Minimize Stuff

It is actually quite easy to travel with minimal gear. The idea is that if one needs something, one just has to purchase it at the destination and then 'donate' it to someone before departing for home. That's great if one has the means, but for most people who want to travel more, there is a need for a budget. This section is devoted to being able to travel with less stuff, while making sure that you have (most) everything you need. You will find gear reviews and other recommendations for making do with less. We call this traveling light intelligently.

Less Clutter–More Money for Travel

Posted by on May 23, 2013 in Articles, Blog, Maximize Experience, Minimize Costs, Minimize Stuff, TravlMor | 0 comments

Less Clutter–More Money for Travel
Walking

Walking in the Dolomites (Italy)

This article was written for Knoworthy.com. We have reprinted it here for your convenience, but you can view the original article here. In our ongoing effort to provide minimalist travel tips, here we present five things that you can do this week to reduce your clutter and save money so you can travel more.   Decluttering your life can seem, well, impossible at times. Or, more likely, it is a project you will start on this weekend, or next month, or when you get back from your vacation this summer. There is always that elusive start date that seems to eternally slip away like a mirage in the desert. The key to decluttering is to start small. Here I present five things in order of difficulty (simplest to most difficult) that you can do this week to start you on your path to a clutter-free life. (more…)

Minimalism and Family Life

Posted by on May 2, 2013 in Articles, Blog, Maximize Experience, Minimize Stuff, TravlMor | 4 comments

Minimalism and Family Life
Minimalist Family

This is the fourth in a series of posts about minimizing your lifestyle choices so that you can travel more. Last week’s post shows a good way to ease into minimalism.

Over the last few years, minimalism has really taken off as a movement. There are tons of articles and blogs out there which espouse the virtues of a minimalist lifestyle. Unfortunately, most of them are written by young, single men or women. There even seems to be a competition as to how few things they claim to own, usually trying to reach the magic number of 100 items or fewer. There are arguments as to whether a toiletry kit counts as one item or multiple items. Seriously.

I do not want to denigrate these enterprising youths, but a lot of their ideas and articles just do not apply to me and my situation. I have a wife, a 17-year old daughter, a 6-year old daughter and an ex-wife. I also run my own business with my wife. I will never, ever own fewer than 100 things. It’s not going to happen.

I do regularly read blogs like Zen Habits by Leo Babauta, whom I respect immensely as he lives in San Francisco with six children, no car and blogs full-time. Last summer, he traveled to Europe with five of his children and only carried a 16-liter backpack. For reference, a 16-liter backpack is about half the size of a typical backpack that college students use on a daily basis. He’s got some great ideas and I recommend that you check out his blog if you haven’t already. He will show you how to take minimalism to the extreme with a family.

I, however, subscribe to Aristotle’s philosophy on the Golden Mean. I prefer moderation when I do almost anything and find that even as a minimalist, I enjoy some comforts. (more…)

How to Get Rid of Your Stuff – The Ease-Into-It Method

Posted by on Apr 25, 2013 in Articles, Blog, Maximize Experience, Minimize Stuff, TravlMor | 5 comments

How to Get Rid of Your Stuff – The Ease-Into-It Method

Somewhere in Rome

This post is the third in a series called TravlMor, which is designed to show you ways to redesign your life to enable you to travel more often. Currently, we are concentrating on how to reduce the number of things that you own so you can have more money to travel. You might want to check out last week’s post for a more extreme method of how to get rid of your stuff.

If you know that you want to minimize the amount of stuff in your life, but don’t know how to even start, this is the place. Last week, I covered an extreme method to go about this, but honestly, this is not practical for everyone. This week, however, anyone can take advantage of the techniques we share and in a few weeks or months can make a dramatic difference in their lives.

I have found that just a few hours work in this area makes me feel so much better by relieving my stress. When my house is full of clutter, I have a certain amount of tension that never leaves. I think I have a mild case of obsessive compulsive disorder. Once I organize and get rid of the clutter, the tension magically leaves and I can truly relax.

I have noticed that I have a threshold that I can bump up against and can handle the added stress of stuff. However, just a slight increase in the clutter will set me off and I cannot function until I get things squared away. Sara and I have a term for this. We will ask each other if the other is feeling “dzzzt”. As we say this the one asking kind of shudders all over like they are being shocked. It’s easy for Sara to tell that I’m dzzzt because I get very grumpy and short with her. The only thing that can help is for me to get things back in their place.

Sometimes, though, the task can feel overwhelming. There is just so much clutter that I don’t really know what to do. (more…)

How to Get Rid of Your Stuff – The Extreme Method

Posted by on Apr 18, 2013 in Articles, Blog, Maximize Experience, Minimize Stuff, TravlMor | 2 comments

How to Get Rid of Your Stuff – The Extreme Method

Waiting on a Train

This post is the second in a series called TravlMor, which is designed to show you ways to redesign your life to enable you to travel more often. Currently, we are concentrating on how to reduce the number of things that you own so you can have more money to travel. If you have not read the first article, you might want to check it out. Don’t worry, it’s not too long. One quick note. Sara tells me that she is afraid that people will think we are wacko after reading this. So, please, don't think we are wacko...

For the sake of argument, let’s assume that you have decided that you want to get rid of all of the superfluous stuff in your life. Well, you have come to the right place. I can say from lots of experience, that getting rid of stuff is one of the most liberating things you can do. For me, it is like lifting a burden from my shoulders. Now, truthfully, I think I might have a problem with this sort of thing. If I did not have a wife and two kids, I quite possibly would not be satisfied until I had nothing but what could fit in my backpack. Sara keeps me under control and let’s me know when I’m going overboard on getting rid of things. Sometimes, she lets me run wild, though.

