May 302012

I don’t know.  When I travel I like to drag as little crap along with me as I possibly need.  It depends on the nature of the trip of course, where and for how long I will be traveling, but I still like to travel as light as practicable.  Judging from what I observed on this last trip I am bucking the trend.  It’s amazing how much stuff people will insist on bringing with them when they leave the comforts of home and travel to far and distant lands.  Suitcases, roller bags, backpacks, laptop bags, shopping bags, purses, you wonder what if anything there was that they left behind.   Yet there they are, dragging and rolling all that shit across the terminals from one flight to the next, huffing, puffing, sweating, and swearing.  No wonder people hate to travel.  They make it a miserable experience by being so damn dependent on having so much stuff with them at all times.

I still can’t figger it all out.  According to the repeated signs and warnings, you are only allowed to board an aircraft with ONE (as in single) carry on bag and a small bag like a purse or laptop bag.  Anything else is checked baggage and goes into the hold below.  So how these people manage to get on with two, three, or four bags plus all their other accoutrements is beyond me.  They drag on shopping bags full of souvenirs, food, toys, and who knows what else and nobody says a thing.  Are we that codependent on our possessions that we can’t bear to go anyplace without bringing as much as we possibly can?  Are we afraid that Disney World may not have any place to buy cosmetics or grandma lives to far away from the nearest Wally mart?

One of the biggest drawbacks to hauling so much crap around is it delays the boarding and unboarding of a flight.  One of the worst parts of flying.  Once you get on and get to your seat all you want is for them to shut the doors, crank up the props, and get airborne.  But no.  You sit and wait, listening to the muzak version of Guns n Roses over the aircraft intercom as people drag bag after bag after bag onto the plane and then try to find someplace to stuff it.  Then when you finally land and stop at the terminal, all you want to do is get the hell off, find the nearest bathroom, and make your way across twenty miles of terminals to your next connection, but again, another interminable wait as people try to find all their bags and drag them back off the plane again.

Personally I rarely take any luggage on this particular trip I just came from.  I make this flight once or twice a year and because of that I keep a separate wardrobe up north with relatives so I don’t have to drag anything along.  They have other things like towels and stuff and I know I can always go out and buy anything I may need in a pinch, but that is rare.  This particular trip was an exception at least on the return flight.  I decided to bring some of my shirts and shorts from up north back with me.  A relative gave me a nice small bag to put everything in so rather than ship it down by UPS I decided to throw caution to the wind and carry it along.  It’s the first time in a very long time that I actually carried any luggage of any kind on a flight so I had to remember to not walk away and leave it anyplace like on a plane or in a terminal lest the security forces went into a panic over an abandoned bag and shut down the airport.

When I do travel I love to keep it as light as possible in the luggage dept.  The less I have to drag along the better.  That way, if I happen to lose said luggage, I’m not out that much, and I can replace it easily.  And sure, I understand that it’s different for a lot people.  Traveling abroad for an extended period of time, or on a business trip where a variety of clothes are a necessity means carrying more luggage.  That’s to be expected.  But you can see with some people that is not the case.  They simply cannot function with a separate outfit for every occasion or imagined scenario of their trip.  Like a security blanket, they have to have certain amounts of possessions with them when they leave home otherwise they can’t survive in the wilds of another city or town.

I look at any trip I take as an adventure.  Even the boring same old trip back to visit family.  I approach it with the anticipation that maybe something exciting or different may happen…good or bad.  Perhaps flights may be cancelled and I would find myself on a bus or train.  Maybe an unexpected opportunity would divert me to another place.  It rarely if ever happens but that is the way I look at any trip I go on.  It’s not so much the destination as it is the journey.  So, I like to keep things light and portable.  I’d be sorely disappointed if I missed out on some adventure simply because I was dragging along too much luggage.  I feel sorry for those who find it is necessary to drag along more stuff than they ever will use on trip.  They are missing out on the adventures that traveling can offer.  Despite the crowded airports, the overbearing security, the costs, traveling is still one of the last great experiences a person can have.  Why ruin it by the need to drag all your worldly goods along with you.

To me, the ideal trip would be very simple.  Standing at the gate, the terminal, the bus station, or the train station, a small messenger bag containing a few clothes, a towel of course, and my trusty laptop slung over my shoulder, and an unlimited travel pass, with no particular destination in mind, and no fixed time to get there.

Capt. Fritter

You haven’t truly lived until you’ve heard the muzak version of Sweet Child O’ Mine.

  4 Responses to “The lost art of traveling light…”

  1. whew! i won’t need to take a trip now.
    i feel like i just did!! laughing here.
    but everything you said is true.
    a mass of humanity of the move with all its stuff!
    there’s a bus line in india called the olivea.
    it is unbelievably beautiful. like air travel was
    in its beginning stages. you might check it out.
    i’d be curious to see what you think.

    • Fancy, but a tad bit over the top for my tastes. Remember you are following someone who once rode a motorcycle across the country… And enjoyed the hell out of it.

      C. F.

  2. how soon they forget. a little soft leather turns their head everytime.
    bring on the bike and the fresh air!

  3. I hate checking baggage. I once took a weekend flight from Minneapolis to Denver and back with a bag not even half the size of a typical messenger bag. It was a weekend, for Pete’s sake! What did I need with more than a change of shirts because I tend to dribble and a toothbrush? I was going to my Mom’s so I was pretty sure she’d have deodorant but I wanted my own toothbrush. 🙂