The 35lt Challenge

I spent most of the day today searching for a backpack until I realised that it’s actually way too soon to be worrying about that but it did make me think about a thing or two.

Over the last two years I have moved house seven times as well as moved country. The first time I moved it took me weeks to sort out all my belongings and in an effort to make the ordeal that little bit easier, I must have thrown out close to ten bin bags full of things I no longer needed/wanted. Funnily enough, the second time I still had bin bags worth of stuff to throw out and the same goes for every subsequent house-move. Now, I do not shop very often so I assumed that the more I moved, the less I relied on useless crap. Moving to Ireland really was crunch time; I whittled my personal belongings down to 2 suitcases and a carry-on and 2 boxes which were later shipped over. Funnily enough though, I still have stuff lying about in my room, which I don’t use.

There is absolutely no way I am going to go travelling with a suitcase. I am not prepared to lug something like that round the world with me. What this means is I am going to have to get rid of pretty much everything I own (the whole 2 suitcases, 2 boxes and a carry-on and all the stuff I’ve accumulated since!). Contrary to what you might expect, I absolutely loved the idea of the freedom that owning nothing but the contents of a backpack could bring. I started off the day looking at 60lt travel packs with fancy little detachable day packs and then I got reading this page, which talks about how much better it is to travel as light as possible, with nothing more than a 35 – 40lt pack. The more I read, the more it made sense, but at the same time I couldn’t help but think, “Can I really do that?”

As ‘unattached’ as I think I am to my belongings, that’s not really the reality, is it? Well, to be more accurate, I’m not really attached to my belongings but I find it so alien to think of going months with only 2 or 3 changes of clothes, little to no make up, jewellery or accessories. As uncomfortable as it is to admit it, as I write this I realise that the reason I balked at the idea of owning nothing but the absolute essentials is because I am slightly embarrassed at what people may think if I look less than perfect or don’t wear something different everyday. It sounds ridiculous when I put it into words but I’ll bet I’m not the only one to think that way. There’s definitely something a little wrong when I feel that people will judge my worth based on my belongings but that’s the way most of us have been programmed thanks to advertising and the lovely consumerist society we’re brought up in. The more I think about it, the happier I am to take on the ‘challenge’ of the 35lt backpack.

You’re not your job. You’re not how much money you have in the bank. You’re not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You’re not your fucking khakis.

– Fight Club

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3 Responses

  1. thiswaste says:

    I've been struggling with the same concept recently. Wish I could say all my belongings fit into one bag, but they don't, and it IS because I pay a lot of attention to clothes/makeup etc.

    You may want to look up capsule closet challenges. Bloggers choose 10 (eg) items of clothing and wear only them for a month, making as many diff. outfits as possible.

  2. Hannah says:

    I could probably narrow down the things I wear regularly to close to that number anyway!

  3. thiswaste says:

    Absolutely – me too. It's just comforting to have a choice I suppose.

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