Wednesday, June 22, 2016

No Baggage by Clara Bensen

I liked reading my ONE library book~ The one and only book I checked out from the library last week.  I wrote about the experience of scaling back, and not having books piled up all around me, as I usually do. (You can read that blogpost, "Minimalism My Way", HERE if you missed it.) I didn't feel rushed to finish this book.  And I think I therefore enjoyed the experience of reading it all the more!

Last week's book was No Baggage: A Minimalist Tale of Love and Wondering by Clara Bensen.
This was a memoir written by Clara about her experience of traveling with a newly met mate on a 3 week trip from Istanbul to London.  After meeting only a few weeks before on OKCupid, she and Jeff travel through 8 countries with no baggage, no reservations, and no plans.

I impress myself when I can get away with only taking a carry on with me on a long weekend trip, so this experiment of Clara's sort of blew me away.

No Bagggage was part travel log of amazing sights, and part sweet romantic relationship-in-development story.  And of course, the challenging idea of traveling with only the clothes on your back!  for 21 days! 

One of the most baffling aspects of Clara's minimalistic packing for me, was that she only brought 2 tampons with her.  Not to put out any spoilers here, but her period did not arrive at a convenient time.  Imagine, being out in the middle of nowhere, with a new fella, and not having nearly enough feminine product to properly deal with being a female. That's no vacation in my book-- that's a nightmare!

Clara and Jeff  made no reservations and didn't stay in nice hotels of any sort.  Imagine being exhausted from a long, overseas flight, getting off the plane and then needing to figure out how and where you will sleep safely that night.  Again- not a vacation but a nightmare, in my opinion.

The idea of minimalism, for me at least, is to simplify things.  This way of travel Clara wrote about would not feel simplifying to me, but instead, extremely stressful.  

Although I would never, EVER want to travel like this, (no way, not ever!), I can embrace the idea of packing (a lot) lighter.  When I travel I always feel like I need a different outfit for every single day, but I realize now, this is ridiculous. Clara mentioned that after wearing her green sundress for 21 days straight, she knew she would be so sick of it (and it would be so worn out) she would likely never wear it again.  I'd like to bring more than just a dress if I went on a 3 week trip, but I will think about trying to get away with less next time I go on a vacation. I like that idea of always remembering that those clothes were that vacation's clothes.  Anytime I would wear the clothes after that vacation, it would remind me of being wherever I was.  That's kind of a cool idea to me!

Clara and Jeff did a lot of couch surfing with strangers while traveling.  Good for them, but oh Lordy, NO!, that is not for me! I want to know I've got a place to sleep each night I'm away from home, preferable with a bathtub (God, I'm such a diva with the cleanliness thing!), and definitely safe.

I liked this book- I was definitely interested in reading about this minimalist way of travel.  I never felt really sucked into the the story about the relationship between Clara and Jeff-  They left their relationship so undefined, so it was undefined for me as well and I didn't really care all that much. 

6.5 out of 10.

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