“Window shopping sucks when you have everything.” Maria remarked as you walked up and down main street in Bray. It was a few days before Christmas eve and you were there with Jane taking care of some last-minute gifts.
You agreed with her and just sort of did idle laps around main street before hitting up the drug store to get Maria some toothpaste for sensitive teeth. This was your Christmas gift to her, per her request. She got you a book.
This is your first Christmas abroad and you couldn’t imagine being in a better place. The people here are like family and there is always good food and good company. But there is something very compelling about celebrating Christmas after you have reduced your entire life to a backpack.
You came to Ireland with a 70 liter backpack. For the record that is huge, and when you bought it, it fit you a little bit better. However, you bought it in 2006 and you have since seriously shrunk out of it. Maria suggested that you check out Neil’s bag. It is much smaller (a 55+10 liter bag) and much better suited for your smaller frame. You managed to find the bag in one of the attic closets and she was right, it fit perfectly.
The only thing is that you filled your 70 liter bag on your way over here and now you had considerably less space to work with. Well that’s fine. You are well practiced in the art of letting go, but for fuck’s sake, again?! How many times does this need to happen? Perhaps it is an ongoing part of your journey.
Your new friend Levi had somewhat inspired you. Levi just turned 22 and has been traveling for many years. On top of that, he travels like you can’t imagine. It helps that he has the better part of 9 languages under his belt and he is a man, but still, you can’t help but be inspired by him a little bit.
Here is a dude who travels with 6 kilos on his back and his budget is 5 euro a day (yours is 7) Of course, when Levi’s couch surfing plans fall through, he heads to the nearest pub to pick up a girl and work his way into a bed for the night. Not exactly a protocol you can rely on. Therefore, you and Maria have a tent as a backup. You don’t think you travel with much excess, but the point is this guy made you feel like a princess. Bring it on, smaller backpack!
Now you had a sizable pile of things you are planning to leave in Ireland. Mostly clothing. The good news is that everything fit into the new pack. It was a little snug and didn’t leave much extra room to carry food, but this is what you have Maria for. Still your shit was around 15 kilos. You would prefer to travel with something like 12.
Now back to Christmas…
It was interesting not only not needing anything, but not want anything as well. Any “thing” you could obtain was just something you’d have to carry around with you. That is, unless it was consumable. This time, Christmas was entirely about spending time and food. You did buy a gift for the White Elephant exchange and from it you came away with a nice bottle of something and a deck of cards. More than you need, for sure.
It became very clear that traveling is 100% about people and your experiences. The less you have, the more you must rely on others to fill those spaces. When you drew the Materials card for the sweat lodge, its message was to have the attitude that if you expect the universe to be abundant, then you will experience abundance. Trust that you will always have everything you need.
Yes, on second thought, “lightening your load” definitely an ongoing part of the journey.