I have been thinking a lot about people who inspire me in this project. I think Nomads - travelers, pioneers, and settlers; Indians - indigenous peoples adapting to and settling into their lands; and Saints - people who walk their talk in radical ways; is a pretty good way to group them.
The Nomad that's been on my mind lately is Rick Steves.
My dad was an Eagle Scout. His version of "be prepared" meant "take everything you think you might need." And while my brother interpreted that to mean packing just a pair of shorts and 10 changes of underwear for a 10-day camping trip, I have interpreted that to mean taking way too much stuff to way too many places and I have had a whole lot of misery just from schlepping my luggage around.
Rick is my antidote to Rich (my dad).
Rick's guideline is to "Pack Light and Right". This means one carry-on sized bag for all trips of any length to any destination. Why?
- So you can have more fun while traveling and spend less energy moving and keeping track of stuff.
- So that you are not insulated from the cultures you encounter while traveling.
Doing all these things while traveling in one bag takes some pretty intentional reducing, re-using, and recycling. There is nothing in the packing list that will only be used once. If it's not going to be used every three days or so, it shouldn't go in your bag. But also, if you have the basics, it opens up possibilities. For example, if you have a fork, spoon, and pocket knife, you can visit a grocer and eat pretty much anywhere. But if you don't happen to have those with you, you're usually stuck going to a restaurant to eat.
Doing all these things also pretty much argues that people are the best form of entertainment wherever you go.
I think it's because of reading Rick Steves that my shoulder bag now contains silverware for instant picnics, one book which can be used for notes, journaling, sketching, calendar dates, and paper. Rick is also one of those people who motivates me to try having conversations with strangers instead of going through my life afraid of them.
For more information on Rick Steves, check out his website.
Travel Tips page: http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/tips/tips_menu.htm
By the way, it would just be wrong to use this title for a post and not give a hat-tip to the Indigo Girls. I'm gonna do that by linking to the Honor the Earth campaign.