How to shop for experiences by travelling light
Yesterday I was interviewed by ABC Radio Canberra. They wanted to talk about the new regulations for hand-held luggage - enforcing the 7 kg limit for onboard bags.
As I was sitting in the green room, waiting to go into the studio, Laura, the producer informed me:
‘They’ll just ask you about stuff that’s already on your blog: how to travel from hot to cold climates; what’s a capsule wardrobe - that kind of information.
Planepack provides tips for hand-held luggage - if you haven’t offloaded your luggage to 7 kgs by now, there’s plenty of advice in the Planepack blog to help you achieve that maximum weight.
As I gathered my thoughts, I wondered what else can I offer listeners. I’ve previously spoken about my four-part plan: ‘Plan. Prepare. Pack. Enjoy.’ I wanted to provide more: what is the point of travel light? What are the benefits beyond hoisting your bag in and out of taxis? This is what I came up with.
Travel light to shop for experiences
‘Stop shopping!’ I’ve said this before - to my husband’s horror: ‘How can you tell your readers to stop shopping?’ Well I can and I will because I don’t believe it’s necessary to shop + travel. Of course you’ll want to buy a small souvenir, but seriously, do you need all those shoes, clothes and jewellery? I remember in the 1970s, if you wanted something special, you might have to buy it in Rome or New York - if you were lucky enough to be able to afford travel. Nowadays, what do you need that you can’t buy at home? Or if not at home, online?
Instead of piling more and more things into your suitcase, things you have to lug with you for the whole trip - or post home - how about you shop for travel experiences?
Travel light with a spirit of adventure
I’m not a physically brave person, but I am game to try new things. Instead of saying, ‘No!’ to a new experience or adventure, these days I’m more inclined to say, ‘Why not?’ Over the past few years I’ve been microlight flying, deep sea kayaking (a few times), parasailing, skywiring and even booked a balloon flight, which sadly was cancelled due to bad weather.
I believe that travelling light - or getting into the mindset of shucking off mental baggage - has enabled me to do this adventurous and sometimes daring stuff. These experiences were enormous fun - and the memories are worth thousands - much more than a new pair of shoes might have been.
Travel light to learn something new
Coupled with a spirit of adventure is my interest in learning something new. By travelling light and being prepared to hop on and off small boats without a large bag, I learnt about the ways of the Mekong Delta in Vietnam. By packing light I’ve enjoyed three trips around New Zealand in a mobile home - the epitome of light travel as everything has to fit in very confined spaces.
Travel light and capture the moment
Since 2015, I’ve travelled with a small Moleskine sketchbook. Of course like everyone else, I take hundreds of photos, but sketching is a unique way of capturing the moment. I’m rewarded with a drawing that is my own product, my very own interpretation of what I’ve seen. ‘Oh but I can’t draw!’ I hear you say. Well, when was the last time you tried? I’m not suggesting you draw like Leonardo da Vinci, but putting down on paper the building or vista in front of you is a magical experience: it’s contemplative and meditative - and it gets you to really LOOK at your surroundings. And as your sketchbook fills, you’ll have a unique record of your light travels.
Travelling light into the new year
If you’re interested in listening to the interview, you can catch it at ABC Radio Canberra - from 21.25 minutes to 37.47 minutes.
In keeping with this reflective post, I wish you all the very best over the festive season and into the new year. I’ve stopped making new year resolutions - I don’t want to wear myself down with things that I can’t carry with me - metaphorically speaking! But I will be - once again - trying to keep the following principles in mind:
be more compassionate to people around me;
have pride in the positive and wonderful things I achieve;
be grateful for everything I have and am able to do.
I was inspired by these principles last year in a NYT article - The only way to keep your resolutions - which I share with you. Perhaps this might inspire you too to travel with a lighter spirit.
What are your mindful experiences for travelling light? I’d love to hear them. Let’s start a conversation . . .
I’m Slobodanka Graham, extreme light traveller and mindful blogger. If you like this post, I hope you’ll syndicate the Planepack content and images available at Well Travelled Media.