On the road to simplicity

travelWe just got back from a trip. Nothing beats travel for realizing how little you can get by with. A single suitcase for clothing and a backpack for “toys” are adequate for most adults (although all bets are off when it comes to a camping trip or traveling with young children and their gear). We pack essentials. Due to limitations, whether suitcase or trunk space or overhead bin, we pare our belongings. What will the weather be like at our destination? What variety of activities will we be participating in: formal events, sightseeing or beach combing? Are there things that will give me a sense of “home away from home”?

Afterwards, we get home and look around. Homecoming reveals days’ worth of accumulated mail. The chores left undone as we hurried out the door didn’t magically get completed while we were away. Work went on and now we are in catch-up mode. Incessant messages require answers and we have no excuses for ignoring them or postponing. The pause that refreshed morphs into frazzle mode with tasks compounded. Laundry, grocery shopping and resuming our normal schedule, It all seems too much and almost better to have skipped the vacation.

How much stuff do we really need? What things adds value and what is just clutter requiring storage, organization and that tricky part: retrieval? Are these items life-giving? Does this feed my spirit? With a burst of self-reflection spurred by the perspective and opportunity of visiting a new place, here are some suggestions for traveling lightly through life.

Have an attitude of gratitude for all that you have in your life. Some people would love to have our problem of too much.

Be aware. Make deliberate decisions about saving, spending and acquiring, perhaps with an emphasis on spending on relationships and experiences. Figure out what is enough.

Live within your means. Don’t spend more than you earn.

Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness.
Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery. –Charles Dickens

Buy what you what you need and can afford. Paying off debts opens up options. Revolving credit will leave your bank account dizzy. A borrower is beholden to the lender.  A good deal is not such a deal if you don’t have a use for an item. “Someday” is not the time frame for using it.

Don’t measure yourself by what others have or try to keep up with the fictional Jones’s. Compare to yourself and win.use it up

Make due. If you have an adequate roof over your head and a means for getting to places you need to go, do you need a new home or car?

Live lightly. It’s not just for traveling. Some day starts today.

© Joan S Grey, 10 Nov 2015

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