07 July 2015 by Anna Staford
Meet our travel expert Brittany, the creator of the Simple Living and Travel blog. She is a lively, free spirited girl who couldn't be more thrilled about life. Brittany is very passionate about simple, healthy living and travelling around the world. She enjoys being happy and free, creating YouTube videos about her passions and adventuring the world with her backpack or in her RV. We've asked Brittany to share her insight on travelling while living the simple life.
The desire to travel has always been a part of me. From a young age I remember eagerly looking forward to my next big road trip or weekend camping trip, pouring over maps with my dad and envisioning the adventures ahead. The idea of seeing new places, new faces and experiencing different ways of life has always intrigued me. Over time this curiosity has shaped the way I live my life and the frequency with which I travel. Now I would say my life is something of a constant adventure, a trip that I am always on.
Growing up in a house which felt cluttered with excess stuff, I noticed that I found a lot of enjoyment and peace in cleaning, organizing, and getting rid of things. In college when I began to travel to international destinations regularly, both for short trips and to live abroad, I quickly realized how much of a pain it was to take long trips with a bunch of stuff. Each time I travelled, I brought fewer belongings and noticed how much freer I felt with every item I shed. As my lengths of time out in the world increased I noticed a trend of desiring the simplicity I felt out on the road to permeate my home life. So I began to integrate practices I had learned during my explorations into my everyday life, and one of those lessons was in living with less. Living a more minimalist lifestyle has definitely increased my happiness. This is not because I think people are inherently happier with less stuff, but rather because I think that by getting in touch with ourselves and following what feels right for us we can find true happiness. When I dug deep and saw what was important to me I was thrilled to find that most material objects didn’t make the cut.
To me simple travelling means traveling with the essentials- with those things that will help support the ideal experience that you want to have- and leaving anything that is excess behind. This goes for items you will carry with you but also for any non-physical baggage. Are there patterns you could let go of to enhance your travel (or living) experience? Is your mental and emotional space clear for new experiences? Are you open and ready to receive this day as an exciting new adventure?
If I am going for a short trip I am down for just about anything and I really do love experiencing diverse destinations. However, if I’m going to spend any sort of significant time somewhere, these are my must-haves: warm weather, sunshine, fresh clean air, beautiful scenery, delicious, ripe, affordable fruits and vegetables, an acro community and other communities of people that share my passions, and an easy system for bike travel.
That’s a great question, with probably a lot of potentially great answers. For those who are looking to have a simpler attitude towards travel, I would suggest working on tapping into your curiosity and ability to play. Can you remember being a child and how everything felt like an adventure? Do you remember experiencing the wonder of appreciating the world around you and really enjoying the simple joys? Can you find that child-like curious, playful place within you and access your genuine wonder about the world? From there perhaps we can connect with our simple, real desire to explore.
Listening to my gut. In general I have found that following what feels right for me has always kept me right where I want to be. I notice that if I ever find myself in an uncomfortable situation I seem to have gotten there by doing something that was counter intuitive. When traveling there have been different times that something I was doing, or was about to do just didn’t feel quite right and at those times I have honoured that feeling. In doing so I think I have stayed clear of a lot of potentially not good situations. I trust myself and really believe that I don’t have anything to fear.
Haha, that’s a fun question. I guess it depends what you mean by “craziest”. I hopped on a plane less than 12 hours after booking a ticket, travelled for lovers half way across the globe, moved solely for my passion to pursue partner acrobatics, and moved away from beautiful relationships in the name of my gypsy blood. I have also jumped from cliffs and waterfalls, hiked up mountains and through jungles, journeyed on overnight busses, couch surfed with relative strangers, and the list goes on. Perhaps the craziest thing of all though has been, well…my life as I now know it. Leaving my steady desk job, everyone I knew, getting rid of 99% of my belongings, and forging out on this constant adventure that I now know as my comfortable vagabonding life. The craziest and most normal thing I have ever done while traveling has been deciding that I never want to stop.
Living in it! In my experience gaining this familiarity has been all about immersion. Even after years of studying Spanish I did not become fluent until fully immersing myself in the language, at which point it happened quite rapidly. On many occasions I have found myself experiencing some level of apprehension about fitting into a new culture or space, however upon arriving and diving into daily life I was quickly swept away by the excitement of what was going on. Staying with host families and Couchsurfing are great ways to have a real “in the life of…” experience in whatever destination you are traveling to. And overall, being present, curious and opening up to interact with the world around me has been the most enjoyable and easy way for me to feel comfortable everywhere.
Vagabonding by Rolf Potts.
Wow, honestly nothing has been that hard. OK, well maybe there is one thing. I still own my Vitamix blender, however unless I am going to be in one place for a while I do not have it with me. It doesn’t make the cut for my 28L pack, so I leave it in loving custody of family or friends much of the time. As a raw vegan smoothie, “ice cream”, and dressing enthusiast I have been known to run the Vitamix up to 3 times in one day. Luckily for me many of my friends own these blenders and I have found that the time away from the also allows me a chance to explore eating my favourite foods differently.
Two small packing cubes filled with my clothing, a sleeping bag, a waterproof wind breaker, toiletry kit, a headlamp, an eye mask, ear plugs, laptop, smart phone, e-reader, one small pouch of electronics cables, a thin and flexible cutting board, knife, chop sticks, spoon, water bottle, quick dry towel, multitool, a pen and mini notebook, a small day pack and 3 reusable stuff sack bags.
I have found that no matter what area of my life I am working on bettering, what activity I am growing in, what relationship I am diving deep into, and so on, there is one practice that keeps showing up, reminding me how essential it is for all areas of my health and personal growth. This is the practice of self-observation and the pursuit of full self-love. The practice of being present and aware of what is going on both inside of us and out is such a powerful exercise. In this mindful act we really have the ability to observe without attachment or resistance, but rather just for the sake of being with what is. From that place we can learn so much about ourselves and the world around us. We can genuinely appreciate things as they are and we can learn to love them fully.
We thank Brittany for sharing her exciting experience in changing her lifestyle and discovering new destinations. We admire her unique outlook and wish her to find even more things to be passionate about. Brittany is a true inspiration for all the people wishing to change their lives and find true enjoyment in travelling the world.