What do I need becomes a different question when packing. Especially packing with the goal of only traveling with one personal item. Do I need four or five shirts? Will I have enough warm clothes for the northeast winter weather? Item by item, the packing puzzle is put together. As I decide what to bring and what to leave behind, I am aware that the restriction is one I have chosen. Well, chosen based on two things. One is my preference to be able to navigate airports, subways, and streets with minimal encumbrances. The other is the airline restrictions and charges. I’ve lived a simple life for many years due to circumstances, and gratefully now more out of choice. 

Living simply is something I am familiar with, and like most people, there is a part of me that would love to be pampered. The desire to live simply is stronger and as I pare down to the basic essentials for a three-week trip, I struggle with the spectrum of luxury and simplicity. Can I really live for three weeks without this blue shirt? Or my slipper socks? I look at the luggage that will ultimately fit under an airline seat and remove one more item that would be nice to have but clearly I can live without. It’s not as if I’m going to a remote place. I’m going to New York City where anything I need is available 24/7. What do I need for this trip? Really need? Will the experience of attending a Broadway play be different if I wore the same shirt from two days ago? Luxury or simplicity, do they need to be on different ends of the spectrum? I recall a suggestion about packing. Layout all you plan on taking and then remover half the items. What if I did that with other aspects of my life? What if I left out half the words packed inside my body? What would alter in my life if I lived in half of my home? 

When I finally zip up the luggage, knowing I will have one piece of luggage to contend with, filled with all I need, ease and lightness fill my body. Now, I’m ready to enjoy my trip, focusing on what I will do instead of what I have with me. 

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