often when we are preparing for long term travel, we consider how much stuff to bring along. ideally, if you plan on doing a lot of walking and don’t have intentions of staying in hotels consistently or renting cars, you would want to keep your bag(s) light and easy to carry; ensuring that you will not be burdened by your pack to make unwanted stops or spend more than desired in order to accommodate your luggage.
bring the past, but only if you build from it..
however, travelling lightly applies to the mental as well as the physical. just as one would be yoked with heavy luggage on a long journey, memories or a painful past would weigh down your experience and ability to learn from the people on your path. carrying around feelings of guilt or loss or abandonment will be a dirty filter through which your entire journey is seen.
even after nearly five years of consistent travelling, this concept is still slightly out of reach for me. with each flight i’ve taken away from the place of my birth, however, i have let go. sometimes just articles of clothing [that shirt from high school was sentimental, but not practical], backup toiletry items i thought i couldn’t live without [guess what? most countries sell toothpaste, razors and deoderant] or a pair of trainers [because, really, i won’t be running anywhere anytime soon]. other times i released feelings of guilt for leaving loved ones behind, shame for not being as successful as my counterparts or severed unhealthy attachments to former lovers.
and you know what? each time i’ve let go – whether the toothpaste or the shame – i’ve felt lighter when i landed, ready to explore the path ahead of me. a lighter pack on my back and a clearer mind ready to learn.
because, let’s face it, keeping hold too tight on memories or a painful past takes up a lot of space…and aren’t we meant to be learning from the many people we get to meet throughout our journey?