Traveling Light

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In a matter of hours, I’ll be boarding a plane to Barcelona, Spain to begin a round-the-world adventure for a year. During that time, a pair of small carry-on-sized bags will become my everything.

I’ve packed, unpacked and re-packed the bags with various essentials over the past few months to figure out which items will make the cut. I want to be absolutely certain that the limited clothes, toiletries, cameras, technology and mass of cords that attach to the technology, all of which I’ll be hauling around with me, will fit comfortably inside the bags.

I’ve tested to make sure that when it’s all loaded in, I can lift both bags easily, climb steep hills if I have to, and even run with them. You never know when you’re going to have to sprint while carrying your entire life on your shoulders.

It seems that the months spent preparing for my trip have been an exercise not only in traveling light, but also lessening the sheer weight of all my stuff -- the mental and physical burdens that most of us carry around every day as a fact of life.

Curiously, I’ve begun feeling surprisingly lighter in several ways.


For example, I sold the car I’ve had for 10 years. And I feel lighter. Many of my household items and clothes have been donated, sold or stored. Lighter. I’ve given my resignation at the office. Lighter still. The heavy words “I can’t” and “maybe someday” have practically been eliminated from my vocabulary, lightening my mental load greatly.

The weight of a prescribed life path has released me, freeing me to rise and soar in the direction of my dreams.

Each time I try on my two little packs, I get a surge of almost-freedom. My goal of seeing the world, writing about it, and photographing the immense beauty that awaits in faraway places -- feel ever more tangible.

I feel prepared. I feel ready. And above all, I know I’m capable of carrying the pared-down load that is now my life with me into this year of adventure, even if I have to sprint.

With a Perspective, I’m Kirsten Smith.

Kirsten Smith begins her year of unencumbered exploration tomorrow.