The Theory

Time spent on reconnaissance is seldom wasted- military proverb

Travelling light is all about understanding the aim of your trip and then preparation for the journey ahead. It is not all about bags and gadgets. It is about understanding what it is you want to get out of the voyage. That understanding is as important as picking the right bag, clothes and guidebooks and ensuring you have the right credit card and apps installed on your phone. Without this understanding, all the cool bags and gadgets are useless.

A few notes for context, my journey was begun in the hopes of simplifying my travel, taking less which means less packing and less unpacking, less waiting to check in, pick up and also less stress of loss and damage but more flexibility and serenity. I want to bring what I need, nothing more, nothing less. I want to be comfortable, but still dressed well enough that I wont be out of place in a relatively upscale setting if that opportunity presents itself along the way.

If I refer you to my original post I mention the overburdened traveler who is not only an inconvenience to others but also likely not much of a forward thinker. He or she is likely to be trying to be ready for all things and has not really thought about why they are travelling and what they hope to get out of the trip. They are also likely to be more tired after their trip as their lack of understanding and then preparation meant that, despite bringing everything, essentials were left behind and the effort expended to lug everything took a toll. All this stuff means they cant take advantage of opportunity, they are so focused on getting where they are going, that they fail to enjoy the beauty along the way and spontaneous experiences that may present themselves. Their mantra is “get me to my hotel room, this bag is killing me!” I also imagine that these are the folks whose names you hear on the airport PS “now paging passenger Smith on flight 1234 to New York, gate 14, you flight is boarded and the gate closing, this is the final boarding call.”

The first step is understanding the aim of the trip. My own aim is to be able to enjoy the trip and have the right amount with me so that I can function in a few different social situations and be able to move quickly through airports, train stations, and be able to navigate small streets, stairs, long distances between gates, and crowds. I also want to to enjoy not only the destination but also the trip which means not suffering under the weight of too much stuff.

So, my focus here is on a vacation to a temperate climate lasting from 4 days to months. Yes, I said months, I believe that if you have the right mindset and gear and are prepared to do laundry along the way and buy items on the road as they wear out, a bag packed for 4 days can last months. But I also don’t want to look like a tourist or a teenager on their gap year, I expect to be able to go from an airport lounge to hiking trail to a reasonably nice restaurant and back again.

The next entry will provide you with my list for this trip, and a few pictures of my preparation.


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