In 2013 my husband and I ditched all of our stuff for a one way plane ticket to Europe. This was my big hairy scary idea and something that I have always wanted to do, so off we flew. One of the cool advantages to being in Europe is the ease of travel with the added benefit of it being inexpensive. Over the past few years we have certainly learned what to pack and what to leave behind.
I found that no matter how well I thought I had packed it seemed that still many of the clothes that I brought still were never worn. So after much trial and error I have been able to pair down the packing to a small carry-on, even though I still usually check it in.
Interestingly enough, I have been able to let go of some of the ego that I had around the need to wear a new outfit each day or to make sure my shoes matched perfectly. Now, I pack for the weather and comfort. Mind you, I still look good. At least I think so…
I’m after experiences when I travel. I want to live like a native wherever I go no matter how long I am there for. What I found was that the natives don’t care what I have on. The natives just want to practice their English, learn about America, talk about politics (after all, who can resist), and find out why the heck we left the comfort of the US. My husband and I want to learn about their food, the customs, their traditions and their religions. So there never is a lack of something to talk about.
We have been fortunate enough to be invited to cook with them, eat with them, play dress up (learning how to wear a sari), have henna tattoos, join them for Easter, Christmas, New Year’s, All Saint’s Day, April Fools, celebrations about wars ending and everything in between. What I discovered is that people are just people wanting to connect and enjoy another human being.
As far as my packing prowess, I’ve got it down. Once I pack the suitcase, then I take a few more things out before closing the zipper. My goal is to not travel with a suitcase at all and purchase the local clothing wherever I go. Maybe a little lofty, but a girl can dream can’t she?
What can you leave behind the next time you pack your suitcase?