5 Lessons I Learned from Living out of a Backpack

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What were you doing on April 17, 2014? To most people an answer of, “HMMMM… I don’t remember” would probably seem like a fairly appropriate response.  Not for me. On April 17, 2014 I put my life in a backpack and boarded a plane to London. Having dreamed of long term international travel for years, I was FINALLY taking that first flight to make that dream come true.
One two occasions I packed my life into a small SUV to move cross country from Philadelphia to California (and back 3.5 years later) – but putting my life into a 40 liter backpack?? That is on a whole other level of simplicity! Instead of testing out and experimenting with what would fit into the bag, I waited til the day of my departure to pack the thing. It was like I was on the show Survivor and my pieces of clothing and toiletries were the contestants. Who would get voted off my island of a backpack?
The end result of my packing adventures were some basic clothing, some toiletries, a refillable water bottle, and my trusty lap top.
Fast forward four months to today and I must say living out of a backpack isn’t too bad. It’s actually quite peaceful.
Here are 5  lessons I learned from living out of a backpack.
1. The sexiest outfit you can wear is your happiness. With minimal clothing choices I find myself wearing the same outfit over and over and OVER again. It makes getting dressed super efficient and effortless. Gone are the days of standing in front of my packed closet claiming I have “nothing to wear”! Less time getting dressed means more time to explore, laugh, and smile.
2. Your daily beauty products should fit in the palm of your hand. Here are my daily essentials: mascara, black liquid eye liner, eye lash curler, and colorful lip gloss. I also packed a small tub of vaseline (great for moisturizer, taming crazy hair, lip gloss), blush/bronzer, and shades of brown eye shadows. Getting ready takes me all of five minutes now! Less time getting ready means more time to relax, read, or talk to people.
3. Your ability to appreciate “the small things” will be majorly amplified. I’ve always considered myself a pretty grateful person. I would celebrate snagging a prime parking spot in town or finding my favorite food on sale in the market. However, now that I have limited “things” in my possession, nearly everything seems like a special treat. The first time I blow dried my hair after nearly two months I felt like a super model! Taking things for granted just isn’t an option when you live out of a backpack.
4. Painting your nails is pretty epic in making you feel glam. This could just be a quirk of mine but there is something about having my finger and toe nails painted that makes me feel put together. I packed one bottle of red polish and have only gone a few days since I started traveling without having my nails painted. Need a quick little beauty pick me up? Paint your nails. Trust me on this one.
5. A refillable water bottle is a necessity no matter WHERE you are. It’s healthy. It’s economical. It’s environmentally friendly. It’s essential to feeling vibrantly alive! Feeling tired and weak? You could be dehydrated! Water is essential in keeping your body functioning at its best. By keeping a refillable water bottle at your side you can be sure that you are drinking enough throughout the day. For a on-the-go traveler like myself, it’s the cheapest and most reliable method of staying hydrated!
Not ready to put your life into a backpack yet? No problem. When I was living in an apartment surrounded by loads of my “things”, I challenged myself to simplify my life. Start with your closet, your beauty cabinet, or your bookcase. Knowing that I was eventually going to travel the world helped me evaluate if I truly needed those four extra full body sprays I bought on sale. The answer was I didn’t need them at all. Instead, I boxed up what was usable and donated it to the local women’s shelter.
What do you have lurking around the house or in your life that could better serve someone else? Not only will you be clearing the clutter around you, but also opening yourself up to a happier and healthier life!
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