Pack Lightly. Travel Lightly

I love traveling with only a hand luggage. That teaches me to practice the art of minimalism.

When I can take a big suitcase, I usually throw in lots of things, hoping that they will work. Often I would end up with some pieces that I would never use on a trip. With the hand luggage and a week-long trip, I cannot thoughtlessly stuff in clothes. I need to choose, make combos and use my brain. When I pack then my carry-on, I end up with things I ultimately love. Just the best clothes, my favorite jewelry and simple solutions. I love simple solutions! And such packing makes me think about how I want to live my life. 

When I go out of my home, with my carry-on, I feel light and free. And in these moments I realize: this is how I want to live my life. Light and free. 

I could never call myself a minimalist. I jokingly admitted that I was a maximalist. And a Soviet child in me abhorred the idea of living with less things. I grew up with very few things! I wanted more – not less. More is more. 

Well then, “more is more” it will be. I had to go through that experience too. I did my share of buying stuff, of getting a wardrobe overflow and mess (while at the same time, sighing that I have nothing to wear 😆). Now I want to change my course. 

I want my life to be like my carry-on luggage. Only best things, only the most favorite ones. Real love – instead of just real stuff. I want few but quality products, quality experiences, my favorite people. To do the things I love, to meet people I love, to own clothes and jewelry I love. 

Maybe, this is a sign of getting older – and I am ok with it. There was this idea on my favorite podcast “The good life project”: “When people are young, they do a lot of things and go to a lot of parties. But it often happens that you go to a party, meet 20 new people. 10 are boring, 5 are weird, 2 are freaks, and only 3 are worth a second chance. The youth have to search, sift through and find what works for them. The older people don’t do it – because they have found what works for them. They have three people in their life – but they are the best ones. The older people do the things they love, meet the people they love and don’t need going to hundred of parties”. 

Maybe, it’s not true for everyone. Maybe, you are that kind of older person who loves partying and meeting new people 😉. But I love this ability of getting more quality-conscious with age. Getting older is not bad, really! If it lets you create the life with better quality and the things you love, leaving the rest behind. 

This point sheds a new light on the idea of minimalism. It is not about restricting myself. It is about creating better quality. In all I have and do. In clothes, at home, at how I spend my time. In my relationships, hobbies, vacations. 

I am ready to explore this side of minimalism. Not the ascetic one, but the one that lets me sift out the real luxury. 

Because I don’t want much. I just want the best 😆 I want to pack lightly and travel lightly. In all kind of senses. 

What kind of luggage packer are you? How do you like to travel? And how has your attitude changed through years? 

Oslove: Everything That Moves

I came from Rome with postcards of everything, inspired throughout to my fingertips. Among other things I shared was my collection of Everything That Moves. I don’t know how, but looking through my older photos of Oslo brought me to a simple insight: Oslo has no less postcard-worthy bikes, scooters and small cars. Isn’t it strange that you have to travel to a new place – so that the treasures of your own place can be discovered by you anew?

We get so used to the same town, the same streets. So we travel to break away from the routine. And traveling away seems not only to provide such a break – but also to bring a new inspiration that can be found on the same old streets. Interesting!

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The Real Luxury

Many wish for designer clothes or bags – my biggest wish is for life by design. And may the design be my own.

For almost a year I was working in the department store in Oslo that sells the most expensive and exclusive brands. Lately Norwegians have gotten more interest for the high-end products and Oslo started to develop its own area of luxury shopping. Some years ago these streets were filled with kiosks, small shops and cafes. Now in their place there are all the famous fashion names.

Walking past them every day, I had enough time and opportunity to contemplate about luxury. And I came to conclusion that, for me, luxury is not Louis and Gucci, not flying with a private jet, popping champagne bottles. The greatest luxury for me is to live my life by my terms and rules.

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Sunny Coffee Sum-up

Two months ago I was telling you the story that Sunny coffees are not from Norway – and now I have to eat my words.  Guys, the past month Oslo has seen the amount of sun and heat that equals, maybe, to the five years of total sunshine in Norway. We hadn’t been talking about anything else than that. And we hadn’t been doing anything else than doing summer. In Scandinavian style. But I was also drinking coffee. And taking snaps of it. And snaps are for sharing! So here are my sunny coffees, in their summer style – in Norway!

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My Mindfulness Practice

I am a firm believer that the art of life is created by small steps. Small habits, small adjustments. I have never been a fan of resolutions like “From Monday on I start a new life”, but advocated for the small changes one can make – first as an experiment – in order to change one’s quality of life.

I believe in the health and happiness that start from the inside out – from our mind and soul. I have tried to set big goals for myself, like meditating for 20 minutes every day, but I struggled to keep it as a daily routine. However, the small practices seem to stick with me. Today I want to share those that work for me.

My Mindfulness Practice
my favorite bench

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Scandi Style: Your Favorite Thing

Once in Ukraine I bought a bread with the name “Danish bread”. I am sure, there was nothing Danish about it, the producers just wanted to give it a fancy name. I was a student back then, just 20 years old, who had never travelled outside of Ukraine, except to Russia. The name of the bread made me wonder: “What do I know about Denmark? And Scandinavia?” I tried to make a mental list in my head. And was always messing up the capitals (“Oslo is the capital of Finland, and Helsinki – of Sweden?”). Ok, so Denmark is easy. It’s Copenhagen, the Little Mermaid and H. C. Andersen. Sweden is Astrid Lindgren and Pippi Longstocking (I was a literature student and it was easier to name books than IKEA. I had no idea about IKEA then). Norway? Ok, fjords. And Finland – just sauna and that’s it?

I still remember the kind of hunger I felt – hunger to fill in my blanks about that part of the world. I had no idea then that I could end up living in Scandinavia. And those blanks would be filled, with overflow actually 🙂 Already as a child, I had loved Scandinavian fairytales, Moomin trolls by Tove Jansson, H.C. Andersen – and I wonder if this could be a secret reason why I came to live here in the North, though I have never dreamt about it explicitly. Maybe, it was my subconscious dream 🙂

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Easy Living in the Summertime

Scandinavian summer is the best. When it happens. And it happens. This year we have experienced a natural miracle: three weeks of summer in a row! In May. Like never before. It never happens in May. It very seldom happens during the summer too. When the temps go up to 30 degrees – and stay there. When evenings are so warm that you don’t need a jacket. Some say, it’s the global warming, some say, it is the direct wind from Sahara, blowing between the low and the high pressure (can it reach all the way up to the North?). It’s unbelievable, but it’s true. While the South of Europe is cold and rainy – Norway, for once, is enjoying the real summer!

Scandinavian summer is the best because it is never too hot. Only a bit too warm at night because the houses are built for winter, not for summer, no one has AC and the fans get sold out with the speed of light these days. Even though it is burning in the sun, the shadow is always cool and the wind is refreshing. This is the best version of summer I ever know! If it would last for three months, like it does in other places, who would travel to the South? To the full airports, taxis, hotels, packed up beaches. Who? Usually we have to go because we need sunshine. As it is said here: “I love Norwegian summer. It is the best day of the year”. That’s the real reason why we travel. One day is just not enough 🙂 But if it would last  – the rest of the world would come to us in summer! 🙂

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