I recently spent a few days at a company retreat. I always try to travel as light as I can, in fact I make usually make it a point of personal pride to be as lightly loaded as I can. I don’t know what happened. I didn’t take a lot of things with me, or at least that’s how I felt. Just a few clothes and toiletries and my laptop and some work documents.
I divided my things between my Timbuk2 messenger bag and a small backpack which made me feel like a pack mule. The straps cut across each other and it was quite uncomfortable. The backpack had my clothes and toiletries and the timbuk2 held the laptop and documents.
To add insult to injury one of my colleagues was travelling extremely lightly. He had just a small backpack, and I guess it was under 12 pounds in weight. He told me he had traveled for up to a month with that same amount of luggage.
“Of course, you have to do laundry.” was his only comment.
I confess that I have let myself slip a bit regarding my travelling light despite my constant interest in the subject. I’m an avid reader of Doug Dyment and the feeds for OBOW and Travelite.org gets read first in my Google Reader.
I even own the famous Red Oxx Air Boss. A fantastic bag by all means, but it’s not my idea of fun to carry 10 kg (22 pounds) during a five hour wait at Heathrow.
I am happiest travelling without having to carry anything. No bags at all. Unfortunately I need a little more than a toothbrush to feel fresh when travelling which means I need some clothes and toiletries.
This has made me develop my own style of light travelling which I dub “Diablo-St yle”.
The inspiration comes from the Blizzard game Diablo II but I thought it sounds better with just Diablo-Style.
In Diablo II you as the player have a small chest in which you can keep your things. The chest stays in the different villages you use as basecamps throughout the game. You always come back to these places to repair items or buy some more potions.
I realized this is not that different to how I act when travelling. I have my basecamp (hotelroom) from which I go out on adventures. This works for me because of the way I travel. I have never been a backpacker, but should I choose that style of travelling I would probably not use the DiabloStyle.
My solution is to have a small carryon-sized bag small enough to bring on the plane if that would be the best choice and sturdy enough to be checked in. This means I can effectively trust my bag to the airline instead of carrying it through the airport and worry about it at every turn. I know some people won’t agree with me here, but strangely enough, I find that I am more at peace when I don’t have to be responsible for my bag. Besides, I never pack anything in there that cannot be replaced. That would be stupid. If my bag should be misrouted or stolen or whatever I can use the BIT method of travel as described by Tim Ferriss.
Note that the key to my method is to have a choice, not to haul a lot of stuff. My bag need to be sturdy enough to survive the not so gentle treatment of airline personel.
Choices. To have a choice whether or not to check my bag. Yummy!