Many times people ask me how it’s possible to travel across a country with only a backpack that is reminiscent of some prepubescent middle schooler’s apparel.
I think I might upset the gods of fashion and all women (and way to many men) everywhere when I say that you really don’t need that much shit when you go on a trip.
“But I need to have at least two military grade cases of clothes for my 3 day trip to Toronto, how else can I chase my dreams of making it on Canada’s retarded half sister of MTV?”
Alas my fair lady, you were never meant to be the next video DJ, but you could be destined for traveling glory with the right coach.
The beauty of packing light lies in the Zen minimalism of it all, because you are lugging less crap around with you, you are more mobile, the more mobile you are, the more things you can see (and eat).
Think about it, if you bring one backpack full of your essential items, you are going to be less likely to waste time and money on the fat like additives that come with your extra 50$ spent on your check in luggage costs.
If you roll into town with an ensemble of outfits, you are likely going to waste time changing constantly and performing other crowd pleasing tasks like going to trendy hipster bars and restaurants that will not offer any authentic (or good) cuisine. You might even perform the most unspeakable horror in all of travel, you will go to shops and malls that are near identical twins to the same soccer mom infested suburbia dwellings of your homeland.
Trust me when I say that your packing dogma should be that of,
“Pack half of what you think you need and twice as much money”
Yes, this does in fact mean that you will not be bringing your polyester poncho and 15 in 1 water filtration bottle from REI, you can buy them as you need them. What it does mean is that you will be only packing the bare essentials of what you need in order to make your trip that much less cumbersome.
This means t shirts, shorts, jeans, underwear, socks, some toiletries, maybe a iphone/netbook, digital camera, and a book.
Yup, that’s it.
This way, you will be able to spend less time worrying about what outfit to change into before you go to the club on Saturday night, and more time eating peking duck while sipping a beer with a group of Chinese locals (read: cute women).
This will insure a more authentic experience in terms of food, culture, sights, and even the occasional shopping item from the local flea market.
I know you are going to hate me know, and Ill probably get hordes of hate mail from aspiring foodie travelers, cultural seekers, and gringo backpackers who insist that their dslr camera, two laptops, 3 pairs of shoes, and their love of couture fashion need to make an appearance in their far and exotic vacation destination.
I will gladly respond to said people and tell them that they are wrong and that if they try traveling my way and hate it that I will give them full permission to leave a flaming pile of shit on my doorstep for which I can step on and ruin my day for about 10 seconds until I was my feet.
So leave the Gap and your Birkenstocks back in your quaint suburban community and sign up for some real food, real travel, and some travel experiences that will drag you kicking and screaming until you realize you want more.