Trusting myself to take less
When this post gets published, I’ll be in China! The countdown is finally over. And along with all the excitement and nerves and last-minute errands of the past few days, I made the startling and liberating discover that I can travel light.
A few weeks ago, I went to Boston for a wedding. It was a short trip, and before my red-eye flight I ran into a friend who was shocked by how little baggage I was taking with me. I was so surprised, because no one has ever—ever—called me a light packer. I am the thinks-of-all-possible-contingencies packer. What if I get invited to a formal dinner? In goes a dress. What if my feet get soaked and I’ve run out of socks? In go an extra dozen pairs of socks.
So to have someone express admiration that I’ve packed light? It felt glorious, especially when I realized that I had, indeed, taken only one small suitcase and that it was only half full.
I’m taking that same suitcase with me to China for a month. It’s packed pretty tightly, but I have never in my life taken so little with me on a trip. I usually leave laden down with a 78-litre backpack and a day pack: one on my back and one facing forwards, with the straps intersecting at my shoulders and digging trenches into my skin. None of that for this trip, I decided. One small suitcase and one small day pack. I’m less worried about contingencies this time around. I’m not sure whether that’s because of experience or because I haven’t had time to sit down and think about all possible outcomes.
I think it might even be because now that I’ve started thinking about possible situations, I realize that even if I don’t have all sorts of things with me, I have all the resources that I need. What a delightful realization.
So I’ve packed light. And now the real question: what will I bring back?