Pack Light and Carry a Heavy Journal

I won’t bore you with the “must pack” list of things in my luggage. Nor will I provide you with the photo of all my things laid out on the bed or desk and the tiny bag it all fits in. Instead, I will indulge on the contents themselves and why I chose them for my journeys. Like most people, I overpack and I’m okay with that. So long as I can carry the load alone (picture me wheelin’ luggage around an airport with a giant hiking backpack and carry-on in my arms), then I’m set for my travels. Today, I’m rummaging through the things I’ve acquired over my 6-month stay in NZ and downsizing big time. In six months, I’ve managed to buy few clothes but I have accumulated a lot of paper goodies.

You see, I collect cards and books. I love print and I mean LOVE. I have this silly idea in my head that cards are simple things to pack (they’re flat!), collect, and travel with. I also like having keepsakes from the places I’ve visited. And everyone loves getting a postcard or note from my stops along the way. But books are a whole other issue. I love the feeling of a book in my hands, turning the pages, and making notes in the margins. But that means I have to lug around stacks of these things wherever I go and it’s usually the heaviest part of my trip. Even as I finish them, I’ll sell them back or donate them but I’m quick to pick up another, especially when a library isn’t accessible to me.

I do the usual: stuff shoes with underwear to save space, roll shirts instead of fold, and squeeze every open air pocket with something. But in the end, it’s all stuff. So I’m finally keen on really letting a lot of it go. I am going to scan lots of these documents and cards and keep digital copies before shipping them to mom’s house in Atlanta. I’m donating tons of clothes that I won’t need (I already have an old wardrobe full of clothes back in NYC and Atlanta). And I’m letting go of the bags. These bags are simply getting in the way. No giant hiking backpack. No handbag or purse needed. I hope to fit it all in a duffel bag and a backpack and be on my way. I can see it now; I’ll just be wearing everything on the plane instead. 

There are some bulky items that I can’t quite seem to let go of: two film cameras and gifts for friends and family. But it’s all just stuff. I used to think I was good about getting rid of things and clearing out my closets. I would toss anything I hadn’t used in a year (if it didn’t carry too much sentimental value). But I realized today that I just get things to replace them. I’d still end up not using them (high heels for example). 

I’ve gone through round one of packing and came up with one bag of garbage and three bags of donations. I suspect there will be more once I try to squeeze it all in. But I’m determined to make it fit or realize it’s just time to let it go.



  1. I must say I simply adore your writing. You zeal for life and sharing your life is AMAZING!!! You are nothing short of amazing…and not because I consider you my friend. Safe travels…hope to see you soon!


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