This follow-up post is by my friend and reader, Amanda, who is back from her backpacking adventure! Here’s her reflections on her choice to travel light.
A couple of months ago, I packed my bags and travelled to the other side of the world for some adventure. My trip took me to amazing landscapes in New Zealand, big cities and beaches in Thailand, cultural diversity in Cambodia, urban living in Singapore, wild-card Korea, and finally wonderful times in Vietnam.
Prior to my departure, I wrote a summary of what I was bringing with me. Was I as good at packing as I thought? Was it light enough? Was it fashionable enough?
To be honest with you, fashion wasn’t my biggest priority on this trip, but I did not make the common first-time traveler mistake of just bringing plain, functional clothing with me. This is the first recommendation I have for you, dear minimalist traveler: bring what you actually want to wear! Believe it or not, travelling becomes like any other everyday-activity. And you want to feel comfortable doing everyday stuff, right?
Many travelers I met were heavily packed. We’re talking big backpacks (up to 75 litres), another bag to go with it and oftentimes many other smaller items or shopping bags with… stuff. I brought a big backpack and a smaller backpack. For everyday life and grocery shopping, I had my foldable tote from Nomi Network. For nights out, I had a smaller purse. That was it! And you know what? The best experience I had travelling was when I could leave my big backpack somewhere and only take my smaller backpack and the Nomi-tote with me.
One time I was invited to a beach house over the weekend, but I didn’t plan packing too well, so I had to throw in what I could find in less than five minutes. I didn’t even manage to bring my toothbrush, but that was easily fixed. The weekend was spent wearing a maxi dress, jeans shorts, a top and a bikini. Worked for me!
The idea of leaving behind the classical big backpacker-bag is scary but very practical. You can do so much more and don’t have to worry about stuff going missing. Also, if you travel in the hotter months and areas – which I did – you don’t want to wear your nicest clothes (you WILL sweat) and you will probably not put on that much make-up. Don’t worry, everyone you meet is in the same boat as you. Have a cold one and relax.
If you do insist on taking the mega-backpack, I highly recommend using vacuum bags for packing your clothes. They were extremely practical and kept my clothes fresh for longer. Also, be sure to bring a travel towel with you. A traditional towel takes up a lot of space. It will also become very heavy and smelly when it’s wet. As a backpacker, you want to move quickly from place to place, and you don’t want a wet towel to stop you from doing so!
I recommend everyone to get out there and try backpacking. It really is an adventure! Concerning packing, I fantasized about selling everything and start all over again in the middle of my trip. I didn’t do it this time, but who knows what is yet to come? Maybe you will try it? If so, be sure to tell me how it went!
Questions about travelling or this post? E-mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks, Amanda, for sharing your story! Real life heroines: if you have a story to share, send your idea to me at email@example.com