As we start a new year and the Christmas festivities come to an end, we tidy away the tree and lights, store them back in the loft and throw away all of the cards that hung from the walls. We get a new sense of excitement as we begin to think about the next high light of the year…the Summer holidays!
Have you ever travelled abroad? Well even if you haven’t I’m sure you can imagine the hustle and bustle that it brings, can’t you?
First there is the process of deciding where in the world you would like to go. If you have a partner or a family this becomes a huge task as you then have to consider the needs, preferences and requirements of the other people in your party. If you are travelling alone, then you still have to consider a route that is safe, direct and as convenient as possible.
Once you have decided where you want to go. The second stage is planning the best way to get there. This is two fold as the journey has to be both affordable and as direct as possible. You have to consider how long you wish to stay and if your finances can stretch to cover all of your needs eg travel, accommodation, food and maybe even the odd luxury of a day trip or excursion. This budgeting of your travels has to be done very carefully as the last thing you want is to run out of money because of an oversight or overspend. This is also a good time to ensure you have adequate insurance to cover you in case of any unforeseen accidents or emergencies.
Even thought this is all a great analogy for starting a business or similar project, I have yet to discuss the actual purpose of this blog.
What I want to discuss it travelling light!
When you have considered all of the above and are finally ready to go, you have to decide what to take with you. The things you will need, the things you might need and even, if you are like me, the things you won’t need but you take them just in case you do need them at a later time!
You then get to the airport and you are their humping around a whole host of things that you now think “Why on earth did I pack so much stuff?” Especially when you look around at your fellow travellers and they are breezing through the airport with a handbag and a hold all. This is very much how some people start their new year. They pack their lives with stuff from the past that they think they will need, might need and even don’t need at all, but they pack it just in case they might need it later on.
They even pack stuff that isn’t theirs. Stuff that belongs to their fellow travels. Or worse still they carry the baggage of others for them. As well as their own.
But the secret here is not to carry the baggage of others for them, more over, it is better to help them by showing them the best way to carry their own baggage or indeed to not carry so much stuff around with them in the first place. Show them how to travel light.
I used to be that person who humped everybody else’s stuff around the airport. I was the one who packed everything and extra just in case I needed it later. I used to be the one who arrived hot and sweaty and stressed out, while everyone else was light and excited and full of energy ready to start the holiday as soon as we landed, while I was the one who needed to sleep for 24 hours to recharge my batteries. But after many years, I’m not like this any more!
Now I have learned to travel light. I travel with the bare minimum. I know where I am going, food will be there. I know where I am going entertainment, will be there. I know where I am going extra clothes can be purchased and first aid supplies will be there. I travel in faith, not in fear. I travel with excitement and not with stress.
I have also taught my family to do the same. Even my five year old daughter has to decide for herself exactly what she can carry and what she needs to leave behind. I watch her struggle with her decision making and I can see she is torn between which favourite toy to bring or which favourite bedtime story should come along. But even at five years old, she is able to do it. I’m not sure what decision making process she uses it might even be a simple matter of “Eenie, meenie, minie, mo…” but it works because she whittles it right down to her absolute favourites and she packs only what she is personally able to carry.
As we begin our travels she gets tired and asks that I carry her backpack for her but I tell her that she must carry her own load. We can stop and rest and have frequent ‘pit stops’ but her load is hers to carry. She explores various ways of carry her stuff even wearing her teddy up high on her shoulders. She looks so cute. But even teddy is only used for a bedtime cuddle when we arrive at our destination, as she is too busy during the day time to remember it.
And so as you enter this new year, take the time to do the following: