The Zen of packing

Going on a European vacation? How about a week at the Jersey Shore? Not sure what to pack? I have one list that works for every occasion.

Two pairs of non-wrinkle khakis
Two pairs of shorts (can double as a swimsuit) 
Five shirts ( a mix of 3 short and 2 long sleeve) 
Five sets of underwear and socks 
A sweater (dark colors hide wrinkles and can pass for dressy) 

Those are all the clothes you will ever need to pack wherever you go, no matter how long the trip. Largely, this idea comes from travel extraordinaire Rick Steves in his book, "Europe Through the Backdoor."

I have not yet been outside of the U.S., but I've loved his books, as well as those by other travel writers like Paul Theroux and Bill Bryson. The idea of travel means as much to me as traveling itself.

As Jimmy Stewart's character, George Bailey, in "It's a Wonderful Life,"  exclaims, the "three most exciting sounds in the world" are: "anchor chains, plane motors, and train whistles."

And I get just as excited as George Bailey window shopping for luggage (for me luggage means backpacks). Call it the Zen of travel.

With each trip, I make a game out of paring down my list to its absolute minimum. Items like pajamas get tossed for an extra pair of shorts, and my iPhone takes the place of many other items.

My family follows suit. We each travel with just one bag — no small feat for my 6-year-old, who could just as easily fill an entire bag with toys, or my wife, whose original inclination was to require a checked bag for shoes.

I was by no means a suitcase saint from the start. I used to weigh myself down with books. But I am happy to say that we have all seen the light.

Why do we revel so in this idea? Traipsing through the airport with a lighter burden carries over into the rest of life.

That’s right! We bear witness to the glory of traveling light.

Leaving home with minimal baggage can give you a sense of freedom and arriving feels like a clean slate.

I am more able to enjoy the places I go without worry.  A change of scenery is much more effective when it’s accompanied by less of a sense of obligation to my belongings.

Each time I pack is a chance to start fresh.

No comments:

Post a Comment