Experienced Travellers Inevitably Go Minimalist


It’s a truism that the more seasoned we are as travellers, the less we carry. And we start to get pretty adamant about it, to the point of proselytizing.

We can and do pass this message on until we’re blue in the face, to anyone who will listen. On this site, I’m constantly reminding readers:

  • How much better travel can be with less stuff
  • Why backpacking is so terrible
  • How trashy souvenirs always are
  • The pleasures of slow travel
  • The benefits for oneself and the planet of low-carbon travel

And so much more. Many people at least intuitively know some of these things about travelling lighter and freer, and yet, they still keep throwing stuff in their bulging bags.

And so do I! Yes, I now think I have found the perfect wheeled carry-on backpack and so I don’t check a bag. But as I write this from my Airbnb in Belgrade, I know that bag contains an extra plug adapter that I have yet to use, among a few small other extras. I could go lighter still and be better off for it.

But I still consistently fail, after literally years of travel.

Part of the problem is habit, but the biggest block in my experience is the counter-sentiment to travelling light: Why not be prepared, just in case? So what if you never manage to use a few of your travel gizmos or clothing items, and they just lay in your luggage for the whole trip?

The problem is that these extras add up, and they weigh you down. In the end, they prevent you from travelling as freely and lightly as you might enjoy, and from having the experiences that make travel so wonderful in the first place.

Here’s to all of us, especially me, doing a little better and travelling a little lighter going forward. We know what we have to do, we’ve heard the maxims. There’s always room to eliminate more and travel freer.

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