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Blog: Traveling Light -- Packing A Little Freedom In Your Suitcase
You Can Always Come Back

One of the biggest challenges for me when I travel is trying not to overdo it. My husband and I are "banzai" vacationers. When we visit a location, we want to see everything, experience everything, do everything possible before we leave town. I have always had this idea that we might never be back there again, and if I miss something, that's it -- I've missed it forever.

I realize now that this fear came from the restriction of really only traveling once a year. Our "vacation" was a big deal, we went to a lot of trouble to plan a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and blew our wad (in terms of days off) all at once. We had a ton of fun on these trips, but there was always something I had wanted to do and didn't get to (you know how that works) -- and I generally returned with a vague sense of dissatisfaction about the trip. It hadn't quite lived up to my dreams.

Plus, trying to fit in everything that a city has to offer in 10 days or 2 weeks is nigh on to impossible. When we went on our honeymoon, we spent nearly 3 weeks in DC (yes, people thought we were retarded -- they asked why we weren't going to Hawaii or Tahiti or someplace tropical; my husband and I both spent most of our growing up years in south Florida and we wanted culture instead of beaches -- great restaurants, a million free museums, the Kennedy Center -- what can I say, we don't do anything like other people do). Anyway, my point is that there is no way in hell you can see or do everything in that time -- we live in the DC area now and are still always discovering neat little hidden treasures that we didn't know about.

But somewhere along the way, we started taking a larger number of smaller trips throughout the year. I can't tell you how fabulous this was. Not only did we get more breaks from the pressures of everyday life (any chance to get away from it all for just a few days is a good one) -- but we felt less compelled to try and kill ourselves on each trip when we knew we would only be there a short time. We got to see more new destinations in a year's time, and our enjoyment level for each shot through the roof.

It's all about expectations. If I thought that I had a chance of checking off all my "to-do's" in a new city during our trip, I would push from dawn 'til dusk to reach that goal. But when I recognized that there was clearly no way it was going to happen (like trying to see all of Chicago in a weekend), my mind let go of a potentially unrealistic expectation, I could relax, pick a few of the most important things I wanted to do on that trip, and let go of the rest.

We travel a lot more often now, so I've accepted the fact that we can always come back later if there is something we missed. Now that we have the Airstream and will be traveling pretty much continually starting next spring (we're several steps closer to hitting the road with this huge yard sale we had last weekend), I think that the pressure to do it all will be lessened even more. We'll be able to ramble as we please -- and if we miss something our first pass through the area, we can catch it the next time around. It's going to be heaven!

I know that not everyone has the luxury (or the desire) to live on the road. But if you suffer from "once-a-year-itis" with your vacations, you might consider whether it would be more enjoyable to split that one big trip up into several smaller journeys, spread throughout the year. I know it made a tremendous difference in the way we look at travel -- and how much enjoyment we get from our trips!

posted on: 11/5/2007 6:16:23 AM by Ramona Creel
category: Travel

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(Coming February 2008)


Traveling Light -- Packing A Little Freedom In Your Suitcase

by Ramona Creel

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About Ramona:

I am a former Social Worker, a Professional Organizer, and the founder of www.OnlineOrganizing.com -- all of which are very fulfilling. But at the age of 35, I and my husband Matt have decided to radically simplifying our lives -- we're packing our cats and the business into a 29-foot Airstream Excella and hitting the road to become full-time nomads. In doing so, we are learning to live with less, focus on today, and spend more time doing what we really love (which in my case is travel, photography, and writing). My goal in life is to share my experiences with others to allow them to find their own paths to freedom. You can find out more about my adventures when my new website launches in January.

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