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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 March 25, 2020

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

When it comes to living long, genes aren’t everything. Research has revealed a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make that could help to extend your life, and some of them may surprise you.

So, how to live longer? Here are 21 ways to help you live a long life

1. Exercise

It’s no secret that physical activity is good for you. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy body weight and lowers your blood pressure, both of which contribute to heart health and a reduced risk of heart disease–the top worldwide cause of death.

2. Drink in Moderation

I know you’re probably picturing a glass of red wine right now, but recent research suggests that indulging in one to three glasses of any type of alcohol every day may help to increase longevity.[1] Studies have found that heavy drinkers as well as abstainers seem to have a higher risk of early mortality than moderate drinkers.

3. Reduce Stress in Your Life

Stress causes your body to release a hormone called cortisol. At high levels, this hormone can increase blood pressure and cause storage of abdominal fat, both of which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.

4. Watch Less Television

A 2008 study found that people who watch six hours of television per day will likely die an average of 4.8 years earlier than those who don’t.[2] It also found that, after the age of 25, every hour of television watched decreases life expectancy by 22 minutes.

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Television promotes inactivity and disengagement from the world, both of which can shorten your lifespan.

5. Eat Less Red Meat

Red meat consumption is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.[3] Swapping out your steaks for healthy proteins, like fish, may help to increase longevity.

If you can’t stand the idea of a steak-free life, reducing your consumption to less than two to three servings a week can still incur health benefits.

6. Don’t Smoke

This isn’t exactly a revelation. As you probably well know, smoking significantly increases your risk of cancer.

7. Socialize

Studies suggest that having social relationships promotes longevity.[4] Although scientists are unsure of the reasons behind this, they speculate that socializing leads to increased self esteem as well as peer pressure to maintain health.

8. Eat Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of heart disease[5] and perhaps even Alzheimer’s disease.[6] Salmon and walnuts are two of the best sources of Omega-3s.

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9. Be Optimistic

Studies suggest that optimists are at a lower risk for heart disease and, generally, live longer than pessimists.[7] Researchers speculate that optimists have a healthier approach to life in general–exercising more, socializing, and actively seeking out medical advice. Thus, their risk of early mortality is lower.

10. Own a Pet

Having a furry-friend leads to decreased stress, increased immunity, and a lessened risk of heart disease.[8] Depending on the type of pet, they can also motivate you to be more active.

11. Drink Coffee

Studies have found a link between coffee consumption and longer life.[9] Although the reasons for this aren’t entirely clear, coffee’s high levels of antioxidants may play a role. Remember, though, drowning your cup of joe in sugar and whipped cream could counter whatever health benefits it may hold.

12. Eat Less

Japan has the longest average lifespan in the world, and the longest lived of the Japanese–the natives of the Ryukyu Islands–stop eating when they’re 80% full. Limiting your calorie intake means lower overall stress on the body.

13. Meditate

Meditation leads to stress reduction and lowered blood pressure.[10] Research suggests that it could also increase the activity of an enzyme associated with longevity.[11]

Taking as little as 15 minutes a day to find your zen can have significant health benefits, and may even extend your life.

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How to meditate? Here’re 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners

14. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Being overweight puts stress on your cardiovascular system, increasing your risk of heart disease.[12] It may also increase the risk of cancer.[13] Maintaining a healthy weight is important for heart health and living a long and healthy life.

15. Laugh Often

Laughter reduces the levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, in your body. High levels of these hormones can weaken your immune system.

16. Don’t Spend Too Much Time in the Sun

Too much time in the sun can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. However, sun exposure is an excellent way to increase levels of vitamin D, so soaking up a few rays–perhaps for around 15 minutes a day–can be healthy. The key is moderation.

17. Cook Your Own Food

When you eat at restaurants, you surrender control over your diet. Even salads tend to have a large number of additives, from sugar to saturated fats. Eating at home will enable you to monitor your food intake and ensure a healthy diet.

Take a look at these 14 Healthy Easy Recipes for People on the Go and start to cook your own food.

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18. Eat Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a central ingredient in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s GOMBS disease fighting diet. They boost the immune system and may even reduce the risk of cancer.[14]

19. Floss

Flossing helps to stave off gum disease, which is linked to an increased risk of cancer.[15]

20. Eat Foods Rich in Antioxidants

Antioxidants fight against the harmful effects of free-radicals, toxins which can cause cell damage and an increased risk of disease when they accumulate in the body. Berries, green tea and broccoli are three excellent sources of antioxidants.

Find out more antiosidants-rich foods here: 13 Delicious Antioxidant Foods That Are Great for Your Health

21. Have Sex

Getting down and dirty two to three times a week can have significant health benefits. Sex burns calories, decreases stress, improves sleep, and may even protect against heart disease.[16] It’s an easy and effective way to get exercise–so love long and prosper!

More Health Tips

Featured photo credit: Sweethearts/Patrick via flickr.com

Reference

[1] Wiley Online Library: Late‐Life Alcohol Consumption and 20‐Year Mortality
[2] BMJ Journals: Television viewing time and reduced life expectancy: a life table analysis
[3] Arch Intern Med.: Red Meat Consumption and Mortality
[4] PLOS Medicine: Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review
[5] JAMA: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women
[6] NCBI: Effects of Omega‐3 Fatty Acids on Cognitive Function with Aging, Dementia, and Neurological Diseases: Summary
[7] Mayo Clinic Proc: Prediction of all-cause mortality by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Optimism-Pessimism Scale scores: study of a college sample during a 40-year follow-up period.
[8] Med Hypotheses.: Pet ownership protects against the risks and consequences of coronary heart disease.
[9] The New England Journal of Medicine: Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality
[10] American Journal of Hypertension: Blood Pressure Response to Transcendental Meditation: A Meta-analysis
[11] Science Direct: Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators
[12] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[13] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[14] African Journal of Biotechnology: Anti-cancer effect of polysaccharides isolated from higher basidiomycetes mushrooms
[15] Science Direct: Periodontal disease, tooth loss, and cancer risk in male health professionals: a prospective cohort study
[16] AHA Journals: Sexual Activity and Cardiovascular Disease

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