GROWING UP on an Indiana farm gave me space and time. But growing up meant consumption quickly took over. I became stuffed as those marketers intended, acquiring and buying as my budget allowed – and often when it didn’t allow!
OUR CRISS-CROSS ANNIVERSARY TRIP 7 years ago for 12 days in 6 hotels meant 1 rolling bag each. At first feeling restricted, I felt a sense of freedom from my one bag. If traveling with less and living in hotel rooms brought relaxation, why on earth couldn’t this happen more at home and work? Seeing occasional one-bag stylish travelers – compared with pack mule workers hauling heavy, stuffed briefcases – convinced me of the old axiom that less is more.
SIMPLE DISCOVERIES kept bringing these Aha moments: a simple salad of arugula and walnuts dressed with just a simple glaze allowed me to actually taste each ingredient; a 5 minute stand-up meeting with a hotel manager brought a satisfactory solution to a problem; my workout pants doubled nicely one night for the black pants with the tear (and the added heels fooled anyone who cared). Spare pedestal sinks and open shelves in a French hotel looked so fine and elegant with no heavy cabinets below.
PACK A SIMPLE BAG became my travel mantra – but expanded to my whole life. If I could sustain this simplicity and have enough – and feel elegant with less – why have more?
RETURNING home, events around me echoed a similar sustainability message. Our environmentalist daughter participated in a student/citizen group to ban plastic bags in retail stores. She also initiated our now-vegan way of eating, which is simpler, tastier, and healthier. My coaching/training business defaulted to the bare minimum in learning points and process. At home, our book shelves seemed stuffed and smelled dusty. My closet looked messy and stuffed with too many discount pieces. I moved to sleek and spare for our kitchen renovation. And one night brushing my teeth to that annoying hum, I asked myself why I had a battery in my toothbrush! A battery in a toothbrush! Really? Why did we buy into all this excess?!
ENOUGH. I started questioning everything I purchased, packed, acquired – and cleaned! By the time our daughter was off to college, my husband and I moved with his job. While I gave away much of what I had spent years coveting, I found even more ways of prioritizing that helped me donate more after we moved.
NOW I FEEL SIMPLY FREE – with no trade-off. I need less, buy less, and usually can keep style and quality in the fewer finer things I acquire – a simple way of travel editing my life that I apply to decision-making in everything.
STREAMLINING as we grow is a graduation from stuff – sloughing off, like nature does – leaving time and space for what works and what counts. Growth now means a lighter step, better health, and greater giving. When you live lighter, then you’re really going somewhere!
THE LUXURY OF ENOUGH. What if simplicity is all you need?