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?
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.
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.
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. 🙂