I pack light. Very light.
In fact, I’d rather do without something than have to carry it around with me. Since I tend to travel on the economical side, I’m usually heaving my luggage through transit turnstiles rather than taking a civilized taxi cab. Lighter is better. Less is definitely more. The heaviest thing I usually carry is my camera, and even that I’ll often forgo in favour of my phone camera.
So if I often can’t convince myself to carry my own camera, imagine how I feel about carrying around cheap and cheerful “souvenirs” for everyone I know back home. My family and friends know better than to expect them. All I usually bring home is my photographs.
But don’t mistake me; there are a hundred things on every trip I want to bring home. I just know that if I have to carry them around, I’ll end up resenting it. There are some exceptions, of course. I will generally allow myself something if its small and light and easy to carry:
- fridge magnets tuck away easily, and they’re something I always need more of
- rings are a perennial favourite – small samples of art I get to wear and remember my trip
- things that can be shipped ahead easily (example: my Moroccan carpet below)
I’ve been on travels with friends who spend half their time trying to find something for everyone back home. It’s a lovely thought, but not always practical. And so much of it is just junk. I mean, who needs a shot glass with the Eiffel Tower etched in glitter? I certainly don’t.
Rather than bringing stuff home, I send postcards instead. I buy a big bunch and whenever I need a break from my wanderings, I relax with a coffee and write short missives to people back home. That way they know I’m thinking of them, they get a nice picture from wherever I happen to be, and everyone receives the novelty of physical mail in their mailbox. And I don’t have to carry anything. Win, win.
Do other people have this same aversion to being burdened with stuff on their travels? What do you bring home to your friends and families?