Life Without Baggage

Yesterday I finished my most recent junk-food-for-the-brain courtesy of the Forsyth County Public Library (Lewisville Branch) and once again fantasized about leading a life of no possessions. The eponymous hero of the Jack Reacher series lives a life traveling around the world free of possessions besides his ID, a debit card and the clothes on his back and I often envy him his spartan lifestyle. (He also ends up killing lots of people, but that's really a superfluous part of the plot as far as I'm concerned). Don't get me wrong, I love my family and I love our household, but yesterday also featured the latest in a long series of trips to the local dump to drop off yet another load of stuff we no longer need, so I was in that mode of Spartan-envy familiar to at least a few suburbanites. I'm also a gainfully employed, married, middle-aged father of three teenagers who's freedom of movement is roughly equivalent to that of someone doing time at a halfway house.

So yes, I have a kind of "grass-is-greener" envy whenever I read anything about people galavanting around the globe with nary a bag to check, and there are people doing just that:

I've done it. Traveling with no bags is gloriously liberating. You move fast, close to the ground, spontenously.  You feel unleashed, undefined by your possessions. It is just you and the world. I am convinced that with less stuff to manage you think different. You learn lots, fast.

I've done a few very short trips this way, and once I took a month-long journey in Sri Lanka without baggage. I would not want to travel this way all the time, but once you go with none, it is much easier to go with very little. It's one of the oldest truism in the world: the less you travel with, the more you take back.

There are four modes of no-baggage travel these days:

1) Total Nada

2) Just Pockets

3) Day Baggers

4) Minimalist Borrowers

Personally I dislike body odor enough that I seriously doubt I'd succeed at totally bagless travel, but it's fun to think about it. 


3 thoughts on “Life Without Baggage

  1. Stuff U. Magnet

    Susan and I have the ‘we don’t need anymore stuff’ conversation about every other day. It’s not an argument; we are on the same page (I think). Yet within about a half hour of that conversation we are out getting more STUFF. At some point we have to get rid of the stuff to make room for new stuff, and you are right, it’s nothing but another time consuming, ridiculous chore. I will say that it’s a lot easier to do without stuff if you are single with no kids, because you have to make sure you have enough stuff to make your American family more “comfortable”. So, no matter how much you discuss with disgust the issue with your spouse, it all comes down to the fact that we Americans can’t help ourselves. We are addicted to STUFF and we can’t even distinguish between the stuff we need and the stuff we want anymore.

  2. MomofCyclist

    My son, a 2008 West Forsyth High grad, biked across country last summer with only a few essentials that he could carry on a bicycle. He loved it and is planning to travel by bike again this summer through the Northeast, with less than 6 pounds of gear. Here’s the story from his college website:

  3. Jon Lowder

    Wow! That sounds really interesting and just a tad scary. I really do
    wish Id done something like that before I settled down, but maybe I
    can do it in my second adolescence after the kids are on their own.
    Please pass along well wishes and safe travels to your son.


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