What I'm about to tell you just now is something rather personal, but I am pretty sure that I am not the only one who suffers from it. This 'problem', as I address it today has often cost me too much; at airports, in taxis and on buses. There are times when I have to bear the 'weight' of this little syndrome all by myself! Phew!
It's called the 'Syndrome Of The Sentimental Backpacker'
Don't worry, it has got nothing to do with emotional outbursts when you leave home. Neither does it have to do anything with being too much in love with the places that you visit (that's a different story altogether!). Some of us who go through this phase of sentimental packing will relate to it. We start getting anxious and excited about traveling almost a week before the day we have to leave, and make a 'things to pack' list while we decide what we have to take.
This is what the fight's all about!
To draw a line between what you HAVE to take from what you WANT to take.
On all my vacations I am rather confused about what to pack. Because all my things are pretty much the same and on every trip, the same sweater, and the same pair of jeans are rolled up into the backpack because well; they have been to Ladakh with me every year. How can I leave them behind this time?!
It is all about literally being sentimental while packing!
Now do you get the flow? I don't want to leave behind my favourite sweater because that will be unfair to it; and what about my trekking shoes! I'm not going on a trek, but I need my trekking shoes since they look damn good and I've taken them to almost every place I have gone to. To clear all this confusion in your head is a real task. To some, it's the easiest thing to do; throw in all your clothes, pack and just leave! What's the big deal about it really?! But well, this is a big deal because you don't want to be seen in the same clothes from your last trip in all your pictures right?
I'll give you an example.
Each year I travel to Ladakh and I have a favourite candy striped sweater that I just can't leave behind. So I take it. In all my pictures at Pangong Tso, I am wearing the same sweater, invariably, because to travel light you keep only the things which are absolutely necessary and this candy striped sweater IS a necessity. It keeps me warm. On going through my pictures back at home, I realised that I really must not wear that sweater in Ladakh ever again. I have more sweaters, why not give them a chance!
A friend of mine once told me that he carries his 'red hoodie' every where he goes. It's a really really old hoodie but it is his favourite and it will break his heart if he ever leaves it behind. With me, it's not just about my sweater, but a whole bunch of stuff that I end up packing and that makes my bag so so heavy!
Time to travel light but how in the world is that even possible!
Let me come back to the point any how. We, a certain section of travelers, do not know how to travel light. Even though on most occasions traveling light is the best option since you have to carry that weight on your own, there is no car that is coming to pick you up or a bell boy to get your suitcase up to your room – you've got to do all the work by yourself!
Even after all these considerations are kept clearly in mind, my luggage is just a tad bit overweight! Once I'm off the train or the bus, that's when the thought pops up into my head... "I could have left those shoes behind."
It isn't all that bad though. You can call us 'Enthusiastic Wanderers' because that is a fact; we are enthusiastic!
As I begin packing for my next trip, I look at my backpack and see how this syndrome just got to me; once again. It's all such a mess and not a mess at the same time. But I hope that at the end of my little packing spree, I will be able to filter out all the junk that I love so much.
Let me inspire you to pack light – some advice from a hopeless backpacker (who not once has traveled light) but on a 'lighter' note, I hope this works for you at least.
1. Skip the stuff that is not required. Generic right? But seriously, dunk your trekking shoes back in the closet if it is not a trekking trip. Put in your crocs instead, they're always handy.
2. Take only one article that's more like your signature style. Like, I have a scarf that I carry everywhere I go (one of the many things that go everywhere with me) but this scarf is like a personal statement. I took this idea from the movie 'Confessions Of A Shopaholic' where the actress writes from the pen name 'The Girl With The Green Scarf'! And it works!
3. Ditch the extra travel diaries that you carry with you and end up stuffing back in your suitcase when you're heading out for a day trip. Carry a small handy diary/notepad instead that you can put easily in your sling bag or backpack and that doesn't make it heavy.
I think that's quite a lot of advice for today!
I pray that you, my lovely reader, if suffering from the 'Syndrome Of The Sentimental Backpacker' find humour in those frequent packing attempts and come out victorious unlike before, and realise that we are all in this together!
Love & peace!