When a minimalist and a packrat become travel buddies, interesting things can happen.
I am definitely the minimalist in this scenario, and the packrat was my friend, Vanessa Gruebel. I say "was" because after traveling with Vanessa I was able to convince her to scale back on her luggage and rethink how she packs. She recently published a post about this transformation on her blog that I encourage you to go read.
Vanessa, like a lot of people, was simply new to the concept of traveling with a simplified set of belongings. She did a huge 180 when she left her family's big house where there is plenty of room to store things. Now she is a nomad and this lifestyle is just so much better and easier if you travel with as few things as possible.
Cutting back on the amount of stuff you have
When Vanessa and I met up in San Francisco in December, I noticed she had a huge suitcase, which was also broken. Her whole set up was just a mess. I don't necessarily object to someone wanting to travel with lots of clothes. But when you have no organization, it makes it hard to pack and adds unnecessary stress. I suggested that when she decided to buy a new suitcase, she should switch to a carry-on size. She was shocked by the idea at first, but I offered to help her.
The first step is figuring out what kind clothes you really wear. All you need to do this is set aside a week. Vanessa and I did it our first week in San Francisco. At the beginning of the week, Vanessa made a pile of clothes that she thought she might be able to get rid of. I told her to see if she could go the whole week without wearing them. Over the whole week, she didn’t even touch the basket. That tells you that you don't need that stuff and can get rid of it.
When we got to Los Angeles after San Francisco, I decided to get vanessa compression packs on Amazon. This makes it easier to fit more clothes in the luggage and make it more organized. I also suggested that she change her packing strategy. I like to organize different types of clothes together so they are easier to find. Your belongings will just be much easier to deal with when you do that.
Over time, I have learned a certain way of packing. I deliberately fold and pack my suitcase in such a way that it is easier for airport security to review my bag. That way I am less likely to get flagged, and getting through security is a breeze.
I also noticed that Vanessa was keeping her liquids in many different places. It will save you so much time and trouble if you store them all in one place so security can quickly check them and send you on your way.
Enjoy the benefits
If you have been on the Internet at all recently you have probably heard that everyone is talking about a new show on Netflix, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. I think this concept is taking the world by storm because everyone has become mentally exhausted from having too much stuff.
Marie Kondo's method is to pick up a piece of clothing and ask if it brings you joy. If it does, you keep it. If you don’t feel joy holding it, say thank you and let it go. I don't recommend choosing your travel wardrobe this way, because you may have more things that bring you joy than will fit in your suitcase. But it is a good concept, and overall it is designed to free you from the stress of having to think about too many possessions.
I know that having fewer things is how I prefer to live my life. By traveling with only what I truly need, it frees my mind up to think about other things that are far more important to me like growing my business and even more traveling! I have noticed a change for Vanessa, too. She has switched to a mindset of being more mindful and efficient with her projects. This is important for her as he gets more clients. She is now way more organized, and gets projects done in less time.
The bottom line is, we are human and we can only have so many priorities at a time. The less time you spend thinking about your stuff, the more time you can spend investing in your dreams and creating what really matters to you.
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