That person

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I never thought I’d be that person who wakes up early and does fitness exercises.
I never thought I’d be that person who meditates every day.
I never thought I’d be that person who spends a lot of time in nature.
I never thought I’d be that person who goes to festivals.
I never thought I’d be that person who cultivates many good friendships.
I never thought I’d be that person who travels to another continent to see a band.
I never thought I’d be that person who surrounds themselves with plants.
I never thought I’d be that person who skateboards.
I  never thought I’d be that person who improves their singing voice.
I never thought I’d be that person who says ‘yes’ to all tempting invitations.
I never thought I’d be that person who goes out dancing and stays until the end of the party.
I never thought I’d be that person who dates casually.
I never thought I’d be that person who goes to the beach on their own.
I never thought I’d be that person who fills up a whole sketchbook.
I never thought I’d be that person who travels with only a small backpack.
I never thought I’d be that person who works in an office, and actually enjoys the work.
I never thought I’d be that person who builds up a business on the side.
I never thought I’d be that person who often surprises themselves.
I never thought I’d be that person who happily embraces change and the possibility for growth.
I never thought I’d be that person who sees this as essential for living a good, full life.

Yet here I am, reveling in every minute of it.

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The best thing about travelling

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There are a lot of nice things about travelling. You get to temporarily escape your daily, hopefully not so dreary, life, explore new, exciting places, meet new, inspiring people; just to name a couple. I enjoy all of these. But what I consider to be the best?

The necessity of living out of a suitcase, or backpack.

It sounds trivial compared to what I mentioned first. It probably sounds like one of the more irksome parts of travelling too. Hell, I used to hate being confined to a suitcase when I went on vacation as a kid. I always thought I needed ALL MY THINGS all the time, so I overpacked my battered suitcase within an inch of its life. I would have to jump on it with my full weight and beat it closed, while desperately battling the THINGS spilling out of all three open sides. Then of course I could barely lift the thing and it would be too heavy for the airplane and I had to take crap out and there would be arguments with my parents. Oh, these vacations never started well.

I’ve learned a lot since then. I’ve become more critical about my values. I’ve gotten less materialistic, I hope. Now, whenever I pack for a trip I don’t start by piling all the convenient things in a suitcase. I start by considering how little I want to carry around. Over the years I’ve come to loathe carrying around too much crap. Have you ever gotten horribly lost on your way to a ho(s)tel with painfully heavy luggage in your hands? Nightmare.

When I pack for a trip, I think more critically about what I truly need. About what I truly value in my life. Do I really need a different outfit every other day? Both my laptop and my tablet? A whole grocery bag full of snacks in case I have trouble finding vegan food?

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My space is limited, my personal carrying capacity is limited. What I take with me has to be worth the space and the hassle. I’ve found that there are rather few things that are worth that.

The suitcase I have now is almost half the size of the suitcases I used to take with me on vacation. I once bought it for a short trip to London of about a week, because my regular suitcase was too big. I was hilarious, really. For a week-long trip I could now live out of my school backpack. The suitcase I once considered small is now my go-to suitcase for all longer airplane trips, and WGT. I usually have room left in it*.

It is unbelievably freeing to travel with as little as possible. When you’re not as weighed down with THINGS, an infinite amount of roads seem to be open to you. Your personal limitations seem to dissolve. You seem to have more space to breathe.

I wouldn’t trade that freedom for anything in the world. Not for my beloved gothic lolita wardrobe, not for dozens of my favourite books, not for any convenient gadgets. When I have to live out of a suitcase, or backpack, I realise again and again how little all those excess material things mean to me.

Sure, it’s nice that those things are waiting for me when I get back home, but it’s nicer to know that I could do without.

* The exception, of course, is for WGT. Goth vanity kills me.

Pictures by Luc Mercelis and Manto Prestipino