Here I am in my third year of full-time travel so it's time for another post on what I own.
Hint: it's not a lot! I'm a longtime minimalist. The beauty of minimalism is to simply own only that what adds value to your life and to cut out what doesn't. I once heard a great saying about stuff that said only keep what you use every single day, what you absolutely love, or what makes you money.
I don't believe there's a formula or a certain number of items to have, but it can be a fun experiment to see how low you can go, like taking the 100 things challenge, the minimalists' 288 things, or exile lifestyle's 51 things, so I've joined the fun, counted my belongings and, give or take, it's 40 things.
“He who would travel happily must travel light.”
antoine de saint-exupéry minimalist travel quotes
I travel and live ultralight, carry-on only, with a monochromatic capsule wardrobe, and one bag. I only own my favorite things that I need and everything totals about 11 pounds (5 kgs) so I can always stay under any airlines' carry-on allowance, and my bag is never out of my sight or reach.
Traveling light is easier on your body and your mind. You're free to walk around, to explore, to get immersed in your surroundings, without a suitcase ball and chain. Traveling light gives you freedom.
Things I don't carry because I housesit fulltime: I don't carry toiletries because I aim for zero waste and prefer to make personal care products. I don't carry utensils, containers or bottles because I love dining out and I always have a kitchen to use. I don't carry physical (or store digital) media since it can be streamed online, and homes have entertainment, animals to love and nature to be in. And I don't have workout gear because I walk instead and for that I only need my body, which I usually have on me!
“I travel light; as light, that is, as a man can travel who will still carry his body around because of its sentimental value.”
christopher fry minimalist travel quotes
Heads up, this post contains affiliate links to recommended products.
In my first two packing list articles, Travel in 11 Pounds and Minimalist Packing List, I've gone into detail about each with photos and descriptions, so check those pages out for more info. I've since swapped out some clothes and changed bags. I now carry a cabin zero bag because it opens up flat so everything in it can stay organized and accessible without ever having to unpack!
This is a straight-up list of what I currently own that I have tried and tested, that have proved their value, space and weight many times over, and have ultimately allowed me to easily and comfortably dress, travel, work and live in any climate, season or country, year round.
the 40 things i own:
5. 2 chargers
8. cable lock
10. 2 drivers licenses, american/international
11. 8 id/bank cards
14. crocs flip flops
15. bomber jacket
17. long sleeve shirt
18. grey t-shirt
19. grey long t-shirt
20. black t-shirt
21. black long t-shirt
25. blue jeans
26. black jeans
29. 6 pairs of underwear
30. 4 pairs of socks
31. travel scarf
37. nail clippers
38. 2 pairs of glasses
40. glasses case
“everything you own must be able to fit inside one suitcase;
then your mind might be free.”
charles bukowski minimalist travel quotes
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nerd time: capsule wardrobe math!
Thanks to this nifty formula, I can calculate all my possible clothing combinations:
((tops*bottoms)+dresses)*(shoes+1)*(jackets+1) = number of combinations
the +1 is the additional option of not wearing shoes or a jacket in a combo
X = tops (5)
Y = bottoms (4)
Z = jackets (2)
W = shoes (3)
V = dresses (1)
N = number of combinations
So, 12 items of clothing and 3 pairs of shoes combine into a whopping 63 different clothing combinations and 252 combinations with shoes added in!