Travel Tips

Travel Tip Tuesday: Minimalism

Hello friends! Here in the north we are beginning this day with a fresh blanket of white, laid so beautifully by last night’s snow fall. As I sit and sip my morning tea, I cannot help but think about how special it is to watch the sunrise over this winter wonderland. Ah yes, it is wonderful indeed.

Last night, as the snow fell upon our town, I watched the documentary Minimalism (yes, it is on Netflix). It was about… That’s right… You guessed it… Minimalism! It discussed the all-too-familiar ideal that things = happiness. It instead promoted a different philosophy of living, emphasizing the virtue that less is in fact more. Now, Andy and I have done our best to not accumulate too much “stuff.” We do not feel the compulsion to purchase the newest, greatest thing. And we find value and purpose in the things we do decide to buy and that which we already possess. But the ideals of living “minimalistically” got me thinking (yet again), this time though about travel.

You see, all too often I hear people’s travel stories (especially around the holidays). Fellow travelers plan these incredible trips and do some really amazing things, but find that they are still discontent and dissatisfied. They return exhausted having to spend days “recovering” from vacationing…. WHAT?! Now I understand jet-lag and long layovers at airports, but why travel if it takes so much out of you? And how do some people bounce back so quickly to their daily life after traveling, while others do not?

Could it be that less is more?

Maybe, just maybe, yes. So how can we travel in a way that embraces some of the virtues of minimalism?

Pack Less

One of the most fascinating experiences at the airport is to watch people and their luggage. It is like there is this love-hate relationship between travelers and their suitcases. On the one hand, people do not like lugging their belongings through the airport. On the other hand, though, they like their “stuff.” Friends, less is more. There are all types of tips and tricks out there for packing carry-on suitcases with the essentials you will need for weeks or even months of travel (when in doubt… Pinterest). If you are just gone for one week, it is quite possible that you can pack in such a way that will give you the freedom (and I mean FREEDOM) to not have to check bags. This makes airport arrivals and departures much less of a hassle, thus less stress free! We all like the sound of that.

Plan Less

For someone like me who loves to plan everything out this may sound terrifying. What I mean by plan less, though, is plan to do less. There is no need to go on every tour imaginable when visiting a new place. There is no need to book your itinerary so full that it leaves no room for flexibility and spontaneity. And there is no need to miss out on opportunities to just be present and in the moment. Yes, go! Make incredible memories and do incredible things. But do not miss the beauty of the place you are in or the people you are with because you are too focused on the timing of it all.

Photo Less

Take photos less. Maybe the first two ways of minimizing sounded okay, but for many people this third way is a kicker, especially in the era of “selfie sticks.” Now, there is certainly nothing wrong with taking photos. I will be the first to say that I do it ALL the time. Photos are a way of remembering where we have been and what we have experienced. They capture the beauty of moments in a way that our memories often cannot. It is so special to remember and tell stories using those treasured photographs. But I have also learned over the years that sometimes it is necessary to put the camera down, turn the GoPro off, and just be. No photograph will ever capture the entire experience of watching an awe-inspiring sunset, daring to try something for the first time, or engaging with a culture that is unfamiliar to you. There are sights to not just see, but to be a part of with all your senses. And that is often impossible to do when we hide ourselves behind a camera lens.

In conclusion, less is more. 🙂

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” – Leonardo Da Vinci

8 thoughts on “Travel Tip Tuesday: Minimalism”

  1. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I really enjoyed this post about minimalism in travel, since I’ve got a big (for me) trip coming up in May to Iceland for ten days. All I’m packing is a carry-on bag. I’m trying not to over-schedule, but still there are things I want to see there that are cheaper to arrange from the US. As for photography, we’ll have to wait and see. I don’t usually immure myself behind the lens, though.

    I really REALLY love the word “coddiwomple” !!! 🙂 Not sure I spelled it right, though. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow! Thank YOU for stopping by! That is going to be such an amazing trip 🙂 but that is super cool that you are doing it with just a carry-on. Way to go! As for booking things and photos, no worries at all. Just when it doubt keep things simple and be mindful of where you’re at! But on a side note, something I heard that was really cool to do in Iceland is to go scuba diving between the continental plates! 😉 not sure if that’s something you’re interested in, but really… when it comes down to it… Iceland is just spectacular all around no matter what you do or don’t do! I’ve never been there but we are thinking of doing a camping trip there in the next year or so. So let me know how it goes for you! 😀

      And coddiwomple! Thanks! I am so glad you appreciate it 🙂 I discovered the word not too long ago and fell utterly in love!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It truly is a great word…and I am a word person! 🙂 As for Iceland, I only wish I could be there longer, because there are areas (like the West Fjords, which you might want to check out for camping) that I won’t get to see at all. But I will report in after my trip and give you the benefit of my experience. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Great suggestion! Minimalist traveling!

    Working as an international Flight Attendant, my layovers were anywhere from 26 -45 hours … I would go to the same spot maybe twice a month or more depending on the destination. I visited about 20 countries in 8 years. Now that I’m back – I’m finally enjoying the pictures, videos, notes I took, etc of my travels.

    Less is more.

    My suggestion – select a destination. Go there when the fare is really cheap or find a really cheap fare. Spend two or 3 days checking out a specific thing or two about the culture. When you return home discuss and dissect what and who you’ve encountered. What you enjoyed and disliked. Return in about 3 months and repeat the process.

    I never tired of the trips or the locations. Even the passengers were delightful (even when they were disagreeable)

    I agree with you, maybe the travelers have too much (mental) baggage to enjoy themselves.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow! That’s awesome! Great advice 🙂 that way of traveling is definitely a good idea, especially when a specific number of vacation days comes into play. And if a culture is entirely new to you it gives you time to reflect and process it. And who knows? Maybe on a future trip, you may want to stay for longer! As for the mental baggage, yes. I hadn’t thought of it that way but it could be true in the cases of many people 🙂 interesting indeed!

      Liked by 1 person

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