People who know me well would agree I’m something of a minimalist. The concept of minimalism as a lifestyle has become extremely popular in recent years, and it’s an idea that deeply resonates with me and has served me well. If you haven’t come across it before, www.theminimalists.com is a great place to start. In fact, a lot of my inspiration comes from various minimalist-leaning voices; some of my favourites are listed in the Stuff I Love section. I’ll also be discussing how minimalist principles have influenced my dwelling choices (tiny apartment tour is forthcoming!), finances, personal possessions, and more.
It’s an ongoing process, but one area where I’m pleased with my progress is packing. It’s something we all have to do at some point or another, and as expats and nomads we find ourselves facing that empty bag or suitcase perhaps more often than most. I believe changing how you pack will transform how you travel and engage with the world. It also tends to have knock-on effects that impact and improve other areas of your life.
Change your relationship with stuff and you can change your life. You’ll realise that you need less than you thought, and you’ll experience the ease and elegance of bringing only what you need, only what you can comfortably carry. This affords you the space and capacity to take on the unexpected, to help others, to be light and nimble. These are all things to which I aspire generally in life. Prosaic though it may be, packing with intention can feel like getting closer to those ideals.
And since I love a good packing list as much as the next person, let’s embrace our inner basic and have a nose through what I brought on a recent 3 day weekend in Paris. Since I pack carry-on only as a general rule, I wanted to see if I could go even more minimalist for this trip, and just bring a large purse. As it wasn’t a work trip, I wouldn’t need a bulky work laptop or any formal clothes. I decided to use my Longchamp Le Pliage tote as my one bag, just to double down on the #basic. These bags are ubiquitous for a reason! They’re extremely versatile. I’ve had mine for ages and it still looks…like every other girl’s Longchamp. Which is fine by me.
Here’s what I brought:
I wore a top, cardigan, and the grey skirt on the plane. I packed the jeans, 2 other tops, another cardigan, and sleeping clothes/tights/undergarments. One pair of shoes, the simple black ballet flats, was perfectly sufficient.
The smaller black crossbody bag fit in the Longchamp and served as my day bag, as well as helped keep my airport essentials like my phone, wallet, Kindle, and passport close at hand during travel.
The toiletry bag is from my favourite travel bag/accessory maker, Tom Bihn. The 3D Organiser Cube is airport security-compliant for your liquids, and I also use it at home as my everyday cosmetics case.
Another everyday/travel item I love is the Hydroflask, which is brilliant at keeping water cold. I just fill it up once I’m though security.
And the individual items I brought/wore were all I needed for a weekend of cafes, walking around the city, and exploring restaurants and bars at night.
I wore this straight from work to the airport:
Mixing in the below items provided all the variety I needed:
And here is the finished result, which was a breeze to take on the plane, train, bus, and Metro, as well as to walk to my Airbnb:
What are your thoughts on packing light? Would you give it a go for a short weekend trip? I’ll definitely pack this light again. It felt great to be so unfettered, and not to stand out immediately as an awkward tourist. Surely better to let my awkward touristing speak for itself.