Regular Wikizine writer, Jackie Walker, gives us a taste of what it is to travel alone...
I was travelling last week and as I packed my bags for the month I’m away, I was thinking of what I needed to take rather than what I wanted to take. The luxury of extra clothes to suit all eventualities isn’t afforded when you have to keep the weight down both to abide by airline policy and also my own capacity for lifting! The problem was further exacerbated by the weather and cold I was heading to – big warm jumpers are definitely needed – many French houses tend to be single glazed, no central heating and have tiled floors!
What we need or want is so often in direct opposition to one another – have you ever noticed that? There are so many times that need is overlooked for the sake of want. It’s a crying shame that it often takes some major upheaval to make this connection. If you have a think about what you get upset about, stressed over, angry or sad about – can you honestly say it’s a basic fundamental need? In the majority of cases the answer is ‘No’!
I digress, I wasn’t going to write about want and need – but since I have, then I’ll leave it in and continue to what I was going to look at - restriction – to be precise, the restriction of the weight limit on my bag to be checked in. The very figure 20kgs gave me palpitations. How would I get my boots, jeans, thermals, coats, thick jumpers AND my hairdryer into a bag which could only weigh 20kg? Do you know how much 20kg is? I know the figure but have no idea what it looks like, or feels like. So I kept taking things out and paring back on the ‘luxury’ goods such as blouses and cardigans.
Restrictions are limitations and once I got here, where I was going, I took some time to settle in and doing so I was becoming aware that the limitations of packing are very similar to the limitations we set ourselves in life.
Unconsciously we set up restrictions on what we can and can’t achieve. I didn’t know what my goal of 20kg was like. Instead of finding out and being clear, I worked on being a lean packer and not allowing myself anything more than the basics. As it turned out I could have brought another 8kg of stuff with me which would have added a bit more choice to my daily dressing routine! On the other hand, I wouldn’t have been able to lift my bag easily. In this instance need far outweighed want!
We set up limitations and censor ourselves so often by stopping short and not imagining big enough, not stretching ourselves and putting some effort in. When you have your basic needs covered, then it’s time to play with what else might be great to have. In my suitcase I could have had my useful cardigan, the two books I refer to most and my trainers amongst other things.
When did you last get back to basics and realise that your needs are being met, no matter what your circumstances? The rest of our life is trimming. There’s nothing wrong with trimming – as long as you remember to be grateful for the basics. When we have an attitude of gratitude then we begin to enjoy the trimmings even more as we start to recognise how truly rich our lives are.
Start unhooking yourself from the very things which are holding you back because you think you need them. Allow yourself to be less encumbered so that you too are travelling lightly. Stretch your arms wide and imagine what you could hold in your embrace if you stopped stopping yourself and started to imagine what life could be like if you were to start again – would you choose something new and different, or would you want to get back to where you were before you started?