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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 September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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