Tag Archives: minimalist living

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 Death of a Suitcase

Alas 6 months into my vagabonding trip my trusty Jaguar rolling garment bag has met it’s end.

It has seen over 19 cities and town in the U.S. in just the last 6 months not counting numerous layovers on buses, planes and trains. It has crossed the U.S. coast to coast 5 times logging around 20,000 miles of travel on top of intermittent use in prior years on various dance weekends.

While it has weathered the road well it just hasn’t stood the test of continuous abuse that long term travel puts on objects. I mean the bag is probably older than I am considering it was borrowed from my parents. The fabric is starting to tear and is worn in a number of places, zippers don’t close, and the final straw was the handle snapping my last night in New York City.

VictorinoxTrekPackPlus22 The Death of a SuitcaseSince then I’ve carried the 40+ pounds to Seattle and now down to San Francisco and it’s time for a new bag. I’ve settled on this bag by Victorinox. The 22″ E-Motion 4.0 Trek Pack Plus recommended by world travelers like Tim Ferriss for it’s durability, functionality and ability to be carried on planes. It can be wheeled around, converted into a backpack or split into a regular pack and a daypack.

Not only is this bag exceptional but it will force me to downsize more.

This is not only the death of a suitcase but the death of excess.

I will be moving from many items that I don’t necessarily need to only those things that are truly necessary.

I will be undertaking the 100 items challenge. The goal to cut down all of my possessions to 100 things or less if I’m not already there. If I’m already there I’ll let you know but I’m not certain I am.

If I were just a vagabond I think this would be easier. I would afford myself only the simplest of clothing but being a lindy hop instructor I do on occasion need a few items of formal wear. Add to that the three pairs of shoes I carry for dancing (Keds, Florsheim dress shoes, and tap shoes) and the weight of being a dance instructor adds up quickly.

So as both a birthday present to myself and from my parents I’m buying it. If you feel like chipping in I’ll do my best to visit you in my travels and if you want I’ll give you a half hour private lesson in Lindy Hop no charge except for your donation.

pixel The Death of a Suitcase