“Whoever wants to travel happy must travel light”Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
My best childhood memories are the city trips I used to do at weekends or the trips to the sea during the school holidays.
Since I was a child I have travelled (on foot, by car, by bus, by plane, by train) and since I was little I have known that in order to enjoy the journey I have to travel light! When I was a child, packing my backpack for a trip was super easy: my favorite doll, a book, some biscuits and that’s it! “Ready for adventure”. Of course, back then it was easy to leave all the stress to my mum and just concentrate on what was essential for me! On my happiness.
Then I started to travel alone and became an “expert” in travel preparation lists, which inevitably led me to travel “with excess baggage” so one day I decided to make a list of the things I took on my trips that I didn’t use and challenged myself not to include those items in my next trips, and little by little I relearned to travel with only what was “strictly necessary” for me. The consequence of this challenge was (to my surprise) that I also learned to recharge my batteries, to really resource myself on my travels by focusing only on what is necessary and what makes me happy, to enjoy my trips!
Obviously it often happens to me that I forget something, but now I know that this “forgetting” will lead me to live a unique experience: either because I will learn to live for a few days without the object I have forgotten (which in most cases is not as important as I thought) or because I will have to be recursive and open myself to another way of reacting/acting without the object in question.
So with the many “comings and goings” on my different trips I have learned that in order to have a happy and revitalizing trip I just have to keep in mind some basic tips. These “tips” apply to all types of travel (business, family, for leisure, …) and to all types of transport we use.
The first tip is to identify which items are the “strictly minimum necessary” in my life: i.e. clothes and hygiene products, for example.
The hairdryer is no longer part of these items, even though I think it is important in my everyday life! Before travelling I decide which items I could not spend a “good” day without and generally, if we are honest with ourselves, these items are only basic things: jeans/shorts, a t-shirt, comfortable shoes, a toothbrush and that’s all! So I start from that principle. Which would lead me to travel with a small, very small backpack. But as the idea is also to recharge batteries, to resource myself then I use a second tip.
That second tip is to carry at least two objects that allow me to feel good and happy (in my case it’s a book and my notebook) so I already have the two most important things: the minimum necessary and what makes me feel good and happy.
Then, being very honest, although I know that I have what I need, I start to create scenarios, and to tell myself, but if it suddenly happens that … (for example: it rains) I would need … (an umbrella) and it is at that moment that most people lose control and end up stressed and with excess baggage. To avoid falling into this temptation I use another tip.
The third tip is to be “practical” and think only about the things that will basically make my trip more pleasant, i.e. if I am going to travel to a place where the weather is hot, I will take my swimsuit instead of my umbrella. Always leaving me the opportunity to adapt to the situation that arrive in my trips.
I remember a trip we made in the North of France a few years ago, I knew that the weather was “special” so I decided not to take an umbrella, and that was one of the best decisions because with the windy rafts it would have been impossible to have an umbrella for more than 1 min. On that trip I discovered the rain poncho or “cahouet” as they say in French and I never laughed and enjoyed the wind as much as on that trip!
That’s when the last tip becomes the most important for me: Follow my instinct and live the experience of the present moment. Whenever I’m going to travel a few days before I let my instinct guide me, I take my suitcase out 3 or 4 days before and start by packing the “minimum strictly necessary” that will recharge my batteries and then I let my instinct guide me. If it is a work trip I visualize the things I will need, for example if I am going to give a lecture I see if I need an projector or if someone can lend it to me. The same if it is a trip with my family, I think about the things that could be “strictly necessary” for my daughters (for example coloring) and little by little I add what is really necessary according to the place and the type of trip.
In addition to these tips, I also have specific rituals that I put into practice before each trip:
- Saying goodbye to the house and leaving at home what I don’t need on my trip (daily stress, worries, … all the mental charges).
- Visualize myself fully enjoying my trip, I take a few minutes before my trip to think about the beautiful and positive things I can do and experience on my trip and I give myself the opportunity to make them come true.
- My dad used to have a slogan every time we went on a trip: “We will fix the burdens on the road and we will adapt” what he meant was that in our route we can leave aside what we don’t really need, whether it is immaterial (like stress, bad mood,) or material (clothes, objects we don’t need) and that has become one of my most important travel rituals: to leave on my trip the things that weigh me down, that don’t let me move forward easily.
I invite you to experience these travel tips and rituals and to adapt them to your own experiences. And I invite you to remember the importance of enjoying every moment of the road you are about to travel!