The perfect packed suitcase...

There is no perfect packed suitcase or backpack, small or big!

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That's only you who decided how much weight you will carry during your travel and how big it should be! We all have different needs.

Three months ago, when I took my first airplane with my 38L / 12kg backpack to Japan, I saw some people with 2, 3 even 4 big suitcases waiting in line to check-in their luggages.

Ok that seem a bit exagerate! You are certainly thinking : this is not me he's talking about, I only have one suitcase...

I could remember me weeks ago struggling to choose what to bring to travel. That was hard! When you're packing you need to bring everything in your suitcase! You know, just in case ...

That's stressful, indeed, when you should enjoy the preparation of you holidays, instead you are stress about what you will forget! That was always like that for me!

But even if you forget something most of the time you'll be able to buy it in a supermarket or a convenient store or a gas station like in Iceland! You might end up just to make it without what you forget and what you thought was so important to bring with you! :) Who knows? 

Watching the queue of people with their suitcases, I thought! Oh god maybe I forgot something... I took my bag as carry-on and boarded the plane.

did I forgot something ?

Yes! I forgot to give or throw away a lot of stuff which was in my bag, but at this time, that was the perfect packed bag for me! Everything I needed was in !

How effective that was at the airport not to have to check-in and check out a suitcase or even a backpack! 

You can check-in yourself and avoid the queue to check-in your luggage.

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You are buying time to yourself and a peaceful mind!

How many times I had to wait for my luggages after a flight and found it a bit damaged. While waiting, I always had a thought about how maybe it was lost or delay until I could see it! Now everything is fitting in my carry-on and that's really really a big step for me!

I'm travelling with a light backpack and mind.

Few weeks ago I was talking to a friend who was travelling to Japan for two weeks with his girlfriend. They wanted to make the best of their trip and planned to change locations every two days to see a lot of Japan! Each of them had 1 big suitcase plus you know, the little bag to hike or put whatever you need when sightseeing. After two weeks of walking, taking train, check-in/check-out hotel, my friend told me he was exhausted!

Why I asked? The suitcases he told me :

Never again!!!

I don't know, I could be wrong but my guess is that they probably used 50% or less that what they had in their suitcases. 

After more than 3 months of travel, moving every day or evey two days to a new location in Japan, I can say that I didn't use half of what was in my bag! Not kidding! I actually looking forward to minimalize, optimize my bag and made it a 7kg! Hopefully! 

Of course, computer, camera, go pro are a big part of the weight in the 12kg! I had a look yesterday and thought that for a long travel like that I didn't use the computer a lot, only to transfer my photos/videos to a hard drive, next step will be to store everything online!

That's at least a 3kg weight gain. I'm doing everything on my phone! Editing photos or videos and even writing this article now while I'm in the plane back to Kansai/Kyoto from Ishigaki/Okinawa.

The new technology are a big part in minizing your belonging, now everything is so small and portable, at the end one device is enough to do everything, watch movies, read books, listen to some music, take some nice photos and videos.

There is no rules every one is different! I can't remembered how many time I struggled with my big suitcases at airport or in a train before! That was a real pain!

It's so enjoyable to walk around and even not feeling the bag on my back now! That really made my trip way more easier and challenging at the same time! Yes that was a challenge at start to have not much choice in the T-shirt I will wear every morning! I only got 3 black T-shirt and 2 with some graphics on it! 

When you got less you think : efficiency!

For example I had to bought a new T-shirt, one was really too old! I bought a nice and warm one! Was it expensive: yes! Way more expensive that the one I throw away! But I guess the price of four good quality T-shirt will never compet with the 60 midlle quality fun T-shirt I had!

Same goes for all the clothes I'm wearing now, I'm actually about to renew some of my underwear in Kyoto, I really like MUJI shop, very affordable, simple and good quality!

Also, one think I'm missing is my essential oil vaporizer. Muji is doing a travel version which is very small and can be charge by usb! Been a while I saw it and thought that maybe I'll buy it!

Being minimalist to me doesn't mean : stop buying!

It's more about not buying everything like I used to.

Before I was buying stuff for many reasons : that was compulsive buying, I was always feeling the need to buy things, maybe in a way that was to feel a gap. Clothes, books, camera, electronic devices... Decluttering helped me to understand who I was! Precisely who I wasn't! I wasn't these objects! I could be myself without them.

Now I want to buy things if I really need it or if I really want it! I'm asking myself this question "why do you want to buy it?" I saw this Items several time the last months and I'm still asking myself, I think that would be cool to have one as part of my meditation, relaxing accessories. Of course, if I buy it, I'll need to get rid of one item, to make sure everything is fitting in my bag.

In a way by reducing my space, I'm reducing my numbers of items and my general consumption. 

In my backpack I tried to put clothes for two seasons : summer and winter. That means that you need versatile clothing. I bought a nice combo T-shirt/underwear which are made for this purpose. More expensive yes, but again : one underwear and one T-shirt. Quality over quantity! 

