Okay, this isn’t really related to anything, but a bunch of people have been asking me for travel tips.

Maybe because of the past couple months teaching workshops in California, New Mexico and North Carolina? Though it could also have to do with having moved countries three times.

And since I’m probably on a plane as you’re reading this, on the way to my yearly teaching trip in Berlin for two months, I guess now is as good a time as any.

Though I really have to say, I’m no expert.

You’d probably be better off just paying attention to Chris Guillebeau. Or re-reading that Tim Ferris piece about how to pack smart.

But if you want some of the how, I guess I can do that. Well, I can tell you what Selma and I do at least.

This is the dorkiest piece of advice I’ve ever given.

I really only have one travel tip, and here it is:

Travel light.

I know that’s kind of annoying.

Like, if I could travel light I would.

Or, if I knew how to travel light and didn’t have a million things I needed, that would work too.

So I apologize. But it’s what I’ve got.

So. Here are some of the things I do, both “in the hard” (literally, in real life) and “in the soft” (in my head).

Traveling light: in the hard.

  • Socks. I don’t bring them. I bring 2 pairs and then I buy socks in Berlin. I used to live near a weird dollar-store type place in the east, so I usually go there.
  • Warm clothes: I bring one sweater and one jacket that fold up small. If I need anything else there, I go to Humana (the huge second-hand place) and buy a sweater for a couple euros.
  • Before I leave Berlin, I take whatever I’ve bought there and leave it at one of the Free Boxes (in a cafe or a co-op or an anarchists collective or something).
  • Underwear from exofficio (bring 2-3 pairs, wash in the sink, they dry super fast)
  • There is an excellent Kindle app for the iPhone. Which means … not having to pack books! I buy a bunch of Kindle-ized books and keep them on my phone. I was worried it would be uncomfortable reading but it’s totally not. My gentleman friend uses the Eucalyptus iPhone app for reading public-domain books, and loves it.
  • Since I use baking soda or coffee grounds for shampoo and make conditioner from an egg, olive oil and lemon juice, I (hooray!) don’t need to pack stuff like that.
  • And … I pretty much wear the same thing all the time anyway. So no one expects anything different when I travel!

So yeah. Really the “trick” is … not having a lot of stuff, and not worrying about it.

And I don’t know how to teach people how to do that, which is why (as I said) I might not be the right person to ask about this stuff.

Traveling light: in the soft.

Lightness. That’s the quality.

And I work with it like this:

“Even though I feel stressed and anxious because I don’t know what’s going to happen next, I’m allowed to feel stressed and anxious.

“Even though I don’t like this feeling, I’m just reminding myself that every time I’ve done this, things have worked out fine.

“Even if not everything works out fine, I’ll be taking notes for next time.

“Even if I end up hating everything, I’m getting better at being adventurous. Whee! Adventure mouse!

“Even though this is reminding me of some really hard parts of my life, I’m allowed to have those memories and I’m allowed to remind myself that now is not then.

“Even though it’s hard for me to have this lightness in my life, I’m getting better at bringing lightness into my life.

“Even though I’m totally resisting the lightness, I’m also allowed to have grounding and stability if and when I want them.”

That’s all I’ve got.

For now, at least.

Comment zen for today.

We’ve all got our stuff. We’re all working on our stuff. We try to respond to each other with as much, you know, compassion and respect as we can stand. Mensch-like: it’s how we roll.

What I’d rather not have: judgment.

What I would love: tips that you have, stuff you’ve tried, things you’re thinking about related to traveling.