The table was set with soft cheese, caramel-like medjool dates, chips and crackers, my boyfriend’s homemade hummus, bits of fabric… a hot glue gun… chocolate and wine. Lots of wine.
Yes, it was Saturday crafts night at my place last weekend. A handful of girlfriends I know here in Sydney gathered to create something from nothing, and partake in a healthy dose of gossip and girl gab. Some were there more for the latter; I, on the other hand, am a crafter at heart.
While I wish it were my ability to turn a single t-shirt into one continuous ball of yarn, and transform that into the beginnings of a new floor rug, that turned their heads at crafts night, it was actually a little something different.
>> Feeling crafty? Make your own hooded sleep sack with this diy post.
In between sips of a spicy 2007 Shiraz, Teresa (for the sake of this post) mentioned how the 3 weeks spent in Europe last summer was the first time we had spent real time together.
Teresa: “Oh, you should have seen this girl’s luggage.”
With intrigue the other two at the table wanted to hear Teresa’s punchline.
Teresa: “Brooke rocked up… for 3 weeks in Europe… with a tiny little suitcase!”
Crafty Friend 2: “How tiny are we talking about?”
Teresa: Still in disbelief to this day: “A tiny little carry-on bag!”
And that, dear readers, is how I impressed my friends at crafts night – the size of my luggage when painting the world red. (Sadly, it wasn’t from my crafting skills.)
“Ok, ok. Look,” I chimed in. “I do run a packing website, so you know… no big deal.”
But to other people, it is a big deal. When I was rocking up in Germany with my little 25L Antler rolling suitcase, my friends were toting around suitcases that could harbor not one or two, but multiple, people inside (no joke). There’s a fear for many of being without everything they might need that results in traveling with giant suitcases and backpacks. Others just don’t know the possibilities that lie with packing smaller and lighter.
Teresa: “You know, I was actually quite impressed at how much fit in there. It seemed like you had plenty of options in that tiny little bag.”
True story. I explained to the group that I had dozens of outfit choices, and I even had room to buy an extra tank top, t-shirt and shorts when the weather decided to be above average heat-wise.
Me: “I highly recommend challenging yourself by downsizing your luggage. You’ll be surprised at how much you still manage to bring.”
Crafty Friend 2: “So I take it there was a lot of mixing and matching involved?”
Me: “Yes, definitely. Everything has to pretty much work with everything else. The same base color palette, as well.”
Teresa: “It also probably helped that it was summer.”
Me: “Yes and no. Even if it were winter, I wouldn’t have packed another pair of jeans, and I wouldn’t pack bulky sweaters. I’d bring my pair of jeans, maybe another pair of pants, and a pair of leggings – that can then be worn under my jeans/skirt/dress if cold. Everything has to be layerable, so if I’m freezing my butt off, I can put everything on, but if it’s a warmer day, I can wear the layers on their own.”
By this time we had moved on to a sixfootsix Pinot Noir – very tasty. Crafty friend number 3 was busy cutting an old cloth napkin into strips for her project. Crafty friend number 2 was there for the wine. We don’t judge.
Teresa: “My toiletries bag alone would be the size of your suitcase. Seriously.”
I nearly choked on a chip before remembering that she did bring a massive, I’m-moving-overseas-forever type of suitcase to Germany last summer.
For Teresa, the idea of traveling with only a carry-on bag alone seems like a fantasy. It is probably unattainable, at least for quite some time, for someone like herself. But, I started explaining that if she were to cut back on half the size of her toiletries, cut out a quarter of her clothes, drop 2-3 pairs of shoes and then some, she would have a much (much!) more manageable load.
And that would also be impressive.
At Her Packing List, we are all about packing better, whether that be going smaller and/or lighter. It doesn’t mean that you have to go as little as my carry-on bag. If you can go from a suitcase that holds 3 people down to 1, that is just as much an achievement as any.
The key is to look at every aspect of packing – the clothes, the toiletries, the shoes, the electronics – and make each of them better. By doing so your entire packing list will improve, the bags will get lighter, and you will travel happier.
Plus, you just might impress your friends with your own packing prowess.
P.S. You might enjoy these other posts: Ultralight Packing List: I Traveled for 3 Weeks with a 12L Handbag + My Versatile 16L Minimalist Packing List