Traveling Light- Collecting Sentiments, Not Stuff

It just occurred to me that this is one of my first “minimalist” trips.  In the past I used to always check a bag or two, pack enough shoes for three weeks, and prepare for any occasion.

Not anymore.

As I packed for a week in Colorado, I was realistic- I knew I’d be lounging around during the day, working away on my laptop, and bundling up to go out and explore.  This has been a bit of a “working vacation;” while my friend is at his office during the day, I’ve been drinking endless amounts of coffee in his luxury apartment lobby, working away, and catching up on TV shows (since, you know, I normally watch shows from my laptop).

I brought one carry-on- my packable Henri Bendel overnight bag (which comes in Bendel stripe or black), making it easy to store after getting back from a getaway.  Since Henri is my favorite for all the things, I had my plaid purse and monogram cross-body bag along for the trip.  I was glad airport security didn’t have anything to say about me having three personal items, not two- but my cross-body is small enough to get away with.

So, far, so good.  Packing was a success.

Yesterday we took a road trip to Boulder and checked out the lovely Pearl Street shopping area after exploring Flagstaff Mountain.  Shopping used to be one of my favorite activities of all time.  My friend Brett just so happens to be the best shopping partner, too.  Over the years he’s accompanied me on many excursions- from shoe shopping in San Francisco to Macy’s with my mom and me in NYC, he’s a really great sport.  Not this time, though- he didn’t have any bags to help carry and didn’t spend hours waiting for me outside a fitting room.  Since the beginning of our friendship (when my fashion blog was in full-force) my priorities have taken a major shift- what used to be one of my favorite pastimes now gives me a ping of anxiety, with a “where will I put this?” running in the back of my mind.

My colorful wardrobe of items I never wore has since been replaced by classic blacks, staple pieces, and favorites- no duplicates, no “because it was on sale” excuses, no space fillers.  Just things I actually wear and love.

Sure, I’m on a budget and don’t have space in my carry-on- I packed as much as I possibly could into that Bendel bag- but I also realized I don’t need anything new.  Just a couple of weeks ago I did a major deep-cleaning in my apartment, doing two huge loads of laundry and gutting my entire closet to re-organize.  Even though I didn’t think I had much, it was entirely overwhelming.  Step by step, I organized socks, shirts, skirts, leggings, loungewear, etc.  After all was said and done, I felt AMAZING.  I knew where everything was, ditched the things I no longer use or wear, and created a method to the madness.  “Stuff” can get overwhelming even when you’re a minimalist- there’s just less of it!

This trip has inspired me to consign and donate even more of the clothes I have.  It’s made me take a closer look at the things I really need- and things I haven’t missed in my six days in Denver.  So, what did I bring, you ask?

Seven days in Denver: Packing List

  • Hairdryer
  • Straightener
  • Deodorant
  • Toothbrush
  • Face lotion
  • Nail polish (Essie “Merino Cool”)
  • 2 black tanks (H&M, 2 for $10)
  • 3 black leggings
  • 3 sweatshirts (two black, one grey)
  • 1 black dress (in case it got nice- it hasn’t)
  • 1 pair of tights
  • 1 black cardigan sweater
  • 1 SF Giants t-shirt
  • 1 SF Giants hat
  • Workout clothes- yoga pants, sports bra, running shoes
  • 1 quilted black coat
  • Bras, underwear, socks
  • Suede ankle boots
  • Black ballet flats
  • Laptop

This is all I brought.

My plane wardrobe consisted of a black tank, black wrap sweater, leggings, booties (that were easy to slide on and off at security), black scarf, and my long(er) quilted black coat.  The beauty of each and every item I packed is that everything goes with everything.  That’s the key to packing- having an interchangeable capsule wardrobe.

Although my love for clothes will never die, I’ve learned to prioritize and focus on quality over quantity.  Even though I didn’t do any damage on Pearl Street, I experienced something even better- mindful moments with a good friend, enjoying the beauty of nature, and some relaxing time away from home.  I did get a sticker from Trident Books, an iconic Boulder bookstore.  Coincidentally, the sticker (which came from a machine) is of a woman meditating in the forest with a baby deer on her lap.  We had just seen deer running through the mountain, too!  I put the sticker on my laptop as a reminder of this fabulous trip, and to stay mindful in every moment.

I leave Denver tomorrow afternoon and am so grateful for this re-set.  I start a new job on Thursday and I’m thrilled about the opportunity- and to be able to recharge before I begin a new chapter.

If this trip has taught me anything, it has confirmed the importance of collecting sentiments, not stuff.  There truly is a freedom to living more with less- so get outside, take a deep breath, and remember what really matters- this moment.

