“If I’m going away for longer than a week I take a suitcase and check it in but I’m good at packing light and quick – months of traveling and living out of a suitcase has trained me well.”
For many aspiring travelers, the golden grail is one bag or suitcase living. It is INDEED a lifestyle that comes from reducing everything I have to only the things I need. For all those who are new to this ‘living out of a suitcase,’ let me tell you what exactly it is, how I did it and what it taught me.
Firstly, it is not for everyone. Many feare the bad connotations attached with the term as if one has no income to settle, very unstable, escapism, cannot savor a place completely. But for me it had a completely different meaning – freedom to choose, living in the moment, fun, exploring and discovery. It just means reducing all the stuff to one bag i.e. packing only what you need. I realized, the day I managed to reduce all my stuff into a bag or suitcase I lived anywhere and everywhere in the country. The way I see it – imagine if I had to start from a scratch; and I had no clothes, shoes, bags, or even a book. Somebody gave me a suitcase to pack, what would I dump in it if I had to go away for two weeks? How would I pack and what would I choose? This made me clear out most of the clutter I had and prioritize the important. I eliminated all the ‘just in case’ stuff and packed in only what I need!
Secondly, downsizing and swapping. When it comes to my wardrobe, it’s the toughest area to tackle. I singled out neutral colors and a trouser which would go with all. Whenever I got bored, I used to swap an old piece with a new one. But, before buying a new piece I used to analyze about how important it is? Would it be used for a long time and for all weathers and seasons? This helped me save time and money sometimes. When I went home after three weeks of incessant travelling, I opened my closet and had that urge to get rid of so many things. All the books I left thinking important seemed not, clothes which I never wore, notes, extra ‘just in cases,’ it felt I had clothes and things to live for three lifetimes!
Living out of a suitcase taught me about what is important, how do I know what is needed most, and how to smartly pick and choose. It gave me a clear perspective about what I need and what I don’t. This started to help me with my decision-making in the future. Unconsciously I started to apply the same concept when it came to the need of an hour decision. Too many choices were actually confusing and de-motivating, one bag or suitcase helped me to be practical and quick.
I realized life is not about things I own but about experiences and this can be achieved with doing and being quick rather than pondering for a longer time than required. Buying life experiences than material things started giving me happiness.
It is not a permanent way of living, but it is definitely long-term. And being minimal is not about depriving me from the stuff but gaining freedom from the clutches of confusion so that I can get what I want, I can be quick, do more and procrastinate less. I began to hit the road with a suitcase consisting of unwashed canvas and wrinkled clothes, faded jeans, and loose tee-shirts which was very unlikely before. When I mentally started clearing the clutter and filling it with peace and contentment, when i started moving on, just exploring and letting go, living followed.