Tag Archives: life on the road

Life In A Backpack: An Exercise in Minimalist Living

100 Items or Less

When was the last time you considering the things you carried.

I’m not talking about emotions and the past, I’m talking about the objects in your life.

Even if you don’t carry them around with you everywhere you go (as I do) – you carry them with you in life.

Possessions weigh on you by attaching you to the world, to a place, to things.  The modern brand of Western consumerism driven by the cradle-to-grave philosophy encourages status by possession and not status by merit.  And when those possessions are no longer interesting it’s time to stuff them into corners and leave them forgotten.

Yet they are still there.  They weigh upon your freedom.

Examine the things you carry with you in life.

Are they necessary?  Do they contribute to your life in a meaningful way?  Are they just a way of showing status to others?

Cut the cords of attachment to possessions, reduce the clutter, and go on with a minimalist living.

My Minimalist Living Story:

Recently I re-considered the things I carry when my suitcase died.  I sought out a replacement and settled on the 22″ E-Motion 4.0 Trek Pack Plus.  It is quite a bit smaller than my old suitcase which forced me to minimize.

And so my 100 Item Challenge is underway.

My initial list was around 90 items.  I was already under 100 items – a surprising fact.

So, when I ended up in Maine for a week long respite from the world, I thinned down my travel gear once more and below is the final list.  Some of the items are listed as collections which made the challenge a little easier.

My final total: 77 items.

  • 4 Ties
  • 3 Scarves
  • 1 Belt
  • 1 Set of Suspenders
  • 1 Pair of Florsheim Dress Shoes
  • 1 Pair of White Leather Keds
  • 1 Hat
  • 1 White Linen Jacket
  • 2 Pairs of Dress Pants
  • 1 Pair of Jeans
  • 1 Pair of Shorts
  • 10 T-Shirts / Short Sleeve Shirts
  • 5 Dress Shirts / Long Sleeve Shirts
  • 2 Sweaters
  • 1 Black Pin-Stripe Vest
  • 1 Sweater Vest
  • 7 Pairs of Boxer Briefs
  • 7 Pairs of Socks
  • 1 Travel Towel
  • 1 External Hard Drive with Cable
  • 1 MacBook Pro with Cables, Extra Battery and Bluetooth Mouse
  • 1 iPhone 3G with Cable and vModo Duo Headphones
  • 1 Extra Internal Hard Drive
  • 1 LED Flashlight
  • 1 Wallet
  • 1 Washboard with Thimbles and Brushes
  • 1 Book Collection
  • 1 Pen Collection
  • 1 Journal
  • 1 Moleskin Pocket Reporters Notebook
  • 1 Pad of Graph Paper
  • 1 Pad of Yellow Notepaper
  • 2 Small Pilates Balls
  • 1 Set of Exercise Bands
  • 1 Bar Soap
  • 1 Shaving Kit (Merkur Safety Razor, Brush and Shave Soap)
  • 1 Stick Deodorant
  • 1 Bottle of Pain Relievers
  • 1 Toothbrush
  • 1 Container of Hel Gel
  • 1 Passport
  • 1 Thermos
  • 1 Victorinox 22″ E-Motion 4.0 Trek Pack Plus
  • 1 Chrome Metropolis Messenger Bag

What Do You Carry?

The Location Independent Survey

I’m happy to be participating in the Location Independent Survey put on jointly by Free Pursuits and Location Independent.

While I use the term Vagabond to describe my own life on the road, there are many terms for this lifestyle: digital nomad, location independent, work remotely, etc.

If you currently or aspire to vagabond, work remotely, or live the location independent lifestyle please complete this survey which is live today here.  This will help me provide you with better resources and information for creating the vagabond life.

In addition, please check out the rest of the participants in this survey.

WebWorkerDaily, Digital Nomads, Nomadness, Slacker Reform, Muselife, Mind the Beginner, Technomadia, Exile Lifestyle, Intrepid Lifestyle, Jet Set Citizen, Live Uncomfortably, Mine Your Resources, Thrilling Heroics, Most Likely to Die Alone and Vagabonding (and the hosts, Free Pursuits and Location Independent).

5 Months on the Road

Published initially on my travelogue Vagabond Cafe on April 29th, 2009.  Edited with notes in () for those who may not know me personally.

We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next, to find ourselves.

Pico Iyer

Carl & the AmperstandI have been on the road for over 5 months.  I’ve visited 14 cities in that time and will be revisiting a few more in the next month.

There is a lot to traveling and when it began I didn’t really know where it was going or where I was going.  Not just in an uncertain sense of what city I would visit next but where I was going in my life.  I wanted to lose myself.

I was just starting to deal with the loss of my best friend / girl friend from almost a year prior, I had a lot of emotional baggage tying me down to bad habits in life; with people, with money, with myself and my health.

In these five months I have built a blog on Lifestyle Design (you’re here) and started working on networking and writing for it seriously.  I have taken control of my finances and paid down a good chunk of credit card debt that I accumulated last year.  I have helped spread the love of dance and the passion for life that it has given me.  I have undertaken a serious learning project to create an online business within three months.  I have spent many great nights with friends, many days alone in cafes, many hours on planes, buses and trains.

Most importantly I remember going to bed one night after teaching in Cleveland, OH with Joanna (one of my teaching partners) and feeling supremely at peace.  It was definitely not like that not so long ago.

I woke up at some point about a year ago and I was exceptionally unhappy.  I was working long hours and making decent money, traveling to dance a lot on weekends, and neglecting the most important person who I shared my life with.  I was drinking too often.  I was running from my life.  I knew I needed to change things.

It’s almost been a year and change has come. (It will be one year in 1 week from now.)

I have changed and my world has changed.  I have found myself.

I am willing to take risks and dive into my days to make them meaningful to me.  I am finding a new joy in working, in teaching, in writing.  I want to share my passion for life as art, to create my life deliberately and reflectively.

I want to spread the art of living.  Through dance.  Through words.  Through friends.  Through sharing time.  Through sharing space.

Today I am alive.  Tomorrow I will be somewhere else but I’ll have a passion, a purpose, dreams and values that I hold to, that guide my decisions.