Travelling with too much stuff? Time to downsize!

45 litre versus 80 litre. Downsize to happy times.

Back in August 2011, I waved my family and friends goodbye and set off under the weight of an 80 litre backpack. Trying to decide what to leave behind was as difficult as deciding what to bring. I wanted to also save some space for any lovely things that I may buy along my way. Oh, how things change!

Seven months in and I’ve given things away, left stuff in hostels, lost a few pairs of socks and a top that I thought I loved, and bought very little.

And then, during my month-long stay-put in Australia, I decided to downsize. It was a challenge, one that I was excited about. I’d seen backpackers along my way travelling with very little and it was time to stop being envious and start being inspired.

Now I’m down to a 45 litre bag. It’s pretty stuffed right now (I’m still trying to figure out what else I can do without). If I want to add anything to my travel mix, something will need to go to make space. Feels less cluttered. Feels good.

I don’t need to buy stuff, I don’t need to get attached to pieces of cloth, I don’t need to lug around a pharmacy on my back. I’ve got enough. Right now I just want experiences. Not things.


Filed under random, solo travel, travel

15 responses to “Travelling with too much stuff? Time to downsize!

  1. We definitely need to learn to travel light? Any suggestions for a family who love to eat, shop and has two kids in tow?

    Look forward to more…

    • Oh my! – it’s a different ballgame when you’ve got kids in tow! Have you thought of sending things home that you buy along the way? – means that you don’t have to lug it around with you wherever you go and your lovely things will be awaiting your return.

  2. Ollie

    I know I’m a bit of a geek. But what DO you have in it to live off 45 litres of space? I’m intrigued, to know what went, and what is left? 🙂

  3. eromi

    I’m curious about what kinds of things you decided were “must have” and what you were willing to get rid of? Seems like you got rid of almost half the weight of your bag – that’s a lot of stuff to do with out!

    • Hmmm… trying to remember now. You’re right, it does seem a big change! I offloaded a big, cosy cardigan I bought in Quito, Ecuador – wonderful but difficult to pack down. Switched up bootleg jeans for skinny leg ones (less fabric – many people say not to travel with jeans but I like having them). Got rid of unneccesary toiletries and things from my first aid kit – just have the basics now. Bought smaller PJs, kept just the one bikini (every little counts, and actually left my second bikini behind accidentally), left heavier shorts behind in favour of lighter materials… And! I think having roll-down compression bags works a treat too.

  4. Boy am I in need of doing the same, but just can’t bring myself to do it before I reach Australia in fear that I will need the stuff I’ve left. And getting attached to certain items is dangerous too, I find myself lugging tops around that may only come out of the bag once a month, but because I love them I can’t part with them, dammit.
    I am very impressed with your major downsizing; I have definitely felt that same envy of lightly-packed travellers and always think I would be so much more mobile and carefree with less.
    Now to be inspired too…well not just yet, I’m not quite ready, what a cop out!

    • By the time you hit the six month mark you’ll probably have had enough of a big bag! But if you’re based somewhere in Oz for a while, it will be nice to have some more of your stuff. That’s what I thought anyways and I did miss some stuff (but there’s always op shops secondhand clothes, often that other travellers have left behind!).

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