What Travel Has Taught Me About Eliminating Unnecessary Things from My Life

by Kacey Mya Bradley | February 13, 2016 3:39 am

Websites and books are filled with examples of the things traveling can add to our lives: wisdom, new friends and more self confidence, just to name a few. However, I’ve found travel has also been a good motivator for helping me realize it’s okay to remove useless things from my life, too.

It’s Smart to Buy Souvenirs That Have Long Shelf Lives

Souvenir shops around the world are filled with novelty items ranging from pencils to magnets. These items seem cheap when you just look at their price tags, but if you invest a lot of money on that kind of merchandise, you could quickly go over budget. Rather that letting myself be lured into souvenir shops that sell commonplace merchandise, I’ve found it really pays off to look for other possibilities I’m likely to enjoy for much longer lengths of time.

A sweater that was hand woven by a local knitter in Ireland or a painting made by a Cambodian painter are two examples of things you could buy to remember your travels. They probably cost more than most of the stuff you’d buy in a shop geared towards tourists, but you’ll using your money to stock up on items you might just use for a month, and then stash in a drawer somewhere.

Spending your money to support the local economy by doing business directly with the people who’ve created the items being sold also teaches another worthy lesson about getting rid of unnecessary things. Buying from local residents means you might get opportunities to visit homes and studios when picking out your items.

Depending on the location of your travels, these workspaces could be extremely primitive. To you, they might seem extremely sparse, but the people who use them probably find them more than sufficient. After seeing how other people support their livelihoods, you just might feel inspired to thoroughly clean out your home office and donate unneeded items to a charitable organization in the community.

Regret is Usually an Unnecessary Burden That Could Be Improved Through Travel

Not all of the extraneous things in our lives are material in nature. Many people go about their daily activities often thinking many thoughts that begin with “If only I had done…” That train of thought often causes people to end up realizing they regret things. In some cases, our regrets can inspire positive changes. But, more often than not, regrets can cause us to not live life as fully as we should because we’re too stuck in the past to make progress.

Traveling could provide just the inspiration you need to live in the moment and not hold back. Since people are usually only in their destinations for limited times, that often naturally causes them to seize opportunities without delay. You may find travel makes regrets less burdensome, too.

If you get in the habit of eagerly exploring what’s available to you presently instead of dwelling on the past, you may start to view regrets as pointless. As long as you’re living life fully through various activities, it shouldn’t sting as much if you later realize you missed out on something while engaged in an equally stimulating activity.

Purity of Mind and Body Can Help Eliminate a Lack of Purpose

While traveling, I’ve often been very moved by people who make obvious efforts to maintain personal purity by treating their bodies well and calming the mind by dealing with stress in healthy ways. In yoga, such purity on a personal level is called Saucha.

It also relates to pureness of intentions. I’ve found people who are committed to living out the principle of Saucha are also very in tune with what they need for particular stages of life. Once people are aligned with those inner goals, they can dispose of the material things, harmful emotions or painful feelings that are causing them to act contrarily to personal objectives.

Keeping All Possessions in Their Rightful Place is a Worthy Aim

Cleaning the house is something that’s necessary, but probably wouldn’t rank among most people’s favorite activities. However, learning how to efficiently clean your home, resulting in living in a tidy house, makes it much easier to pack for upcoming trips, not to mention unpack more swiftly once arriving back home.

When you organize your home so everything has a specific place, it becomes a lot easier to discover the items you don’t use as often, and the ones you could potentially even give away to someone who needs them. Plus, when your house is clean, travel-specific tasks like finding the must-have items on your newly created packing list and organizing pet care items in a single place so they’re easily accessible for your dog sitter become much more manageable.

These tips are just a sampling of the ways I’ve learned to de-clutter my living space, mind and body through travel. You may find travel teaches you some similarly valuable lessons about doing more with less. At the very least, you’ll likely realize it’s almost always best to do away with as many non-crucial items as possible before departing for travel, so your suitcase won’t be overweight.

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