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Packing: A Study in Minimalism

October 12, 2009

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Written and Submitted By “Samantha Samsonite”

suitcasesLong before the recent changes in airline policy of limiting baggage or charging a monetary assessment per suitcase, I had learned from a wise old travel guru the necessity and advantage of packing light.

Excess is a downfall in our society.  We eat too much, over indulge in libations, are workaholics and we tend to relate our success in life to the quantity of our possessions (“He who dies with the most toys wins”).  It is a malady that can extend to anything.  I read an eloquently written blog where the author pointed out to me in pride of his grammatically correct 57 word sentence.  I don’t remember too much of what he said in that instance, however, it was a preceding two word sentence which captured my attention and retained in my memory to quote here; “Just chill.”  Simply stated.

There are many colloquialisms which support this theory.  “Good things come in small packages.”  And it is a “good thing” to only have to carry a “small package” when you are at the train station in Italy with only two minutes allotted to dash down one flight of stairs and up another to a different platform to change trains.  (Thank you, Signore Mussolini, for keeping those trains running on time!)  Or how about “Speak softly but carry a big stick.”  Once again, we are addressing the reduction of volume, however I don’t suggest trying to carry the “big stick” onto an airplane.  Probably won’t get past security.

Thus our mission…it is not unreasonable to begin weeks before the departure date the daunting task of reducing ones vast wardrobe, collection of shoes and jewelry and personal care items down to the bare shadow of choices one regularly faces on a daily basis.  Remember, these will be your only connection to the world you left at home for the duration of your trip.  But, I guarantee, upon your return, you will see how easily you survived, just you and that 22” carry on.  In it were all the comforts of home, right next to you on the seat of the train, wheeled behind you for miles down cobblestone streets serving as your trusted valise.  Now you are wondering, perhaps I should make a major reduction of my belongings and get rid of the excess baggage in my life.  Maybe even feel like you’re on a permanent vacation by living out of your suitcase!!!!

Buon Viaggio!!!!!

On second hand:  Okay, with the exception of it’s easy to get around, this small suitcase stuff is BS.  You are really so sick of seeing those same four outfits you wore and washed for three weeks, you throw them away the minute you get home (same goes for the one pair of shoes).  Then you have to figure out how to explain when your friends ask if you saw Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower and the Coliseum all in one day, “’cause you’re wearing the same outfit in every picture”.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 13, 2009 11:25 AM

    That’s some good advice. When I went to Europe earlier this year, Took the suitcase one size up from the travel one. I initially wanted to take the travel-size one, but my girlfriend convinced me otherwise, and it’s a good thing she did.
    The only inconvenience of taking a slightly larger size suitcase is that you have to check it in. However, it’s not that difficult to go around with it and you have extra space for a few souvenirs.

  2. Vicky permalink
    October 26, 2009 2:30 PM

    This is a good article for me. I am avid “OVER-packer” when I travel…and even when I don’t travel (you should feel the weight of my purse! And I always regret having so much packed when I’m stuck dragging a massive suitcase.

    I used to think my need to pack anything and everything stemmed from a very healthy and impressive desire to be prepared for the worst. However, Ms. Samsonite has opened my eyes to what I am really doing. My over-packing is a sign of fear…it’s the fear of letting go of the familar and venturing into the unknown without my posesseions such as my beloved hair straightener.

    Well, no more!! Traveling is not about re-creating home, it’s about diving into new worlds with new attitudes. From now on, I will follow the minimalist attitude and trust that if I find myself lacking some necessity I will simply improvise…even with curly hair 😉

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