In just over a week I’m going on a massive trip around Europe with a friend. We’ll call him James cause that’s his name. This trip was first mentioned between us back in November and has been happening and then not happening since then more times than I can count.
But now it’s happening.
We’ve booked flights (but so far not anything else… yet.) and now we’ve been turning our attention to what we’re taking. To some extent I’ve been making preparations for stuff to take for ages. Six months ago I got a new camera; I bought a super-lightweight laptop with something like this trip in mind; I’ve been reading travel blogs and watching serial travellers’ YouTube videos.
And now we’re a week away from this probably-once-in-a-lifetime trip and I’ve decided not to bother with all the stuff. My laptop? It weighs 1kg but is too heavy. My camera? James has ordered a disposable camera off Amazon and is taking that. I seriously considered taking my old point and shoot from 2005 instead of my beautiful new DSLR. My phone? I’m leaving it behind, and whilst I wanted to take my old Sony Ericsson camera phone (back in the days when that was a very exciting legit thing), in the end I’m borrowing a fairly old HTC.
Then there’s bags. I’ve got a 65l proper backpacking bag I used a couple of times at school. Perfect for this kind of trip. Except, it’s way too big. We’re only taking four days of clothes each, a couple of essentials (toiletries, towels etc) and I’ll have my satchel for my camera, tablet and Kindle. James managed to fit everything in an absolutely tiny 20l backpack. I’m not quite going to manage that, but I comfortably fitted everything into a 27l pack. Literally half the size of the bag I thought I’d take. How #minimalist of me.
Yet, I was a little bit concerned that when we’re on the go and we’re carrying food and whatnot my 27l bag isn’t quite going to cut it. So I figured I should probably take less. After all, everybody tells you to take as little as possible.
So I started considering ditching the camera, fewer clothes, ditching the Kindle. I got my iPod Touch from 2009 out earlier to see what the battery was like so I could take a Nokia phone instead of the HTC. I was seeing how plausible it would be that I could pick up English-language books in the places we’re going to so I could avoid taking my own the whole way.
And at some point during all this I realised I was probably being a bit silly. Yes, travel light, but this is a trip I’ll probably never get the opportunity to do again. So don’t take crappy photos in the name of not taking a decent camera cause it weighs too much. Don’t get really bored on four hour train journeys cause you didn’t take any books cause they weigh too much. Don’t be silly. Don’t take the whole trendy minimalism thing too far.
My minimalism out minimalists your minimalism. I’m not taking anything on holiday.