The clean underwear line
There’s no question travelling has changed our view of how much stuff we need. But everyone has a line they will not cross.
Before we left home, we were worried about how much stuff we were taking. We varied between being concerned that we were carrying too much and worrying that we couldn’t possibly live for a year on only the content of our backpacks.
Having nothing but our backpacks has been a liberating experience. We’re getting by quite happily without all that stuff which we have back home. It seems increasingly amazing that we have the best part of the contents of two containers in storage back home. What on earth did we do with all that stuff? Now it must be admitted that we are surviving largely on the kindness, or more properly the profit motive, of strangers. Bed clothes, cutlery, chairs, towels, all that stuff is just someone else’s problem.
Having the iPads does make a huge difference. We’re carrying a couple of hundred books with us, a few hundred hours of television viewing, and many games. So when, like today, we have a quiet day at home, there’s a great deal to keep us entertained. And all that virtual stuff doesn’t weigh much as we move on. I think the iPads also provide some control and consistency. We might not be able to control how our next house will organise the kitchen, but we can control how the apps are arranged on the iPad. I know, it sounds silly, but I do think it makes a difference.
So far the only things we haven’t really used and are carrying are the emergency supplies of medicine, repair kit and so on. We’ve managed not to lose anything on the way and have accrued remarkably little. Having to literally pick up everything you own every week or so really focusses the mind on whether you really need that extra thing on your back.
We’ve each got a couple of pairs of jeans, a few t-shirts, two pairs of shoes – and, barring getting a little bored with the selection, we’re managing fine.We have had to add in some summer clothing here in Dinan (kids pyjamas for example), but as the weather remains changeable we’re holding on to the winter stuff a while yet. Our plan is to drop the Winter stuff once the weather is dependably warm in a few more weeks. Actually getting rid of something will be an interesting test.
We also haven’t had one of those ‘oh, I wish we’d brought’ moments – which surprised me. In fact with the Grandparents coming next week the only essential that they’re bringing is an additional Australian-to-European plug converter.
I have been reading about these extreme travellers who go about with only things they can carry in their pockets. I can see the appeal of the freedom, but the expense side of the ledger must be lack of clean clothes. One change of clothes is just not enough and if you are moving between climates more than one is just not enough.
Which may just say that while we’ve come a long way in our thinking, we’re not yet past the clean underwear line.