This is part of BootsnAll’s 30 Days of Indie Travel project, a daily blogging challenge with a prompt for every day in November 2011. Check out the prompt at the bottom of this post to find out how you can participate!
I finally started traveling lightly during a trip to New York City last year for New Year’s Eve. Despite the frigid temperatures and blizzard that just came through the region, I managed to make it to the Big Apple with just a carry-on, and I haven’t looked back since. I vowed then and there to NEVER check a bag again, and I was proud to make that happen on a 16 day trip to Europe this past fall.
But anyone can pack lightly when they really try. There are oodles of tips out there for the light traveler, so I won’t bore you with why I think it’s unnecessary to bring that second pair of pants, all those just-in-case items, or that huge hair dryer.
When I first saw this prompt, my mind immediately went to the physical part of baggage, but then I started to dig a little deeper. I started to think of the mental aspect of the word baggage. And I suddenly realized why it is that I truly love to travel. No matter what kind of trip I go on – a short weekend away, a week on the beach relaxing, a few weeks in Europe, or a year-long RTW trip – they all seem to accomplish the same thing.
Travel gives me a way to get away from whatever emotional baggage I might be carrying at home. It gives me the opportunity to forget what’s going on with my normal daily life. It gives me the chance to see and experience another part of my city, state, country, or world. To just live life for that day, that hour, that minute, that exact moment.
People talk about living for the now all the time, but when you’re mired in everyday life, working each day, going through the same routines, thinking about what’s coming next on our schedule, it’s difficult to remember the now that people preach we should be living in. We think about what we need to do next. What that next work project is, what plans we have for that next evening, that next weekend. We long for that next trip. We also think about the past. We reminisce about what we have done. Our past accomplishments. Our previous vacations. Those days and moments that are important to us and make us who we are.
When I am home, going through the motions of life, I really have to take a step back and tell myself to appreciate the now, to live in the present. But when I am on the road, it seems to come naturally. Whether I’m in a new place I’ve never been or revisiting the same city I’ve been to countless times, I always seem to appreciate what it is I’m doing at that moment. I savor that bite I’ve food I’ve been reading about. I really take in that famous site I’ve been longing to see. I appreciate the time I get to spend with friends I don’t see often.
There’s something about being on the road that makes me feel right. I often think to myself subconsciously when traveling, “Yes, this is where I’m supposed to be. This is what I’m supposed to be doing.” It’s when I’m most happy in life. It’s when I’m most content. It’s when I’m able to forget about any baggage I have and just enjoy life, which is why I will always continue to travel and make it the top priority in my life.
30 Days of Indie Travel Project: How to Participate
We’re inviting bloggers from around the world (that means you, too!) to join us in a daily blogging effort designed to reflect on how our travel experiences over the last year – or whenever – have shaped us and our view of the world. Bloggers can follow the prompts as strictly or loosely as they like, interpreting them in various ways and responding via text, photos or video posted on their own blogs.
We’ll share some of our favorites via Twitter and Facebook throughout November, as well as a round-up article at the end of the month, so if you’re playing along make sure to let us know – use the #indie30 hashtag on Twitter, and link to the 30 Days of Indie Travelpage in your post so we’ll be able to find it.
Find out all of the 30 Days of Indie Travel blogging prompts so far – it’s never too late to join in the fun!
Prompt #16: BAGGAGE