“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” – Leonardo da Vinci
“Gimme the key to your car and i’ll go get the luggage to your room.”
“It’s alright, I don’t have any.”
It was the first of seven similar conversations I had with hotel-reception staff in a week-long trip to beautiful Romania. With some of them confused and some of them shocked, I managed to survive a week-long journey with absolutely no bags, accomplishing a mission I had obsessively set for myself long ago. (Related: Minimalist Travel Packing List)
A very good friend of mine wanted for a long time to partner with me for a short trip. “Regev!” he called me – “Did you see the european cup draw? Maccabi Haifa plays against some Romanian team.” In fact, we planned on visiting Romania long before the draw but that provided a good excuse to choose Romania for this particular trip and not in a future one.
(Persuasion Lesson for Business: Include a time-constrained bonus in your sales copy)
Even though I dislike Maccabi Haifa, I thought that was a good opportunity to challenge myself to the most peculiarly freeing challenge a traveler can have: try to pack all your stuff inside the pockets of your pants. No bags. No backpacks. No ugly bulky vests.
Introducing NBT: No-Bags-Travel
The concept of traveling lightly, packing all travel gear in the pockets of your pants. You may also call it ‘No-Baggage-Travel’, ‘No-Luggage-Travel’ or even ‘Pocket-Traveling’.
The Gear I Took:
As some of you know, Merino Wool is my favorite fabric in the world. It wicks sweat away when hot, regulates body temperature effectively when cold, and.. NEVER STINKS. I picked an Icebreaker tank-top over a shirt because 1) it’s sexier b) when the shirt does smell (after a long while) – it’s usually only in the armpits.
Full of pockets and lightweight. Mine was actually a convertible but I left the long ‘sleeves’ back home so I practically went with shorts.
Found those inexpensive boxers on Amazon and ordered them. Never tried Minus33 gear before but they’re great. Quite cheap and never stinks as well, I guess merino wool is merino wool, after all.
It’s a good smartphone with a huge battery life.
- $1 Flip-flops
Leftovers from my last trip to the Philippines.
- Baking Soda, Toothpaste, Toothbrush
Used the baking soda as a deodorant and it works great. My armpits never smelled. Broke the toothbrush’s stick in half so that it fits the small pen-pocket in my travel pants.
Lessons From the Trip:
First, less IS more. I felt very free, like my mind was clean of worries. It’s a wonderful state of mind to be living in.
Second, take two underwears. I took only one and washed it every night, but I sometimes had to wear it a bit wet if there was no sun to dry if off, though it’s not nearly as bad as cotton (wool dries very quick when exposed to your body temp). Also, sometimes we went off partying and woke up early in the morning so I had no time to wash them. For that, I used our famous Israeli-Army-Trick – flip the undies over (upside down or sideways – that gives you four days of ‘clean’ wear).
Third, forget about it if you’re traveling long-term as an author or some sort of a producing persona that needs his or her laptop. The smartphone just isn’t enough for producing anything serious. You’ll still need your Mac.
Four, EASTERN EUROPE IS COOOOOOOLD. Don’t know what I’ve been thinking to myself. It was August and I think the 32°C (90°F) back in Israel left their mental mark. “Couldn’t be too cold there ,c’mon’ I thought. But it was COLD – so I got rid of my flip flops and bought some Made-In-Italy flat-soled leather moccasins (great shoes for barefoot walking) and got myself a nice jeans and a rain jacket. I was still bag-less though.
The no-bags travel form is certainly doable, but not if you’re a long-term writer/photographer who needs the laptop for productivity (you can still do it though, just wear a vest that can accommodate it, but c’mon– a vest is just like a bag).
And if you’re going to a cold climate – take some long pants and some other winter merino wool equipment as needed. (gloves/socks/hoodie/sweater/whatever). When you use merino wool, you really need just one piece of each (it never stinks) – so you can still do it bagless, even in winter.
It’s a beautiful form of travel, free of constant worries and full of lightness and adventurousness. Mold it to your needs and you shall experience life in its purest form.
Pics taken by my Xperia ZR
“Simplicity, clarity, singleness: these are the attributes that give our lives power and vividness and joy.” – Richard Halloway