There are many ways to get rid of things, but for the sake of space, I am going to cover two:  the extreme method and the ease-into-it method. I have experience with both. I prefer the extreme method myself, but either way works. (more…)

7 Essential OTC Medications to Carry When Traveling

Posted by on Apr 26, 2011 in Articles, Blog, Minimize Stuff | 4 comments

7 Essential OTC Medications to Carry When Traveling
I am a big fan of natural medicine and have more than once found that a natural form of medicine has healed me permanently where the traditional Western doctors could only dull my pain. That being said, everything has its place and when you are traveling, you want to get out and see things, not stay stuck in a hotel room or hostel, miserable. In these situations, an over-the-counter (OTC) pill might just be the answer to giving you enough relief to get out there and take that picture of you holding the Eiffel Tower between your thumb and forefinger. I do not have a strong stomach and Sara is allergic to everything, so, over time, we have developed our little kit of OTC medication that we do not leave home without on long trips overseas. Please keep in mind that we are not doctors, so please consult your own physician before embarking on your dream trip. We usually like to bring along our own meds because finding its comparable version in a foreign language, or explaining your symptoms to a pharmacist who does not speak your language is sometimes challenging. Below is a list of the best OTC medications that we take with us without fail. Obviously, if you have a specific medical condition or problem, you should take any normal medication with you that you might otherwise need at home, such as allergy or asthma drugs. (more…)

Gear Review: Vibram Five Fingers KSO

Posted by on Apr 21, 2011 in Blog, Gear, Minimize Stuff, Reviews | 0 comments

Gear Review:  Vibram Five Fingers KSO
I had been reading about these amazing new shoes that make you feel like you are walking barefoot, but still somewhat protect you from the elements. I am referring to the Vibram Five Fingers line of shoes. They are designed to be like gloves for your feet, fitting a sleeve around each of your toes, and having a very thin sole, so you can really feel the ground as you walk. I love to go barefoot and I had read that running in them is incredible. I was apprehensive, as they are not inexpensive, however, last Spring, I decided I would try a pair and I went to the local REI to pick out one that I liked. After talking with the salesperson and trying on several styles, I decided on the KSO (Keep Stuff Out). Each style varies in features and benefits, but I chose the KSO because it has a protective mesh covering to keep sand and debris out of the shoe, but a thin sole, so I still felt barefoot. Once I settled on the exact style, I needed to choose the size. I read that you really need to size it correctly, because if it is too large, you will develop blisters, but too small, you will be uncomfortable. They did not have my exact size in the KSO, but through trying on other styles, I felt that I had a good fit and could order a pair. Two months went by and I finally received them. Not to spoil the review, but the wait was well worth it. (more…)

Gear Review: SCOTTEVEST Fleece 5.0 Jacket

Posted by on Mar 25, 2011 in Blog, Gear, Minimize Stuff, Reviews | 1 comment

Gear Review:  SCOTTEVEST Fleece 5.0 Jacket
Let me start by saying that I love travel gear and am always on the lookout for the next perfect thing to add to my collection. I also travel light, so most things that I buy need to either be multi-functional, or be really good at what they do. I purchased the SCOTTEVEST Fleece 5.0 Jacket and can say that it is almost the perfect travel jacket. It is a welcome addition to my gear list and I cannot recommend it highly enough. Description The Fleece 5.0 Jacket is available in any color that you want, as long as that color is black.  It has 24 pockets, zip-off sleeves, inside wiring guides for your iPod, and an internal pocket big enough to carry a magazine (or the iPad). It has a special strap inside one pocket that will hold a water bottle upright, a key chain, several pockets to hold small memory sticks/cards, a see-through pocket so you can control your iPod/iPhone without removing it, and several hidden pockets. I was walking somewhere with Sara the other day and she was a bit annoyed as I was not paying attention to what she was saying. Finally, she asked me what was on my mind. I smiled and said, "I think I just found another pocket!" (more…)

How We Evaluate Gear

Posted by on Mar 17, 2011 in Blog, Gear, Minimize Stuff, Reviews | 0 comments

How We Evaluate Gear
Minimalist travel requires some thought when it comes to gear. In order to travel light, it is necessary to evaluate everything that one carries for true need and functionality. Most items should fill several roles or be compact and lightweight, or both. One of the things that I love about travel is the idea that I will carry very few things and everything that I have is something that I need. Consequently, I spend a great deal of time thinking about 'stuff'. I am the type of person that does not like to own many things, and if I do buy something, I want to use it until it wears out. What this means is that I generally do a good bit of research before I buy something, because once I buy it, I'm stuck with it. One of our themes here at FlyingCoach.org is how to travel light. Through our gear reviews, we are going to share our experiences with gear in real world trials. Most of the items that we review will be things that we have purchased for our own use, with our own money. If, however, we happen to be asked to review something by a manufacturer, or any third-party, we will fully disclose that in the review itself. We will also disclose if that party is an advertiser or contributor to the website. Our goal is to provide true unbiased reviews of items that you, the light traveler, can use and rely upon as you do your research, so that when you buy something, you, too, can use it until it wears out. We welcome any and all comments to the reviews and are anxious to hear other travelers' experiences with the same gear that we use.