Travel Light and Write Light

If you do a lot of travelling, you’ll know the value of packing light for a trip. And the same goes for writing. Having travelled and written the hard way for too long, I now travel light and write light.

How to pack for a trip

The nomads of the world are quick to tell us how to pack less and travel light:

  • Roll instead of fold – and fit everything into a backpack. Watch the YouTube Video below to see how easy it is.
  • Pack less – wash small items at night and hang them in the shower

Hint: Roll wet items in a towel to squeeze out excess moisture. They will dry much faster.

Okay, a small backpack might be a bit extreme, but you get the idea.

Plan to succeed!

You can certainly cut down on luggage (and weight) by careful planning.

The consistent tip from packing-gurus is the ‘half-method’. Gather up what you think you’ll need, and then eliminate half.

In my case, I may have to repeat that last step a few times before my luggage resembles ‘smart packing’. When I think back to the trips where a lot of what I packed never left the suitcase, the half method makes a lot of sense.

But, Write Light?

The more I write, the more refined my writing becomes. And it didn’t take long to realise I didn’t need a lot of the words I used. They were the ‘extra stuff’. Like taking two sets of pyjamas, where one would do.

I write, edit, and cut back. It might not be by half, but I certainly hack those extra words out of the story.

This is what I cut from one of the sentences above:

Original sentence:

And it didn’t take too long to realise that I didn’t need a lot of the words I used.

There was no change to the meaning – I just eliminated the extra words.

Some of my writing habits were formed at College. And old habits die hard.

An assignment would include a suggested word-limit. The intent was probably ‘write no more than this number of words, but get as close as you can’.

I remember one time, my word count was not exactly close to the assigned number.

So I (may have) exaggerated the number of words… a little. Who would have thought lecturers had time to count every word?

That assignment came back with a note attached:

‘My guesstimate is …. words’.

So from then on, I added all the extra words I could muster. They probably had little to do with the topic, but they made the word count look more respectable. And it kept that particular lecturer happy.

Am I there yet?

I still pack more than I need for a trip, but not as much as I used to.

And my writing still carries some ‘extra stuff’, but I keep on culling until I eliminate most of the fluff.

What are your tips for how to travel light and write light?


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This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. For travel – think in layers. Take a few light clothes for warm weather, add a pair of jeans, a long sleeve shirt, a warm jacket and wear only cowboy boots as footwear as they go with everything 🙂 (okay – you can substitute very light joggers for cowboy boots if you are only in warmer places) A small leather backpack took me around 13 states of America in 3 weeks this way 🙂 I did the occasional clothes wash at a cheap motel and never ran out of clothes.

    As to writing light – try short sentences. Enough said.

    1. Layers are certainly the best option, Sally. When travelling in North America and England in winter, it was the only way to go. Stores are often over-heated. Being able to peel off layers prevented this Aussie from fading away.
      As for footwear – Ugg Boots are another alternative. Great for summer and winter, as long as you buy the ones with merino wool inside, and don’t ever wear socks with them.
      Thanks for the great tips!

  2. Rolling is how we do it now too.. and with my kids going camping more often than before, we are learning efficient tips each time.. so thanks for these too

    1. Rolling certainly seems to be the best way, Vidya. I’ll just have to get better at packing the rolls in.
      Happy travels and camping!

  3. I’m not too bad with my travel packing. I think I use everything. I’m mindful though that being so tall, I can’t always buy what I need. I remember when the airline lost my luggage, how difficult it was to buy some essentials. But I look at the way some folk travel and know I’ve done a better job!!

    1. I envy you Di, for being able to pack and wear everything you need. Although, I am getting better at it. I guess having duck’s disease (bottom too close to the ground) has its advantages…sometimes (definitely not in supermarkets though).
      I can’t even imagine how bad it would be to turn up to your destination – minus your luggage. It only happened to me once, and I actually pitied the person who might have taken it by mistake because it was full of a week’s worth of ‘backpacking through Europe’ clothes. The airline found it a couple of hours later and I couldn’t decide whether to wash the contents – or bury it.
      I washed it.
      Don’t you love the size of some of the hand luggage carried onto our domestic flights???!!!

  4. I roll my clothes all the time. It eliminates fold lines and ironing. Also easy for finding an item, too. As for writing light, I am a natural. 🙂 I would be great writing for Hallmark but not for a novel. I participated in Friday Fictioneers for awhile, writing flash fiction of a 100 words. It does help one eliminate useless words.

    1. Lily, your writing inspired me to cut back a lot of the useless words I was using! I love your style.
      My daughter rolls all her travel clothes too, and I’ve tried it, but I still end up with at least some things folded.
      Once again, you inspire me with your words. Is Friday Fictioneers still going? Maybe that’s what I need to help me minimise my wordiness.
      Thanks Lily…

      1. Thanks Maureen. Friday Fictioneer is still going. I probably repeat myself and use alot of useless words, too. It helps that I can only write short posts.

        1. I love your posts, Lily!
          And I’m will check out Friday Fictioneer. Maybe it will help me get my blogs down to a more ‘readable’ size.

  5. Enjoyed your topic today!!!

    I’m one that will always pack more for the ‘just in case’ moments and writing, wordy! Hopefully, both will change in time…

    1. I hear you, Nancy! I used to travel with three pieces of luggage for the same reason. One in case it was hot; one in case it was cold; and one in case it was just right. I soon found how hard it was lugging all that stuff up and down stairs.
      And there’s a lot to be said about a certain amount of wordiness – SEO likes at least 300 words. Not that I’ve ever had to worry about that – I’m always way over 300.
      I’m guessing there is a happy medium for travel and writing. And I’d love to know how to do it… 🙂

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