I think about all the things I have at home that I can't carry with me while traveling. It's a good mental discipline to keep me driving past the mall.

Lessons on Living Lightly

After being on the road for six weeks living lightly as I could,  then comparing the two lifestyles of home and away, it has frequently struck me how much “stuff” and outside assistance we humans seem to require to pursue the activities of daily life.

The Material World

I love this Colbert clip with the creator of the “The Story of Stuff” site and book by the same name, Annie Leonard. Colbert’s a genius.

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c Annie Leonard www.colbertnation.com

Ever wonder how our quantify and diversity of “stuff” compares to others in the world? Photojournalist Peter Menzel wrote Material World, which offers extraordinary images of families in front of their dwellings with all (or nearly all) of their possessions. 

Pare it down, Tamela

One of the things I most anticipated about my summer roadtrip was the opportunity to pare down after a lifetime of piling on. Here’s a list of what I packed:

  • Two of each, one to wear while the other dries for the following day:
    • underwear
    • sports bra/bra
    • compression shirtsfor each weather extreme (hot/cold)
    • compression shorts/pants (depending on hot/cold)
    • socks
    • Buffs
  • Footgear
    • motorcycle boots (mine double as hiking boots)
    • sandals (summer)
  • Street clothes
    • one pair jeans
    • one long sleeve shirt
    • one short sleeve shirt
    • denim vest
    • skirt/shorts/skort
  • Motorcycle gear
    • jacket
    • pants
    • helmet (with an extra visor just in case)
    • gloves
    • CamelBak (if you get one with pockets & pouches it doubles as a handbag, ladies)
  • Toiletries, pharmaceuticals & grooming tools (no hair dryer!)
  • Communications devices (I carried my netbook and cell phone with their chargers)

I think about all the things I have at home that I can’t carry with me while traveling. It’s a good mental discipline to keep me driving past the mall.

Are you a traveler?  How does my list compare to yours? Next summer when I take my road trip, I’ll carry stuff to camp with — tent, bedroll, pillow and perhaps some cooking/eating tools. Any advice for me?

About Tamela Rich

Author Tamela has extensively traveled the U.S. and Canada, delivering her message to Pack Light | Travel Slow | Connect Deep. Her keynotes and workshops include life lessons she has learned through chance encounters on the road.

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  1. Ah, I missed the link at first.

    Traveling back from Mexico, I was once stuck at a depot station overnight. A very long delay. I had a change of clothes, all of that. But what I’ll never leave behind again? Just one roll of toilet paper, and a knife. The most useful things for what turned out to be a delay … with no amenities that I * thought * would have.

    Each comes with a variety of uses beyond the simple things we think of when we think of Toilet Paper, and a Knife.

  2. Agree with @airelon about toilet paper and a knife. I also recommend an inflatable pillow, if you’re going to bring a pillow. They inflate quickly and flatten to take nearly zero space. Cooking/eating? Take one good pot and eat out of it. Use pita bread (or any bread) in place of utensils, though I like to have one large spoon and one fork with me–the knife’s already been mentioned. Bring some sort of scrubber to clean your pot. If I have the room, I like to carry a bowl, too.

  3. I didn’t mention the miscellaneous tools I packed, including pepper spray and a Leatherman. Will add toilet paper to the list!

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