Thursday, February 18, 2016

Traveling Light by Kelly Klein

Traveling Light by Kelly Klein

Traveling is an excellent opportunity to see how attached we are to things and how, with a little faith and flexibility, we can travel with very little and yet have everything we need at the same time. The art of traveling, in my humble opinion, is to go as light as possible. Any traveler can tell you that the greatest hassle in moving from place to place is dealing with luggage and weight. So simplify before you leave. You will never regret it. It is our human nature to take more than we need and then not want to let it go. Travel light and acquire new things along the way if you feel you need just one more shirt. The small added expense is well worth the freedom of movement and ease, both physically and spiritually.

My experiences traveling has brought me to this point and I hope to continually improve upon it. Leaving Ladakh in October, I packed a backpack with 20 pounds of stuff (clothes, toiletries, etc.) for four months of living and traveling. In addition, I have a small daypack with an 11” macair (next time I would take a fancy phone and leave the computer),  a kindle, a travel camera, and my wallet. Since arriving in Morocco after house-sitting for nearly two months in Portugal and three weeks in Spain, I started to travel moving around a lot more and just felt it too much. I ditched my large bag (20 pounds) and walked away with the small daypack and have been tripping around with that for over four weeks now. It is easy to use as all items are easily accessible without needing to unpack to get to things, light weight and small, can sit on my lap in a Moroccan taxi with seven people and can be thrown over one shoulder moving about. 

Daypack, Traveling Light by Kelly Klein
 It contains :
- a tank top and sports bra
- short sleeve tee
- long sleeve Henley
- thin cotton long sleeve dressier shirt
- long sleeve button-up silk shirt (dress  and warmth)
- fleece vest
- 2 pants (sweats and Indian),
- one scarf (for neck, sun, warmth, dress-up)
- one panya (sarong
- two underwear
- one pair Smartwool socks (wear in my sandals if cold)
- one pair Chaco sandals.

So, I layer for cold and can add the wool socks with sandals if needed. It gives me enough to wear something while I wash the other clothes. The panya (sarong) is an invaluable item. It serves as a towel, top or bottom sheet, skirt, shawl, and I use if for carrying items for small day trips (water bottle, camera, food) and tie around my waist, for shade, and more as needed.

With few items you will certainly get bored with your same clothes and see yourself in pictures repeatedly with the same clothes, but the payoff and freedom is so worth it. The trick is to wash your clothes certainly each time you bathe, like a pair of underwear and a t-shirt in the shower/bucket bath with you. The other times I will use the sink or a trash can for a wash bin. So washing out a pair of underwear a day and maybe a shirt is nothing and ready in the morning for repacking. I highly discourage jeans as they are a major pain to hand wash and wring alone and are heavy.

 Toiletries easily fit into a small bag or the pockets. I never carry shampoo or conditioner but buy small packet samples from local corner stores in most countries outside the US for about a dime when I need. With time, my hair is now happy and healthy with washing only once a week. I always carry one small travel size toothpaste which, used sparingly, can easily last me a month. I can refill my travel size by holding against and squeezing from a larger tube and giving the rest of the large tube to someone else.

Toiletries, Traveling Light

Additionally, I carry a comb, natural bristle brush, one nail clipper and file, a couple safety pins, a small hotel room size soap, a travel size deodorant crystal, a couple clothes pins, dental floss (always handy as a clothes line, making shelter with panya, or for your teeth of course), an ultraviolet light water filter, one sharp knife (mostly used for food), and a headlamp.

One trick for packing light is to pack your bag a couple weeks ahead of time and then live out of it for the next two weeks before you go. You will get a really good sense of what you need and what you don’t. You will then know what you can leave behind or what you may have forgotten.

Additionally, despite your natural instincts, do not take your favorite clothes. This way, while traveling, you can leave things behind when you realize you have too much and you don’t hankg on to it because it is your favorite t-shirt. You can alwasy pick up new and unique things as needed along the way. No matter what I take with me, I learn that I can pare down even more. It is so much easier to pack and travel light and give and take things as needed. Wherever you go, people wear clothes and have the basic items needed for daily life. It is just a matter of letting go a bit and adapting to each place. When I travel with my Buddhist monk friends, they go with just a shoulder bag. It always impresses me.

Always have money and credit cards and passport copies in a variety of places so you never lose everything in case of disaster (robbery, boat flipping over, car crash, or forgetfulness – leaving your bag at the train station)

Let go! Don’t worry about the how’s and what if’s?

Expect and trust in the goodness of all others you meet and your own karma.

Smile, smile, smile!

Learn a few words, at least, to show effort and respect to the local culture (I recommend: hello, thank you, please, no problem, goodbye, and always fun to know and give the blessing for a sneeze).


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