Is there anything as horrible as starting a trip? Once you’re off, that’s all right! But the last moments are earthquake and convulsion and the feeling that you are a snail being pulled off your rock. Anne Morrow Lindbergh
The stress is unreal! It was nothing like this when I departed for 8 months after University. This time, 25 years later, I am only going for 2 months. I am thinking ahead, which feels impossible, planning for my business Gumboot Gourmet and for the Good Food Box, which I will be operating from Romania!
It is a week before I go on my independent study trip with a Nuffield scholarship. I could not figure out why I was so miserable until I read the quote above. Apparently, it is difficult coming home again too, since everything looks so different having acquired a new perspective abroad. I am warned that re-entry can be rocky and confusing.
I read this little book called Journeys of Simplicity – Traveling Light by Philip Harnden. It did not live up to my expectations but still had a few gems in it. It is about traveling light and contains only lists, of what some well known people took with them on their travels or kept as their belongings. The book also explores ‘traveling light’, not just unencumbered journeying, but the traveling light that shows us the way, and about traveling to find the Light within.
All John Muir took on his one thousand mile walk to the Gulf was a comb, brush, towel, soap and change of underclothing in a rubberized bag; a plant press; and a copy of Burn’s poems, Milton’s Paradise Lost, Wood’s Botany, the New Testament, a journal and a map. He writes: “Only by going in silence, without baggage, can one truly get into the heart of the wilderness.”
French painter, Marcel Duchamp took two shirts, one worn on top of the other and a toothbrush in his jacket pocket. Apostle for world peace, Peace Pilgrim walked over 25,000 miles. She wore and carried all navy clothing: a short and a long sleeved shirt, slacks, running shorts, socks, sneakers, a tunic with lots of pockets and in those pockets, a comb, toothbrush, pen, map, leaflets and correspondence.
It is my attempt to travel light, but I am not being as successful! My list is long and I plan to put it all in a medium sized backpack. I am hoping it won’t way more than 15kg. Is this possible?! The average daily highs where I am going will be between 10̊C and 15̊C. I have carefully selected all mix and match black and purple clothing with some brown for warmer weather days.
Here is my list:
Bath bag including face cream with SPF
Complementary health care kit with sewing kit
Youth hostel sheet
Water bottle and carrier belt
And in my backpack: black leggings, T shirt, quick dry top, quick dry pants, purple dress that bunches up into a ball, underwear & socks, work gloves (in preparation for some horse based agriculture), fleece vest, rain pants and jacket, pajamas, swimsuit, shawl, light running shoes, cap, sunglasses, spare glasses, neck scarf, quick dry small towel, waterproof matches, jacknife (almost went into carry-on – yikes) and extra straps.
I will wear brown roll up pants, a long sleeve top, undershirt, a hoodie and Blundstone boots, all clothing that hides the dirt very nicely!
My carry-on will probably be heavier than my backpack: many technologies from a flashlight and compass to smartphone, tablet, keyboard, camera, numerous cables for charging, adapter, and USB key; my wallet, travel documentation (passport, travel insurance, destination information and maps, rail pass, HI membership, and tickets, these days in the form on confirmation emails), a travel pillow, a couple of magazines, a book, my research papers, a journal, the game yatzee, some pens and highlighters, and credit card and emergency contact information. And finally, a travel mug, boiling element and some tea bags for the long days.