Maiden voyage.

img_5052This may not be the most exciting of posts out there in internetland but for me it is the beginning of my move to a mobile life. In a lot of ways there seems to be little difference to this day than any other day as I have spent most of my adult life living out of suitcases and boxes. Work and life took me here there and almost everywhere never really settling anywhere always on the move so the idea of no fixed abode is not daunting to me. When you travel light there is not much to hold you back in the places you can go and the lighter the nimbler. This kind of life is not for everyone and I sometimes wonder if I will carry it on for ever as maybe in the twilight years one wants comfort and stability. But for now I am prep for where the wind will take me next, whether that is down the street or to the other side of the world.

Just going to visit friends is no big occurrence but the opportunity to work out how much stuff is needed for a weekend away when one has a car to ram stuff into is not really an incentive to travel light. Having like I said spent allot of my life travelling for work I was very use to having a regulated luggage due to hoping on and off planes frequently, but looking back I can see that I probably could have traveled will way less stuff and still managed to operate as a normal citizen of society. But the desire now to minimise all that I travel with is an interesting experiment it what is seemingly on the boundaries of social acceptance. I’m not about to say I am going to live in the same clothes for a week but the need to take a change for everyday now seems somewhat extravagant. I also wonder how many people actually notice that you have worn the same clothes for two days in a row. Obviously environment plays a big part in all this and if I was doing exerting work outdoors all day long then it would be a different matter but for this weekend I decided to try out taking the smallest bag I could find thus limiting the volume. I discounted my walking boots as there’s no way I would put them in any bag normally and I wasn’t about to start trying to drive with them but that was the only concession. The interesting thing about it was with some ingenious rolling and combining the clothing part took up a lot less space, the bulk of the space was taken up with the tech gear and toiletries. This got me to thinking with careful use just how much shower gel would one of the 100ml travel bottles last. Hmmm yes this maybe becoming a bit obsessional me thinks, but it is actually an interesting avenue of thought that in this day and age of mass consumption going in the opposite direction is seen as somewhat anarchic but it wasn’t that long ago that our parents or grandparents were living an unintentional minimalist life where there was very limited resources and one had to make do. I don’t think that we will necessarily go back to a time like that but I think that there maybe a time when resources that we take for granted are in some sort of restriction, just take the chick pea shortage as a kind of example of the moment. But the whole point of all of this is that actually I probably need a lot less of everything, not just the stuff I am carrying around with me.

I’ll leave with a pic of a lighthouse, and try not to utter to many cliches about lighting the way etc etc. I’m looking forward to my next outing and pondering using other modes of transport to my goal.

One bag, or is it a Russian doll?

fullsizeoutput_4e5I have been looking out for something suitable to be the basis of my onebagonelife experiment and as luck would have it I was donated this handsome suitcase by a generous donor who had used it for a few years but now felt they needed new. I had expected to have to buy a suitcase and looking around there is so much choice that it was a bit overwhelming so am happy in a way I don’t have to trawl the internet for reviews and posts about the best suitcase that would fit my needs. I had no idea that there were some many different types and the cost of some is staggering when you consider how much use one is normally likely to get out of it. For those few weeks away a year is it really worth spending many hundreds of pounds to keep ones clothes safe, well yes I know its more than that but… Maybe it’s me but I have never travelled with excessive quantities of stuff and for some time I have always attempted to travel with a minimum install, relying on the flexible friend to provide for anything I may have forgotten or overlooked. I had a friend who jokingly opined that all you needed to travel with was a toothbrush and a credit card, however this is just not practical in everyday life unless you want to be wasteful and end up with a mountain of stuff you may only have used a handful of times and I’m sure he didn’t live by his own credence. Certainly travelling with the bare minimum is practical as there are not many places that one travels to that services like washing or some spare items of clothing can’t be found.

But as I am not using the suitcase for that purpose it is not a problem for me, it is rather that it is my wardrobe, bathroom cabinet, bookshelf, writing desk, box of bits under the bed and many other things all rolled into one. Just how much it will hold I have no idea as I have not started to rationalise what I actually want to have with me at any given moment. There are the basics and as I have said in a previous post I will have a collection of items that I want to keep for either sentimental reasons or that will move with me to where I settle for longer periods that won’t be kept in the bag. However this needs to be small as I don’t want to clutter up my families space(s) to the point they don’t want to look after it for me.

So the more compact I can make the contents of my suitcase the better. I have this idea that it is a Swiss Army knife of storage, not including that “thing to take stones out of horses hoofs” though, but more like it has the necessary equipment for different modes of living. As an example I have a day sack that can be used for hiking and the individual items can be swopped around depending on location and season but only is used on those occasions but things in it will also be used for daily life. Or, if I am staying somewhere for a prolonged period I have items to make it seem more like a home. This may seem very optimistic and I may have grossly over estimated the capacity to hold my life but this is the fun of finding out. Can one get set of bedding and such in on top of all the clothing etc. That’s where vacuum packing comes in and something I will be covering at a later date.

One aspect I am thinking about is the cost of replacement of all my worldly goods and chattels in the event of some disaster. If one is not attached to the ‘things’ then replacing is purely a logistics operation and with that in mind I set up an Amazon wish list with every item I have or am putting in the bag so that not only do I have an idea of the monetary value but also an easy and quick way to replace any lost item(s). It is also interesting to analyse what is actually important and what is nice to have. I think given that I will have very little space to have frivolous items this sharpens the mind to each individual item and its use and whether it may have multiple uses. I think this is where intentionalism is highlighted over minimalism as I am not living with nothing I am choosing very carefully the things I do own. It is a bit of a grey area to me but I prefer to think of this as an intentional choice.

This then leads to the need to have a buffer fund for replacement. Calculating this cost highlights that certainly the largest portion of the pie chart comes from the tech related kit. However there are always alternatives, but given that I am not going to be wasting loads trying to keep up with the latest I can be far more careful in how purchases need to be made.

I have been watching quite a lot of light weight camping channels and have been thinking how can I transpose the method in to day to day life. On the whole no one considers the weight of their household items but when you have to carry it around it makes a difference. There are many optimisations one can make but from what I see it comes at a cost. For the time being I will stick with what I have and maybe look at upgrading inventory as and when I can.

My plan to start off with is to have 14 days worth of general clothing and 3 items of weather proof gear and coats. However I hope to make these as light and compact as possible. This may prove way too much but only experience will tell. I know I am going to have to cut back somewhere but only by trying will I find out what works for me.

So onebagonelife has a bag!