May 242010

There are two reasons I’m thinking about packing right now: 1) I’m about to visit my parents for ten days com Wednesday, 2) through the Unclutterer website I found an article on minimalist packing last week or so.

I like to travel light as much as the next person, and I’m always making fun of people like my mother who always takes about three times the clothes I do, and ends up bringing things home that she didn’t even wear on the trip. Of course, the secret to packing light is not to mind if you look the same every day, and to have comfortable shoes that you can wear day in and day out. (Sometimes I think wearing shoes like that might be one of the secrets of happiness but this is not about shoes.)

Still, when I’ll be getting out of the door to travel my luggage will be quite a bit heavier than the one described on the minimalist blog. Why is that so?


Well, for one I’m not staying in a hotel so I will bring shampoo, and soap, and a hairdryer (a tiny one but still), I will bring an emergency travel towel (something that really comes in handy more often than you think), I will take a second cardigan, and contact lens solution, and my cell phone charger, my camera charger, my ipod charger, and my PDA charger.

Why do I need all these gadgets? Well, I won’t bring my laptop, and my PDA with its foldable keyboard is my means to get my 500 words a day in.

I will also bring more clothes than her because while I could wash my clothes while away I don’t like to do so when I’ll be only gone for a little more than a week so I’ll bring four tees, a cardigan, four pairs of socks, and four changes of underwear in addition to what I’m wearing the first day. Depending on the weather forecast I might also bring a pair of sandals in addition to my grey walking shoes, and I’m contemplating to add a pair of slippers since we will be spending quite a bit of time sitting around indoors.

I will bring a bathing suit because we plan to go swimming, I will bring a lace shawl or two, and I will bring a bottle of wine and some dark chocolate as presents for my parents.

I will bring a notebook for my morning pages, and another one for just general notes, I will bring my best pen, and a book to read, and I already bought three new books for my son to read, and I will bring a pack of Uno cards to play with my son. Last year I took three books for me but this year I decided to only take one paper book, and I have a couple more on my ipod. But I can think of a lot of situations where you don’t want to bring an electronic reading device, or where you can’t charge your ipod, or just imagine what if it falls to the ground and breaks, and then you’re stuck without a book to read.

We will have two eight hour train rides to fill, and a whole week’s worth of evenings sitting in our rented apartment while out son is already asleep.

I will also take a bottle of water or two, and sandwiches and cookies, as you do when you’re traveling with a child, and a husband who is lactose and fructose intolerant. We will also take tea, so that my mother doesn’t have to buy some that she’d never drink anyway.

And of course I will bring knitting. You didn’t think I would forget that, wouldn’t you? I already started a pair of socks who’ll come with me, and I will start another lace shawl, one that’s intriguing but not as complicated as the one I’m currently working on. I also will bring a spindle or two and 100 grams of fiber, and if everything goes according to plan I might have a nice pair of socks made from that fiber upon our return. If everything doesn’t go according to plan I will have lugged around 100 grams of fiber, a 15 gram spindle, and a set of double pointed needles.

I will also take some sheet music since my husband plans to bring both an electrical guitar and the violin with him, and since the guitar is already there I might finally get around to practice the songs I’ve been teaching my students lately. (That’s the “so you’ll have to play it this way, only much faster, and as you can see you have to look out to not make this mistake I just made”-school of teaching. In my defense I have to say that they are playing quite well.) So. Sheet music, picks, guitar tuner, and a capo.

And two yoga DVD’s. I’m not taking my running shoes though. See, I’m sensible. And I will exercise in my pajama bottoms.

And before you think I’m totally crazy I might have to add that when my husband and I went to Brazil for two months all the luggage we had were our two backpacks (one is about the size of a carry-on, the other is a bit bigger), and each of us had a second backpack in addition to that. We could easily carry all out stuff around. So, the clothes I take for ten days would be enough for any amount of time, I only would have to wash them.


We didn’t bring a guitar, though, we bought one there.

So I can never decide if I’m a light traveler or not. I try to be prepared (sunscreen, water, a hat, an umbrella, a pocket knife) but not overloaded. It’s a tricky balance. What about you? Do you travel light or not? How many pounds of knitting do you usually take? Or books?

  One Response to “Thinking about minimalist packing”

  1. You’re kidding, right? You are not a light packer, mostly because what you consider “essential” is way too much stuff. Have a great trip.

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