I got a windcoat and a separate hoodie, which I can combine depending on the weather! I got it from years and really like-it! It's usually fold over the back of my bagpack wich leave more space for others belongings. 

Before I went on travel a friend of mine gave me a nice tips to organize my bag : why not using some freezing bags with zipper to store T-Shirt, swimsuit, underwear, etc ... And that was brilliant! 

Doing that it litteraly take me 5-6 minutes to pack  my bag! Not kidding!

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At the end of this trip, I realized that my travel bag became my life bag and that was all I needed !

After all these time with my small backpack which contains almost everything I own now. (Still have to declutter few very old boxes at my parents place), I got this strange feeling of freedom! I said strange because as far as I remember I always had something to worry about and most of it was related, connected to possession and belonging.

Yes I could go everywhere after all without being bound by a flat, a rent, furnitures, taxes, belonging and so on... 

Less is more ...

Over the last months and few reads, after 1 year of work in London. I've chosen to go on travel again for a long period.  Why? 

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Less is More ...

 

Minimalist traveller.

I'm 43 year old, single, working in the Visual effect industry and I'm sitting a fair amount of hours in front of the computer all day long. 

When basics questions came to you regularly as 'What should I do with my life ?', or 'Does this job is for me?' 'Should I go back to France to live there ?' 'What's next ?'. It's usually time to answers them but that's not that easy. My first thought was: I need to travel?, escape ? discover myself, I don't know. 

One day after lunch it hit me! My flat tenancy in London was ending in September, my contract jobs a month later, that seemed to be a perfect timing. So : Let's go! But where ?

Being in Japan last year during a month, I really enjoyed it and felt that I had more to discover there. I've started meditation (yes ... can you imagine a year ago..it changed my life by the way...), Origami and did a lot of read about Japan this year : Zen, Japanese arts, Japanese cultures.

So why not going back to Japan I thought!, but why not take the time to visit all. Starting by Okinawa to do some scuba diving and finishing at Hokkaido to do some skiing. (I know that sound already too expensive....but let see..). South to North.

Three months seemed to me the perfect amount of time to road trip Japan and most important to be back in France for Christmas! Yeah, let's do it :)

Ok, that's one thing to take the decision but that's an other to organize it so it become real. I'm usually a 'doing at the last time possible' person. But here how it worked for me. 

First I've started to think about my bag and my last travel back from New-Zealand, 2 suitcases, one backpack, 1 ukulele (you think you'll play some every night, well you won't haha !) and that was a pain to check-in/check-out, find a place to store it. One suitcase was full of my T-shit collection which I never wear since year... but you know : just in case ;)

Never Again! That's when I was thinking about it that I had a look on the internet, thanks to google : 'travel light' ... And I met minimalism .... I had no idea that some peoples could live with that small amount of objects, that sounded crazy to me, who don't need 100 books on his shelves and A collection of 50 T-shirts you never wear. OK, ok ... digging more into google, here I am, some guys are packing a bag with the essential ... That's what I need yeah ! OMG, 4 T-shirts (yes I know that's crazy) / 4 underwear /  1 pair of shoes / 1 Shirt /  4 pair of socks  and so on ... 

Well... that sound not much but maybe I could try! And I will.

Over the last month, I've started to unclutter my flat, my objective was to live my flat with my 38L backpack,my Scubadiving Gear and avoid to store anything somewhere. Considering the amount of objects I had in the flat, that seemed to me impossible in the first place, I just bought a piano 3 months ago, how funny! 

That's started by throwing away what I'm not using and what I cannot give to a charity or sell, basically things that you put on the side because 'I can use it later', well 10 years later it's still standing in your living room! Yes you know this old fashion computer that you were planning to repair one day...or this lovely collection of coffee maker that you will use one day ...

Then I put on the side what I wanted to give to a charity, starting by emptying my wardrobe and put all my cloths on my bed. HA my lovely collection of T-shirt. Ok lets do it! the one I give on this side (the ones I never wear or will wear) and the one I keep on the other one. that's was hard, and I have to do it few time to make my mind, but finally I've ended up with a fair amount of clothes to donate. Putted all in a bag... and boom... go to charity shop, clothes / books / DVDs ... I think that's the first time I entered a charity shop in London and in a way even if what you give is nothing, well it's something, and that gave me a nice feeling. 

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About the 4 Tshirts / 1 Shirt / 1 Pair of shoes etc.. i have to admit that I'm still not there haha ... but I'm getting there :)  I've sold most of what I had, using this money to buy flight and trains tickets. 

As my flat became less clutter, I've started to enjoy more and more the empty space. As I was having less and less objects, I felt more and more happy and had a kind of a freedom feeling, hard to describe, but yes.

So here I am, writing this first article for my blog in a beautiful cafe-library in Hampstead, heading to Okinawa in 2 weeks. I'm planning to write few articles along my trip to share my Minimalist experience, my photos and videos. 

Apologize for my English and pardon my french ;) But if you made it until the end of this article without burning your eyes ! All good!

Take care ...