Monday, January 29, 2007

Living and Traveling Simply

moll's gap, ring of kerryThe idea of living and traveling simply appeals to me. Getting down to the basics without all the extras. When we traveled to Ireland for two weeks, we each had one carry-on bag (all backpacks except for my small suitcase.) I also brought a bag with my laptop. We had more than enough clothes to wear and things to do. There was so much freedom in that. It’s less to keep track of, take care of, and move around.

We don’t live as simply as we could, but on a regular basis, I will do a clean sweep of the house, especially after reading Voluntary Simplicity by Duane Elgin or The Simple Living Guide by Janet Luhrs. These books are about being fully aware of the choices you make and why you make them. For people who go to the store to buy shampoo and conditioner and walk out with a shopping cart full of merchandise and less money in their bank account, these books are an eye opener.

To help with the cleaning out, I sometimes read one of Don Aslett’s books, usually Clutter's Last Stand or Weekend Makeover (previously titled Lose 200 Lbs This Weekend). Both of these books are great for motivation. Another good motivation is watching one of my favorite shows, "Clean Sweep" on The Learning Channel. What a great feeling for those families to get rid of so much stuff they don't need.

To read about traveling simply, I picked up Rolf Pott' book, VagabondingIn his book, he talks about how living simply allows us to travel more easily.  How, unfortunately, "out of our insane duty to fear, fashion, and monthly payments on things we don't really need- we quarantine our travels to short, frenzied bursts." Living simply is about increasing "your personal options instead of your personal possessions."

In a chapter called “Keep it Simple”, the author states, “The freedom to go vagabonding has never been determined by income level; it’s found through simplicity- the conscious decision of how to use what income you have.” He goes on to say that simplicity “makes you more adventuresome, forces you into sincere contact with locals, and allows you the independence to follow your passions and curiosities down exciting new roads.” I'm reading this, getting excited about how it ties into the books I mentioned above, when I get to his resource section where he lists those two books. I guess that explains why it tied in so well.

To add another coincidence, as I'm thinking about all of the above, I happened to see a special report that a local news station, WCCO, recently did on“Transumer Trend; A Life of Experiences, not Stuff”.  The report did not mention any of the above books, but it did tie in to the general idea of fewer material possessions equaling less stress and more freedom.  I like that idea...very much.

UPDATE: Yesterday, I was delighted to see a post about the benefits of traveling with one bag on Brave New Traveler.  Ian gives more examples than I did about the freedom in traveling this way and he cites several sources who support this view.  Check it out!