Since the end of October, I’ve been travelling around Europe for 6 months with a couple of stops in the UK where I’ve had the chance to pack my luggage again. I’ve already posted about my minimalism challenge whilst travelling during my first 3 months away when I visited Netherlands, Scandinavia, Luxembourg and Belgium. Those posts were posted on both beingthebestyoucanbeblog.wordpress.com and travelalphabetabc.wordpress.com so I won’t repost again, however I wanted to provide an update for those wishing to know how it all progressed.
The last couple of times I’ve unpacked and packed again, I’ve noticed that I have also added in items I knew I’d missed during those first 3 months of travel during November, December and January. During that first trip, I also discarded clothes and items on my way as I only had a few clothes with me as I had to layer up for the winter temperatures so I found that I realised I could literally not wear an item again as I wanted it nowhere near my body! Some clothes made it back to the UK and then were discarded and replaced.
Last time, I knew that I would only be away for a month as I had to be in London exactly a month later, however I still packed more than I had for my 3 months trip. As I didn’t have to pack thermal clothes, I was able to pack more tops to have a bit more choice so as not to worry too much about drying the clothes on time. I also packed more books as I’d noticed during that first trip that I really missed having a book to read once I’d finished them all. Therefore, I brought as many free books with me which I’d received with magazines and I also added in my Kindle which is rare for me. This time, I also added in more and more books, free ones, some which had been on my shelf at home for a while and also one I bought at the station before leaving. I’m always confident the books will soon be read and left somewhere for another owner to enjoy them.
This time, I’ve brought more clothes as when I set off I didn’t know how long I would be away for as this time I have no set deadline for returning to the UK. More books were packed as well as different clothes again as the seasons are changing but not quite set for one type of temperature. I didn’t put shorts in despite knowing I’d be going to places which may be warm, however I have trousers I can either roll up or am happy to cut off if necessary. Up to now I’ve not needed shorts! I also felt I wanted smarter clothes with me this time as I would be going into more cathedrals in Paris and Venice and would be away for Easter Sunday when I will also look for church celebrations. With more clothes, I won’t necessarily need to discard them unless I decide I no longer like or want them as often a month or so of regular wearing is much more than they would have got at home.
Another key item I added this time was my iPod and speaker as I really missed music the last couple of times. Sometimes, it’s just wanting a particular soundtrack or song to get me to sleep or energise me and the iPod also helps on public transport when others are being noisy during the overnight journeys. I certainly learnt this on my journey from Munich to Brussels Nord in March! My travels are often great opportunities to discover new music from the countries I visit so the iPod stays in the hotel room and I remain open to hearing local music when out and about.
Therefore, whereas the first trip had the aim of travelling minimally, these last 2 have been more about travelling intentionally, noticing where I have gaps and seeing if and how I wanted to fill them. Clothes were clearly an area I had to be aware of and something which surprised me as I would say I’m not really interested in clothes. I found the first trip I was always wondering if I needed warmer clothes for my xmas trip to Swedish Lapland but in the end I coped with my layers. Last time, I nearly bought items I actually found I had back in my wardrobe at home so this time I packed those items as it showed I missed them. This time, I didn’t want to find myself wasting time looking for books or clothes and buying more rather than using what I already had so I intentionally packed more.
I find this trip has allowed me to think more about how I can travel more intentionally in terms of my plastic use and going paperless as I bring physical books with me as well as notebooks for my journalling. Up to now, I use plastic bottles for toiletries and my only way of being conscious of plastic use is that I carry my own Spork so that I don’t need to use plastic cutlery. I buy bottles of water and when I eat in my room, then my breakfast items are yoghurts and I also have containers from evening meals. That’s the thing with travel, all these challenges come to mind and once you clear out the clutter (books and clothes for me) then the important thoughts can come through.
Naturally with more items, I also had to increase my luggage from 2 to 4 items. I’ve preferred this in terms of the bags I added as that was much easier than simply having extras in carrier bags and getting annoyed each time I had to transport my luggage.
How do you travel intentionally? Let me know by using the form below.