I have been traveling on and off for the past 10 years. My whole life belongings, including my bicycle fits in a small 3-doors car. I took that limit even further last year when BF and I embarked on a 6 months motorcycle journey from Guatemala to the US. We did it again this year, and all my stuff has to fit in a topcase. We also have two lateral panniers, one of which is filled with BF’s stuff and the other one with common stuff such as a tent, sleeping bags…
I have come to appreciate every single thing that I own. Moreover, I realize that I don’t need the 95% of my belongings that I left at my mother’s place 10 years ago, and are still in her basement in storage boxes.
Here is a small list of what I value most beside family and friends.
My body is an amazing creation, not a possession per se, but it deserves the first spot in that list. It has resisted a range of temperatures of over 150°F, been sleep-deprived, unwashed for days, my eyes have stared at the sun for too long… yet I’m still there and in great shape. One of my resolutions though is to take much better care of myself that I did in the past years, so that my body keeps being a good soldier for as long as possible.
I am always amazed by the human body. What it can do, bear, how you can push your limits to run a marathon, survive extreme conditions, and so on.
One thing about me is I have never lost a flight, and never lost my passport while traveling. At home, it stays somewhere in my bag, and has been known to disappear. Such a hassle to renew. My passport is precious and when I travel I check that I have it about twice a day. It gets me through borders, and once in a while, back home. Losing it while traveling would mean stopping the travels and going through hell to prove my identity and get a new one.
My credit card
Have you heard of “you can buy anything”, well, apart from health, and a new passport, it’s mostly true. When you travel, you don’t need to bring anything with you, you can pack light and buy more items should you need them. Prescription pills, tampons in a few countries, and quality socks for hiking and long walks are among the things you can’t find abroad or would have a hard time buying. For all the rest… My lovely credit card provides. I found a great deal with 0% fees on ATM withdrawals abroad. Hope I never lose it, though it’s been cloned once and I had to replace it!
It’s not just a computer. I’m not a geek, so I have a small Asus that I bought for under $400. But it’s a phone (to Skype family and friends), a journal (to blog), my office (I write travel articles), my TV, my living room (I interact socially with most of my friends on FB and email while traveling), my memory (use it to store pictures and document scans), my accounting book, and so much more. I back up every data onto a hard drive every months or so.
Another multi-use item that I value a great deal, even though it’s just a two-dollar cloth. I can use it as a scarf when it’s cold, as a hat to cover my head when it’s hot, as a cover when I enter churches or places where you need to cover your shoulders, as a robe when I shower in hostels, as a bedsheet when the hostel sheets are dirty, or I sleep in trains/boats/airports, as a beach towel, regular towel, as a skirt when I’m doing laundry, and so on. It has infinite uses!
Again, not a geek but I went for the Ipod touch recently, and while I don’t use it fully, I like to jot down ideas in notes on the go, check out exchange rates or calculate tips, get around with maps, listen to music on the bike, and check emails quickly instead of having to open my computer. I don’t like it for long writing though, so I still need my computer.