Traveling with Less

Recently, I have been thinking about how much stuff I have accumulated during my years on earth and especially what has piled up in the 15 years since we moved to Nashville. A while back I read Marie Kondo’s book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.” It was interesting though a little odd. At that point I was not ready to get rid of my stuff (and I’m still not). Some blogs did inspire me to create capsule wardrobes to downsize my closet. I was fascinated by a woman who wears a “uniform” to work every day (black pants and white silk blouse).

I shared with Jerry a blog about a family of four who traveled to Europe with just a backpack each. We were planning a trip to Boston and the coast of Maine using plane, train and car. Jerry suggested we try just taking a backpack each. Our 13-year old granddaughter asked why were doing such a thing. It was just something we had never done, was challenging and would make traveling easier. To see what I packed in my backpack, go to my Pinterest board at

Traveling with less was freeing. We were able to move easily from shuttle to plane, plane to bus, bus to subway, subway to hotel, hotel to train and train to car. No stopping at the desk to check luggage or wait for luggage at baggage claim. We only had to double check that we had four items – two backpacks, my CPAP bag and my cross-body bag – and we were off.

We were amazed that we took more than we needed. I bought two souvenir t-shirts and we both bought rain jackets while at LL Bean in Freeport, Maine. Jerry had planned on his shopping spree at LL Bean to supply what he would need for the week. I had a long-sleeved tee and a maxi skirt that I did not wear. Based on what we learned on this trip, we can tweak what we will pack next time. Yes, we will definitely do this again.

One important thing we learned was that we needed to practice carrying our backpacks prior to traveling with them. We both had to use the sample sized muscle cream we packed in our miniature toiletry bag.

This exercise has reminded me of some life lessons. (You know I always find an analogy.) First, we are carrying too much baggage. We need to let go and let God. Second, we should follow the example of what has worked for others. Read the manual God has provided us.  And third, we need to learn from our mistakes, so we don’t repeat them. Even at my advanced age, I am trying to learn to travel with less.