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Minimalist Traveling: How to Stay Free With Just A Carryon

Minimalist Traveling: How to Stay Free With Just A Carryon

Do you think traveling for two weeks to three foreign countries in a carryon is impossible?

My husband and I did it. I’d love to tell you how.

I may ascribe to a philosophy I like to call living a perpetual vacation, but it’s not all about actually traveling. Most of the time, I live my own perpetual vacation by staying put in Managua, Nicaragua. Living and working awesomely doesn’t require leaving your home. It only requires creating work that’s meaningful to you and fulfills you, doing your best to take care of yourself as you go about achieving your goals, and living out your ideal day.

Sometimes, though, I do travel — just because I enjoy it so much. Travel is a part of my own ideal lifestyle, so I’ve striven to explore more this past year.

As I travel more, I’m getting better at making it an optimal experience. After receiving an invitation to speak at a business school in Madrid, my husband and I planned a trip to Madrid, Florence and Copenhagen over the course of two weeks. I knew it would be a major trip for us, and I didn’t want to be bogged down by our luggage.

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So, we decided to accomplish it all by not checking a single bag.

How to Pack Correctly

One of the biggest troubles is knowing how to pack. I remember being mindblown when I watched a video of a flight attendant comparing how many clothes fit into a carryon when they’re rolled up instead of folded. Rolling your clothing grants so much more space! I definitely used that approach on this trip, but I also had to be careful with two important attributes of packing:

  • Weight — Airlines have different rules for the weight allowed. Since we were traveling within Europe, most of the airlines we flew had the similar weight limitations, the lowest of which was 10kg or about 22lbs. We used that lower number to guide our packing endeavors to make sure we weren’t charged overweight and forced to check a bag at any airport.
  • Size — Airlines also have different rules for the size of the carryon used. I’m used to traveling within the US, which allows for bigger bags, so this trip to Europe was a bit different. I borrowed smaller carryon luggage from a friend to make it within the limits.

It’s important to do your research on this. I looked up every airline we flew to make sure that we used the smallest limits possible to ensure we didn’t run into any surprises along the way.

But don’t fret! No matter how small or light your carryon has to be, there’s so much that you can fit inside.

What to Pack (And What to Leave Behind)

Have you ever gone on a three-day vacation with a huge bag full of clothes that comes back unworn? Yeah, same here.

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So many of us pack way too much for trips. Not only do we not use half the things we take with us, but we’re doing it due to an emotion we’re not even aware of: fear.

Most of the stuff we pack and goes unused we take because we never know what might happen along the trip — I call these “just in case” items. And most of those “just in case” situations never happen.

Here’s the breakdown of what I think is necessary, and what absolutely is not:

  • What you need — These are the items you absolutely need, like underwear, pants, shirts, etc. Only the absolute basics.
  • What’s “just in case” — These are the items you think you might need along the way, like a fancier outfit, an umbrella, and so on. It’s up to you to analyze just how likely these situations truly are.
  • What you don’t need — These are the items that you absolutely don’t need and are just taking for a ride, like your entire set of earrings.

I hope that helps you when you’re packing for your next trip. I know that it absolutely helped me to decipher what made the cut and what didn’t.

How We Did It

In our recent trip to Madrid, Florence and Copenhagen, we wanted to make sure we didn’t pay the bag checking fee. We also wanted our trip to feel as easy and light as possible. At the end of a very long trip, waiting for checked baggage in the terminal feels terrible, right?

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Here’s what I was able to pack in my 10kg carryon:

  • 4 pairs of jeans (one worn during trip)
  • 1 pair of white capri pants
  • 1 pair of navy blue shorts
  • 1 black day dress
  • 9 shirts (one worn during trip)
  • 1 light navy blue jacket
  • 1 very light black sweater (worn during trip)
  • 1 navy blue blazer
  • 5 pairs of shoes (one worn during trip)
  • 1 European blowdryer
  • 2 hair combs
  • 1 pair of socks
  • 1 tan belt

Sounds like a lot, right? Wait until you hear what I packed in my personal item (a tote bag):

  • 1 Macbook Pro and charger
  • 1 Bose noise-canceling headset
  • 1 Moleskin
  • 4 pairs of earrings and necklaces
  • 1 iPhone and charger
  • Toiletry bag with hair products, hand cream, medicine, etc

I definitely had a great time on the trip, and every single item that I packed was used many times. At the same time, I was able to keep the trip as light and carefree as possible.

How You Can Do It

These are just my own travel experiences. I’d love to hear your stories:

Is there a particular trip in mind that you’ve been holding off on?

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During your own travels, what holds you back from feeling free?

Are there small tweaks you could make — like packing in a carryon —that could help you feel more free?

Can’t wait to hear from you in the comments!

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Last Updated on November 11, 2019

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

4. Feed Your Brain

Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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6. Write it Down

If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

7. Listen to Music

Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

8. Visual Concepts

In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

9. Teach Someone Else

Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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