The final detail…
Today has been a day of analysing the minutiae….of making six weeks of personal needs fit into one 23 litre saddlebag and a small handlebar bag, with a small tent pack strapped on the back. I love this kind of challenge.
Every item, and the size and weight of every item, has been studied. There is no room for carelessly packed ‘just-in-case’ things. Everything must have a purpose, be known to be useful and, if possible, be multi-purpose. Some may feel deprived going without some habitual luxuries, or they can’t imagine life on the road without an iPod, a laptop, a soft pillow or a fluffy towel.
For me, not having these things is a form of liberation. A ‘disconnect’ takes place where I find life on the road becomes much simpler: carrying less weight up the hills, packing the bike and luggage for flights, the daily organisation of packing and unpacking when you are camping, fitting my luggage into my one-person tent at night……..and the list goes on and on.
But I have to confess that this strategy can carry some risks. I always feel that I am prepared for most emergencies, but not all, of course. Our level of risk-aversion will frequently dictate how comfortable we feel about leaving things behind. But when asked (as I frequently am) how I can manage for so long with under 10 kilos of luggage (including camping equipment), I usually answer with a quip: “It’s easy really…..I just leave things at home!”
And it is as easy as that……..but only if you take time out to study your actual needs in some detail, and learn through experience. When I come back from a trip, I make two short lists: the first, of the things I wished I had taken, and the second (yes, you’ve got it!) of the things I wished I had left behind. And through a process of adjustment and elimination, my packing goes through evolutionary development.
It will never be perfect, but then we all need something to live for…..