I am now a minimalist traveler


We made it back in one piece! After a soul-nourishing and relaxing week in Michigan, our flight back to Seattle was mysteriously canceled so we had to scramble to Chicago via rental car to make our connecting flight because all the airlines were booked solid (or so I was told). We cut it super close, but cruised through Illinois toll booths, security checks and grumpy child syndrome with surprising ease. Actually, the grumpy child syndrome was non-existent because K was a champ. She hardly complained and tolerated the almost 5 hours it took from Traverse City to Chicago, and then happily watched her movie on the flight.

What made everything so much easier is that contrary to my natural tendencies, I packed significantly less than I normally do. I’ve mentioned before that I’m the type of person that will boldly toss in a rice cooker and electric kettle to go camping — I don’t believe there is such a thing as overpacking or over-preparation. M and K are light travelers to begin with, so I’ve always been the one to weigh us down.

However, just for kicks, I did my very best to edit down my travel gear this time. I forced myself to limit my baggage to two very small carry-ons for a six-day trip: one for clothes, the other for tools (i.e. laptop, camera, watercolor supplies, etc.). I’m proud to report that I was successful. In fact, this trip taught me that I could have easily cut down on the clothes because I deludedly thought I would be running along the lake on a daily basis and included many pairs of yoga pants and a slew of tank tops that never saw the light of day. I ran once. Okay, I jogged for 10 minutes once and walked for about a mile. Mostly, I slept and read and ate a shocking number of burgers and ham sandwiches. It was heaven.

For future reference, I thought I would record what I actually took on the trip and what I could have done away with. I guess the extra stuff didn’t take up that much room, so it was okay that I had included them and who knows? Had circumstances been different, I might have needed them. All I know is that instead of frantically sewing something for the trip to impress relatives that I see only once a year (which is what I usually do), I selected items from what I already had on hand. Preparations were way, way, way less stressful. Did anyone notice or comment that my wardrobe was very limited? Not that I know of. Would I have cared if anyone did? No.


Anyway, here’s what I wore (link provided for handmades):

I could have managed without the following, but they were good to have on hand:

  • Black Simplicity top
  • Extra tank tops (5 didn’t get worn)
  • Extra yoga pants (1 would have been sufficient)
  • Swimsuit

Normally I swim, but there was a widespread case of the “ick” (a parasite spread through duck feces – I have no idea what the proper name is, but everyone calls it the ick) near the dock and in parts of the lake so I opted not to touch the water at all. Luckily, K wasn’t affected and M only got a tiny bit that went away in a day.

All in all, it was a lovely trip. Next year, I’m going to go even more minimal!

P.S. The winner of the giveaway is Meris, congrats!

8 thoughts on “I am now a minimalist traveler

  1. So, so glad your week was restorative and full of memory making with yummy food and family time! Your exercise intentions pretty much sound like mine while on vacation: the best laid plans, and all that:) Reading or eating typically sound so much better.
    Such a bummer about the 5 hr car trip to Chicago, though that did bring you through more of the Midwest than you were planning on seeing:) And kudos to K for being such a trooper – makes all the difference in the world for the parents!
    And I have to say that I”m impressed by your diverse vacation wardrobe, even with packing lightly. Love all the lovely handmades!

    1. Our vacation WAS very restorative. I got a glimpse of Grand Rapids from the highway and it looked charming with all the brick buildings — maybe that was downtown? This was by far the least amount I’ve packed (I’ve been known to take 6 pairs of shoes for 6 days!!) and I have to say, it was awesome to travel so light! Thanks, Lucinda!

  2. I’m drooling over your watercolor wardrobe! Those tiny shoes.. love them. Personally, I prefer to pack fewer clothes because getting dressed becomes so much easier for me. When I think about it I feel even better about my wardrobe living out of a suitcase than at home.. weird. Note to self: Must change something. Or organize. Now, I just have one more look at your watercolored travel wardrobe and put the phone away for today!

    1. I love the tiny shoes too :-). I totally agree that it’s actually liberating having less clothes to choose from. Less decision fatigue, probably! Thank you, Christiane!

  3. Thanks for sharing – we all need to pack less stuff! You are right, a good vacation/holiday is restorative. I returned from my holiday to Norway (did a photo blog post) last week – looking at the beautiful scenery was so therapeutic/healing.

    1. Oh Norway!! I went when I was a wee thing (my parents were huge on traveling) and so want to go back. I hope you had a fabulous trip, Caroline!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *