Traveling Light (or Be a Diogenes Not a Harry Potter)

Now if you’re sporting a room full of gold and some serious magical skills, Harry Potter style, this advice really isn’t for you.  The rest of us, however, will seriously save on travel expenses and have a much better time if we take a page from Diogenes’ book. Why?  Because Diogenes traveled light, I mean float like a butterfly light.  The only thing he bothered to carry around was cup and that’s only because paper cups hadn’t been invented yet, so he couldn’t just steal them from Starbucks.

In the end, even that was too much for him.  One day while out for a walk, he saw some guy cupping his hands to drink from a stream.  Refusing to be one upped in terms of simplicity, he tossed his cup.  Don’t believe it?  Here’s the picture:

"Diogenes Throwing away his Cup" or "Nobody One Ups Me"

Now times have changed and people have less tolerance for the smell of people who have only one set of cloths, but the first time I went to Europe I was more like Harry Potter, sans magic, lugging around two hulking suitcases.  I slowly improved over time until last summer, forced to carry all my luggage across Spain, I came to realize just how little I really needed.  I’m not quite at Diogenes level, but now I live off one well-packed, mid-sized backpack.

There are countless advantages to traveling this way. You save on transportation expenses: fewer taxis and no extra baggage fees.  You spend less time unpacking and packing, become more flexible and never need to worry about where you’ll keep your stuff.  Finally, and most importantly for an addict like me, you shop less: much less room for all the fridge magnets, shot glasses and snow globes that seem essential until you get home.

I could go on, but until you do it, you won’t realize how freeing it feels to travel this light.  Try it on a weekend trip or something a little longer and you’ll be surprised at just how easy and liberating it is.  For as Diogenes would be quick to point out, your possessions can end up possessing you and that’s no way to travel.

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