Tuesday, July 1, 2014

On Packing Light

I am notorious for packing heavy. I am the girl who always has one of almost anything you might ever need. Sometimes I blame this on my time as a nanny (Mary Poppins bag and all that), but the truth is I was like this long before I started work.

So imagine my sense of great achievement when I set off last Friday for a three-day weekend away with only one duffel and my handbag. I know, I know, that’s a normal amount of luggage right?!

But it was all the more notable because I had just finished reading Allison Vesterfelt’s inspired book ‘Packing Light’.

I am a sucker for a good road trip story. I still harbour the slightly odd dream of driving across America (I probably should start with Australia, but I feel America calling). So I picked up a copy of the audiobook for free on Noisetrade a little while back (you can still get a free sampler there). But this book is so much more than just the story of Ally and Sharaya’s roadtrip. It is a reflection about the decisions we make in life and what we carry on our journeys— both metaphorical and physical. And while Allison doesn’t use this descriptive, the story is about being brave.
“You don’t have to go. You can stay home. It’s up to you. But if you let fear stop you from doing what you really want to do, you’ll regret that forever.” 
Allison writes with such clarity about that stage in your twenties and early thirties of trying to figure out where you are going and what you want from life. Whether you struggle with the same questions as Ally- singleness, financial security, vocation- you can still learn so much from these reflections.

As the pair of friends attempt to journey across all fifty states of America, Ally grows and learns how to pack; what to bring, what to leave behind and what to let go of along the way— whether they be expectations or dreams or difficult decisions made with the best intentions. And there is hope. The further along the road they travel, clarity arrives and peace becomes more present. The bravery of launching out is rewarded with freedom and new, better things.

I have so much to learn about packing light, both physically and metaphorically. Allison’s book has shaken me well out of my comfort and prodded me on my own journey. I'll probably always struggles to pack light when traveling, but I hope I can learn to live life with a little less baggage too.

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