Travel Zen

…is an oxy moron, because I have no chill when it comes to travel.  I don’t know what travel zen is, but if someone can help me figure it out, I’d love to know.

I am still catching my breath after my connection between Boston and Denver. Naturally, I had to land at JFK of all places- a city where my aggression comes out in full force.  I had a 15 minute layover in New York thanks to a fog delay, so I ran as fast as I could to the shuttle to get from Terminal A to C.

It was a headache.

I messaged my friend Brett to let him know it was possible I would have to take a later flight.  Thankfully, I got a hold of him to let him know I made it with just a minute to spare.  He’s leaving work early to come get me, so I wanted to make sure I wasn’t messing up his schedule, either.

✈️

I don’t know how people do it.  I have two friends who work for Accenture as consultants, and they travel every single week.  I WOULD PULL MY HAIR OUT.  Although I tried to take deep breaths and remember “everything happens for a reason,” I still have no zen when it comes to logistics.

Journaling, music, and holding my Fluorite stone seemed to help calm me down once I got settled on flight #2.  Now that I’m en route, I feel much better, though I doubt the people I pushed past in the airport would believe me.

On another note, I’m stoked to spend a few days out west- we’re hiking in Boulder this weekend, exploring downtown Denver, relaxing, and of course dining out!  It will be a great getaway.

What are some of the ways you chill yourself out while traveling?  Trust me, I need some tips other than Xanax.

How to Survive Mercury Retrograde

It’s that time of year again!

If you’re familiar with Mercury Retrograde, you know what I’m talking about.  Mercury, the planet of communication, goes into reverse, causing a three week period of communication confusion, technical complications, and travel issues.  Since the planet is actually going backwards, it effects our lives here on earth, too.

We moved into retrograde on December 3rd (the day of the Supermoon) and will be in it until December 22nd (my birthday!).  The last Mercury Retrograde occurred August 12th to September 5th, where we prepared for new beginnings.  Many of us felt this energy; I know I did.  One example of my own Mercury Retrograde mishaps included losing my phone, which happened at a terrible time- while I was interviewing for jobs and doing temp work.  Nobody could get a hold of me for three very crucial days- or so I thought.  This was a huge lesson for me to slow down after unknowingly running on nervous energy for weeks.  Instead of managing my time effectively or going with the flow, I was chasing my tail.

I also realized I had been relying on my phone too much.  During the five days I didn’t have my phone, I began talking to people for directions, walked even more than usual, learned new areas of the city, and even used a payphone (yes, they still exist).  It made me value my own quiet time, reminded me to pick up that library book I checked out, and was a lesson about the kindness of strangers.  Not only did I survive the fiasco, but I made a new friend in the process- I got an email from a Good Samaritan who had found my phone in the park!

Depending on how you see it, Mercury Retrograde has positive aspects that can provide great lessons.  Just as I lost my primary form of communication, my phone, I gained an appreciation for slowing down.  This is also a good time to clean house.  Mercury Retrograde allows you to let go of any past feelings or behaviors that no longer serve you.  Although these lessons are helpful, there are many ways to avoid these common mishaps, too!

Be Careful What You Say

Don’t be surprised if your blunt opinion isn’t well-received!  December’s Mercury in Retrograde is ruled by firey Sagittarius, which could cause others to take your joke the wrong way.  Be sure to think before you speak!

Proofread Everything 

Spell check, make sure you included the attachment, and don’t send the email to the wrong recipient!  These are all typical communication mishaps that can happen during the retrograde.

Avoiding Starting New Projects

Keep working on your existing projects, but don’t start something new, sign any contracts, or make major decisions during this time.  There is bound to be miscommunication, confusion, or arguments.  Hold off until after the holidays- it will be a less stressful time, anyway,

Don’t Make Big Purchases

A lot of electronics can go haywire during the retrograde.  I’ve been told to avoid making electronic purchases, such as phones, laptops, or TVs- since this can’t always be avoided, it’s a good idea to invest in the warranty!

Give Yourself Time to Travel

It’s the holidays, so many of us will be traveling near and far.  Allow extra time when going to the airport, check the traffic map before leaving the house, and be sure you clicked the right button when purchasing tickets (yes, this is a true story- someone bought me a plane ticket once for the wrong month).

Bottom line: double check, double check, double check!  Don’t be afraid to go outside this Mercury Retrograde- just slow down and think before you speak.  Remember, it’s a time to clean house and move forward.  The past is a place of reference- not a place of residence!

Get ready for 2018- it will be a time to embrace being the authentic you that you stepped into in 2017.