travelling with kids :: more freedom through less choices

a couple of weeks ago i received an issue of the ever inspiring newsletter by the girls of crafting connections. in it danielle described how she travelled with her kids for 17 days, and how she loved the simplicity of just having with her what she packed for these 17 days. and it made her think about how she could cultivate that same simplicity upon returning back home.

that newsletter really resonated with me and i immediately hit "reply". as a family, we made that experience too, when we went on our trip to the states to visit my sister simona and travel around a little there.

we were gone for 9 weeks, of which we travelled for 3 weeks on a road trip with only 1 piece of luggage per person. yes, we did have extra bags for beach towels and an umbrella and a box full of snacks for the car ride.

but apart from that, for 21 days we all had just a bag each.

we would all choose from just a handful of outfits (favorites, i guess?) and wash on every stop.

the kids had a stuffed animal each, a card game, a few legos, and a small stack of books in their bag. and it worked. we read the same books over and over. and, well, lego is probably the most versatile toy ever, so that was no big deal!

i had a single knitting project with me and one journal (admittedly, i did bring my kindle so i had a choice of books).

it's funny that only after reading danielle's newsletter did it fully occur to me how wonderful that aspect of travelling was. how quickly we were able to pack up in order to drive to our next destination. how choosing what to wear was never an issue. how i loved everything i wore. how easy it was to find stuff. how i knew exactly how i would spend my mornings (knitting on that one project). how i did not miss anything.

i realized that it all boils down to a simple equation: less choices = more freedom!

i'm pretty sure that travelling light (as light as you can with two young children) helped us to concentrate so much more on the wonderfulness of that trip. the way i see it is that by minimizing the extra baggage, by travelling light and keeping things simple, we made room for adventure. we made space for what matters most while travelling. we not only freed our bags but also our minds to take it all in: watching birds, dolphins and aligators, looking for shells and shark teeth, savoring the sunsets at the ocean, singing at bonfires, hiking mysterious forests. the best moments are the simple moments!

what are your experiences with keeping it simple while travelling?

(if you enjoyed this blog post, you might like my post about conquering wanderlust with small-scale adventuring, too.)

{of course, i too ask myself how i can translate this simplicity of travelling light into our everyday lives. how less choices will create more freedom. i think this will have to be a whole new blog post though. i'm pretty good at decluttering and keeping clear spaces in our house. at the same time, especially when it comes to clothes and toys, i am sure i could enhance our feeling of freedom by having less choices on hand. it's a process...}


momto5 said...

i have pondered this myself. when we first moved to maine, we knew the rental was only temporary so we left a lot of stuff boxed up. i wonder why we ever unboxed it all when we moved two more times, because honestly no one missed the stuff. i try and do a semiannual purge of things. it is amazing how letting go of things frees up the play and the mind.

Tracey ~ Clover said...

My father was a career military man so I grew up traveling a lot, we moved 21 times by the time I was 18 so I learned at a young age to travel light. It is so easy to get caught up in thinking we 'need' things to make our days, our lives, better, but keeping it simple works for me. Oh, and the invention of the Kindle has been a Godsend, I love mine.

Becki said...

That is one of the wonderful things about traveling - that we get to experience life unburdened by so many things that normally surround us and weigh us down. Unfortunately, we don't often make the connection between "excess" and distraction/burden when we get back home. Great post. Thought provoking.

Danielle Quarmby said...

I love travelling light too - though I get caught with gift buying! Recently I decluttered my wardrobe, getting rid of half - so many things I loved but never used, or that were worn out. The old 80/20 rule, I tried to keep the 20% I use and not so much else. It feels great to have less, more headspace and more clarity :)
Still, we always have room for improvement at home, especially since I love books and paper, LOL.

karen said...

I try to travel light until I get to packing my knitting. when I went to nyc with my family I had one overnight bag, a purse and my knitting bag. I felt like I was "light". I could have packed lighter and I never touched the knitting!!

Andrea & Danielle : : Crafting Connections said...

Less choices = more freedom. I LOVE IT!!! We do often become convinced in our culture that more is, well, more. But it isn't. At least not always. Right now, post-travels, I'm focusing more on how I want to feel each day, less on the stuff. That has been a true revelation in life for me these past few weeks. If I focus on those feelings each morning, work towards cultivating them through the day, by the end of the day I feel full and rewarded! - Danielle

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