweat pants, a blender…

 …Blender? Guilty. Yes I have been tempted to take along luxury items on camping trips. Fine, I have taken luxury items on camping trips. A cousin once considered poisoning me after I pranced to the top of Clouds Rest in Yosemite and bragged loudly about being first. He quickly busted me down to size with “Hey there Champion, does this ring a bell, ‘first is the worst, second is the best, and third is the one in the polka dot dress’. It’s your favorite chant when you’re in the polka dot dress.” And then to add insult to injury – in front of many other hikers – he tossed a large throw pillow at me that oddly resembled one from my couch back in the city and declared, “you’re first because someone else was carrying what fell out of your pack, Kim Kardashian.” I briefly considered trying to deny it but was afraid he’d demand a thorough inventory of my pack at which point the matching pillow and personal massager would give me away. So sue me, I have an irritable back and I like my pillows in pairs. And if I ever climb Everest, I will educate my pair of Sherpas on the seriousness of neck support. This dream is but one of many.

 In another fantasy, I pack only the exact amount of clothing I will wear on a trip, leave behind my aromatic oils, and return from the outback with slight body odor and a small wallaby. In this dream I am relaxed, joyful, and fully experiencing every second as my many – in the moment –  Facebook selfies with the wallaby attest.

Some fantasies may require an intervention and luckily help is out there. Courtney Carver creator of Be More With Less, Life On Purpose gave this descriptive of a recent getaway to France in her article 5 Ways To Make Anything Easier.

“I spent the last leg of my trip last month in Paris alone. I didn’t have wifi outside of my apartment, and had no idea where I was going or what I was doing. I was excited about the trip, but I also thought it might be hard and it was sometimes. I got lost and delayed, and sometimes felt a little unsure about myself.  In between the very few hard parts though, were the amazing experiences pictured above. I had time to start to my day slowly and drink espresso while writing in the most beautiful parks and cafes. I saw amazing works of art in the Louvre and the L’Orangerie and enjoyed watching artists create new works of art by the river. Being alone gave me time to appreciate the simple things in one of the grandest cities of all.”

Courtney Carver is not alone as fellow minimalist, Tammy Strobel, of Rowdy Kittens (see her tips and stunning photos in our Tahoe article), also celebrates simplicity every single day and the stunning feeling of a large exhale is both palpable and seductive. These innovators walk a walk that is not about going without but rather shines the light on deliberate choice. They pack into their suitcases and into their lives only what is meaningful. And friends, if you really want to get radical, check out Colin Wright. This minimalist pared down everything he owns to 51 items and spends his time traveling the world. He journeys to a new country every four months and has visited the 48 contiguous states not once but twice and this guy is not yet thirty.

 Our quest to become gentle and lightweight travelers is still in its infancy at On A Dime but this week it appears we’ve been handed a challenge. In addition to a streamlined backpacking excursion in Yosemite slated for June, in December we will travel Europe for an On A Dime Adventure totaling about 15-16 days and we will only be carrying backpacks. My guy is joining and he has been known to check extra shoes, golf clubs, and a charcoal grill. In other words, he is a fellow packing-addict and enabler and this – being a winter trip – has his love of high-end backpacking clothing and gadgetry being severely tested. The gauntlet has been thrown and we will document our attempt – once we find an airline that will accommodate multiple cameras, tripods, and reflectors as we hear light can be a problem at the Eiffel Tower.

 Want more simplicity? Check out the site links in our article as the minimalists are living a dream and it’s available to all of us on whatever level syncs with our psyche. And if you crave some extra Zen, check out Tammy Strobel’s new book My Morning View. It is a healthy dose of relaxation and a reminder that life is in session all over the place, every single day.

 *The photos we chose for this article were taken during moments of abundant tranquility and not much luggage.

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4 thoughts on “Pack Only Your Zen”

    1. Polina, just looked at your site! So nice to discover kindred spirits. And yes, packing too much for the backcountry is the bane of my existence. Thank you so much for stopping in! 🙂

        1. Polina,
          I just subscribed to your blog, LOVE your site! I am so thrilled to be finding a community of kindred/s. The journey is so much more fun with fellow travelers. 🙂 Teri

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