Since I took a break from my cycling trip in May 2016, I switched from carrying 4 pannier bags on my bike to 1 on my shoulder. My “home” downsized to 1/4 of its original size. My bike and most of my belongings were left in the Bulgarian mountain, at friends’ house. When I decided to declutter my stuff, it came to the question of “What do I really need to carry on my journey?”
I divided my belongings into 4 categories in order to prioritize what are most important.
The 4 categories are:
Clothes and hygienic items
For clothes I always bring the minimum because it is very easy to get second handed one in charity shops or from friends. Bring somethings that are suitable for all climate such as convertible trousers and jackets. Rainproof is necessary too. I normally do not shower everyday because of numerous reasons, but I love to put essential oils dissolved in coconut/almond/jojoba oil all over my body. Deordarant is chemical that irritates our skins and blocks sweat glands, I stopped using it years ago.
I have my toothbrush, dental floss and a shaver. When I am host by friends, I just use a little bit of their shower gels, shampoo and face wash so I do not have to carry them.
That is what I have:
1 jacket, 1 hoody, 3 shirts, 3 pants, 3 t-shirts, 3 underwears, 2 pairs of shoes and socks.
Electronics are the heaviest part of my belonging, mainly because of the laptop and accessories. I tried using a tablet before but it had limitations when I wanted to edit videos or photoshop. I also carry a small video camera, a camera, a GoPro and a smartphone, all of them contain separate second batteries. I have a 2TB harddisk to back up everything, but having a third or fourth back up is always a smart choice! You can use iCloud or Tencent Cloud, I like the latter as it has 10TB space (but the program is in Chinese, which is not too difficult to guess how does it work).
As a acupuncturist and masseur, I carry my clinic wherever I go. It always amazes me how I can fit all my tools in a small bag. Normally I have acupuncture needles, a cupping set, several massage oils and essential oils, electro-acupuncture machines, antiseptic alcohol and ear acupressure seeds. It allows me to provide freelance treatments to people I come across in different places. If you are reading this and want to pursue a nomadic lifestyle, make sure you can bring your professions with you. If you don’t have one yet, try to explore and start learning. No matter it is digital industry, medical, artistic performance, online teaching or consultant, the opportunities are out there. I even encourage a hairdresser to embark a journey to transform people’s hairstyle along the way. Try to create something that nobody had done it before, be the pioneer and do not afraid to fail, it is a lesson to learn after all.
If your hobbies are your professions, then you can skip this part. Having abandoned my artistic senses for more than a decade, my mind urges myself to start creating something, so I picked up my Chinese calligraphy and origami skills. I also started drawing and making Dreamcatcher. All these items do not take up much spaces. And I love to give people a DIY souvenir anyways.
That’s it. These are all the things I carry on my shoulder, and I am very happy about it. I can travel to anywhere cheaply, especially saving the check in luggage is a big deal! The less I have, the less worries that stay in my mind. And if one day I am going to lose them all, I think I will have the courage to accept it.
Think about what do we actually need in our lives. Greed is the biggest enemy in humanity, we keep wanting, craving and gathering a lot of “stuff” to create ourselves a comfort zone. However, what we want doesn’t equal to what we need. The one who are conscious of what the reality of this world is, will understand how to make better decision in their lives.