One thing about my favorite boy toy and I is that we do not travel lightly. Not only do we have our clothes and toiletries, but we also have our cameras, tripods, laptop, iPads, and books. Depending on how long I’m gone, I may even have my work laptop with as well. Of course, we are driving to our destinations and not flying. If we were flying, there would not be as much going with us.
There are some very good arguments as to the need to travel lightly. This includes physical security over your possessions, ease of travel, flexibility especially for public transportation, and simplicity. They all make sense to me.
But. . . my fun would be greatly diminished. I enjoy taking pictures. I like downloading them, blogging, and reading my E-mails. I read during downtime, before bed, and when my boy toy is spending yet another hour waiting for something to be just thus and so to take his own pictures.
Alexandra Stoddard, a philosopher of contemporary living, has a wonderful essay on traveling heavy in her book, Things I Want My Daughters To Know. She tells how she loves things and she loves to travel. She says that each time she travels lightly, she’s regretted it. She tells her daughers they will be the happiest when they are prepared and that “being self-sufficient in a strange place is empowering”.
I particularly liked this quote from the essay:
Travel heavy to live big, significant lives. Have a stimulating career.
Have children. Have a dog. Have plants you need to water.
Have a personal library. Have dinner parties.
Collect inanimate objects simply because you love them.
The beauty you surround yourself with enriches your soul. . .
Now is the only time to enjoy these possessions that make you happy now.
When I read this years ago, I realized that my traveling lightly was not serving me well. I didn’t like going on the road only to have no way to relax except by watching television. I made sure to travel with a few books, a small piece of needlepoint, a yoga DVD and a yoga strap. It made my business travels much more enjoyable. Of course, since I was flying, I had to leave my good needlepoint scissors behind and instead take a pair of child’s blunt nose scissors for cutting my threads!
I don’t want to drive with so much stuff that it takes multiple trips to empty the car. But I do want my possessions that I enjoy, the things that make my trip worthwhile. If I can’t take my pictures, download and enjoy them, why bother traveling?
Alexandra Stoddard’s quote is also talking to the bigger issues of life. Does a minimalist life serve us well if we feel deprived of the things that bring us joy? Dogs are expensive, children even more so. Yet both bring love to us. Flowers bring us beauty, whether from the store or in our yard. Do we not spend money on them and therefore not enjoy?
If you prefer or need the flexibility of traveling light, do so! But for me, I’d rather not.
The Bradford pear trees on Brown’s Island are in full bloom. As I took pictures, the petals were falling as fast as snow, making it like a wonderland to walk beneath them.