Great travel is about editing what you bring. Do you feel exhausted when you travel? Perhaps it has something to do with how much you’re bringing? It’s interesting to note that most people don’t realize how much luggage they bring and that it probably adds stress to their trip. Beyond that, great travel is also about editing all of your mental pre-judgments, criticisms, and general stresses that we all inevitably will meet along the way.
The most obvious stress in anybody’s travel life is luggage. Personally, I’m a little guy and I realize that carry a large-sized luggage piece through Europe was not the most efficient way. I looked for ways to cut down and one solution came to mind. Just go with less and only bring a carry-on, even for a two-week trip. How is this possible? Well lots of planning, organization and letting go of non-essential clothing. For many this is hard to do but definitely not impossible.
But why should you do it? For me I was amazed with how much stress went away when I switched to a carry-on bag. Smaller just equals less which equals less stress. No longer did I have locals looking at me trying to carry huge pieces of luggage around in narrow European streets. No longer did I have to remember every piece of clothing, shoes, underwear, etc., everywhere I went. Instead I had a select amount that mixed and matched with everything I brought. This makes it quick to get dressed, and every outfit can be reused.
But I can’t do without, you may say! This is a mental block that we all have to get over. We usually bring more than we actually need and when you start realizing what you can actually travel without, you’ll be thankful. Another idea to also consider is to buy cheap clothes wherever you go and then leave them there. Or save enough room to bring them back as souvenirs. This is about only traveling with the essentials for a happier trip.
This is undoubtedly the hardest one to grasp and do. For me “edit yourself” means to change how I feel towards traveling, the people I interact with and how I come off during my travels. Let’s face it, travel is stressful for everybody. But why do some people seem to never be stressed? The truth is that it’s only as stressful as we let it be and our attitude determines if it’s a great trip or a terrible one. Which one do you want to be?
Undoubtedly everybody wants to be the one with a great attitude but how do you get there? How can you when you’re tired, grumpy, flight is delayed, hotel is overbooked, and you don’t speak the language. My advice is to stay present, meaning in the moment, and focus on getting through frustrating situations. Work through situations to change them. If you can’t change then remove yourself from the situation. If you can’t do that then accept it. All situations will boil down to doing one of those three.
And that sounds a tad harsh but it’s true. I learned this through many trips that many things can’t be changed. So what are you going to do; be mad, annoyed, and frustrated for your entire trip? Don’t ruin your trip because emotionally you aren’t balanced. Learn to focus your energy into staying present, meaning learning to focus your energy all in the moment. Let go of the past and stop worrying about the what if’s in the future.
But how? It’s actually quite hard to be honest but not impossible. I would like to do a blog post on how to do this but there is some great articles on this (here is one by one of my favorite spiritual teachers). The basics go something like this.
To stay present you need to be aware of your thoughts, your actions, what you say and why you’re thinking what you’re thinking. Just be aware is the first step. Now once you’re away focus your attention back to what is actually happening, not letting your past thoughts or future worries effect you. You’ll always struggle with thoughts, but that’s okay. Just learn to focus on the now more often and you’ll get better.
Also let any of those pre-judgments you may have go. Travel will teach you that your assumptions about a place or its people is usually exaggerated or just wrong. Removing pre-judgment removes a veil and lets you see a culture as is. You will agree with it or not agree with it. Try to stay present enough to be the outsider to this culture. It’s really not your place to try to change it but rather to accept it, or that is what I’ve come to believe.
What I know
For me, editing works. It helps me clear my mind to make for a more comfortable travel experience but I realize that not everybody wants or is willing to understand the benefits. The bottom-line is that if you can make your travels an easier, more relaxed experience wouldn’t you want to try for that? I think most people would and then you’re like “why didn’t I do this sooner?” Physically and mentally there are ways to travel edit. The way to overcome all if is to mentally let go of the reasons why you won’t edit and focus your energy on learning how to edit.
Some other articles I have done to help with travel editing:
- Travel Light Tips
- How to Travel Mentally Tough
- International Carry-On
- The Excuses Not to Travel
- How to Travel with an Open Mind
- How to Travel with Less
- Travel at the Highest Level
- How to Not Give a F^!* when Traveling