I recently made the decision that for my trip to Thailand, I was going to get rid of my (cracked) suitcase, and travel with just two bags. My suitcase has done me well for the past ten months, but in the spirit of minimalism, there’s a time to let it go.
To the trash, where it should have gone a few months ago.
I’m going to Thailand for a month. T-H-A-I-L-A-N-D. What could I possibly need in such a country known for its natural beauty?
A few days before my departure to Thailand, I ran around Lisbon until I found a €10 duffle bag from an all-purpose store ran by two cheery Chinese people watching a Chinese game show on their phones. I had stopped in the day before, so they were happy I kept my promise and came back. I went home that night to start packing and realized that I am going to have an issue. As you may imagine, for €10, a duffle bag isn’t designed to carry your entire life for the next month around Thailand. On top of that, I’m taking my original backpack I bought on Black Friday five years ago that again, was not designed for backpacking.
Let’s try to stick to the bare necessities. How bout an umbrella since it’s supposed to not rain, by storm for the next three weeks? Ok, I’ll keep that. But then what? Clothes, electronics, hygiene products – surely I can fit all of that in two bags…and if I can’t, then that’s a minimal issue that needs a solution.
placing squashing in my clothes, electronics, hygiene products, and umbrella into the two bags, I notice they’re packed to the brim. Two bags is not much when you’re traveling for the next month, but two bags is also quite a lot when you’re carrying them on your back for the next month.
It’s not that the stuff in my bags is junk, but just that it’s impractical to have planned to travel to a cold part of the world (Europe) and a hot part of the world (Thailand) for the same trip – which is exactly what I’m doing. I mean it’s not like I’m hoarding my Furby around from 2002 in my luggage, but still, do I really need these extra pairs of jeans that I’ve had for the past four years?
Of course I like them – I’ve had them for years – and so, I think to myself, but what if I’ll want to use them again? What if I’ll need them again? What if I’ll miss them?
But that’s the trap.
Can you remember anything from last year that you thought you might miss? Surely you threw something out or gave something away that you probably can’t even remember now – showing how insignificant all that questioning was. Or maybe you fell into the trap and are still holding onto something. That book you read once that you might want to read again (you can get it at the library for free), the cool ripped jeans that you Instagram all the time (they’ve probably already seen their life span), all those electronic cords that have their own drawer (if you’re not using the electronic, you won’t be using the cord). These are all just things that you think you might need again, but that you probably won’t, so they just sit there adding this clutter to your subconscious. That connection to things is not a connection to ourselves. You are not your stuff.
It’s all about how you see your life. To me, getting rid of the excess helps me focus more on the things I really care about – in my current case, a trip to Thailand. Letting some clothes go will be worth the month of extra adventure I’m going to experience, that I may not have experienced, had I packed them into my bag, making it that much heavier. I won’t remember my red beanie hat or retro sneakers when I’m 75, but I sure will remember hiking under a waterfall with just my flip flops and camera.
You’ve got to learn to let things go, to your own benefit.
And with all that being said, here I sit on the floor of the Lisbon Airport Departures trying to reconfigure my bag to make it weigh even less.
Seriously, just throw the pants away.