I arrive in Penang after a less then relaxing 24 hour overnight train, where the restaurant compartment detached halfway through and there was no chance of getting anything to eat. With 2 ringits to my name, a kindly South African lady concerned that I’ll never make it from Butterworth to Georgetown, offers to pay my way across on the ferry.
I have not booked my hostel yet, but I have more desperate concerns. I am hot, sweaty, tired, broke and most of all hungry. I go off around the town in search for an ATM, and somewhere to grab a bite. Georgetown has a distinct lack of ATMs, especially when you compare it to cities like Bangkok where you can barely move without tripping over one, and it is almost half an hour before I am able to sit down, grab something to eat and clear my head.
Half an hour in the heat, carrying all of my luggage. Luckily, that only weighs around 9kg.
Now I am not gloating, but not being burdened by my bags meant that I could keep a cool and clear head as I walked around town, that I wouldn’t be distracted by people offering high price for a night, just to get the weight off me. I remember walking around Sydney for an hour desperately looking for the right bus stop and just slamming my 70L to the floor and sitting on top of it in the street exhausted, not giving a damn about what anyone thinks.
Personally, I think that 5 is too many tops, my Nintendo DS which I have yet to use has been completely superfluous, a whole bog roll was a little much and although I have used my sleeping bag a number of times on this trip, I know that on others, it would be rendered quite useless. Even as I watch a heavy thunderstorm break out over Kuala Lumpur, I have only used my raincoat once, best after all not to be out in the storm if unnecessary.
I am not claiming I am the best packer in the world. But there are days when, I can happily lay all my things out right next to my bed, when I can quickly get to the item I desire, when I can pack up everything I own in about 30 seconds, that I am glad that I did not pack all that much.
That is not to mention the luxuries of being able to keep my entire luggage as carry on, when I can take my bag on the bus with me (away from prying fingers). I am always glad that my backpack never leaves my side. In fact I am always looking for things to throw away, things I’m not using, and I am constantly losing or breaking things (in 3 weeks my phone, leggings, sunglasses, hairbrush, headphones, pair of pants, padlock and most annoyingly my Japanese Residency card.) and I don’t know how I would cope with more.
>> Click here if you’re still wondering how much you can fit in a 40L backpack.
I am here to start a revolution. Buy a small backpack today and see about the choices you make. See that you can live with less. As for me? I must admit to eyeing up the Eurohike Pathfinder 25L. After all, carrying less is an addiction.