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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Traveling in Prehistoric Times

There are so many things that make our traveling easier these days. Apps, Tripadvisor, online maps and GPS, travel blogs. And still I wish for more. I wish for an option “to set back all the novelties – and travel like in the old times”. I am not so old yet (well, it depends on the perspective, my 37 is a stone age for the teens :)), but sometimes I feel like a grumpy old-fashioned lady from another century. When I start recollecting, I wonder if there are still many people who could understand what I’m saying. Let’s do it for a while!

Do you remember travelling without google maps? When you had to ask strangers for the way and figure out the instructions in any language. The best were Spaniards. On my feeble and polite “Hablas ingles? Do you speak English?”, followed by their energetic “Si, si, si” – “Where is this place?” they would almost grab my hand and go: “Mira, guapa, todo recto, de recha, al fondo, primera – no, segunda – si”. And I would just read their hand movements and improve my Spanish vocabulary immediately.

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Postcards from Florence: Don’t Repeat My Mistakes

During our Easter visit to Rome we wanted to get the most of our journey and decided to take a day trip to Florence. Especially, after finding out that the new train line allowed to reach it in just 1,5 hours. I visited Florence once, on my 5-day trip through Italy, some 7 years ago, but that was the time when a train ride took almost three hours ( I enjoyed it a lot, listening to Eros Ramazzoti on my iPod and watching the Italian fields flow by). This time I googled  day-trips from Rome and was lucky to find a blog that recommended Florence and Italo trains that take you there. Because this new speed train takes just one and a half hour, which makes it perfect for a day trip. The blog said that they are punctual too (we had a different experience with it, as you will see). Why not go?

Because it was Easter and there were tourists everywhere, I proposed to go on Monday, when the crowds would start to go back to their homes. But this Easter Rome got really unlucky with the weather (you can find my report on it here) and we had to change our plans. I was checking the weather forecast every three hours – and saw that Easter Sunday was due to be rainy in Rome. But not in Florence. This is how our decision was made. We escape the rain and go to the beautiful Florence. Yuhuu! (that was my most stupid idea ever, as you will also see)

postcards from Florence
pastel colors and Michelangelo skies

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If Cities Were People

What if cities were people? I remember a friend saying to me: “Everybody says that Moscow is a she, but I would disagree. European cities are feminine, but Moscow is a very masculine one”. I believe that every city has its soul and I am always eager to explore it when traveling. Today I want to share my impressions of some cities whose heart I got to know. I am very curious if you agree or disagree on my conclusions about their character.

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Postcards from Rome: Fading Beauty

On our short trip to Rome we managed to catch several days of rain. I considered us really unlucky on that trip – but as I think again, maybe we were lucky? Because we could get the views that are quite seldom for this city. And catch some beauty just before it faded away. It was everywhere: in the dark stormy skies with seldom rays of sun, in the reflections on the wet pavement, in the sudden rainbow which disappeared as fast as it popped, in the raindrops on the cafe tables that got carried away just in a minute after I took that shot. Isn’t it amazing that even such a tourist misfortune as rain can teach us a lesson of looking closely and spotting beauty – because it can be gone so fast?

Postcards from Rome
dark and light and a sudden rainbow

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Postcards from Rome: The Food Stories

From every place I visit, I try to take with me this one souvenir: a food story. My friend even noticed once: “You talk so much about food!”” which made me blush at first (Who? Me, so cultural and philosophical? :)) But then I realized: how can one love life without loving to eat? It is the closest connection to passion, a very physical experience. So now I continue talking about food without the false modesty. And when you go to a country like Italy how can you leave the food out? That’s why my postcards this time will be part photos, part juicy memories.

I had been to Rome once before, when, on a five-day trip, I visited Milano, Florence and Rome. When my friends asked me about my plans for the trip I honestly said: pizza, pasta, tiramisu. This time my goals were not so clearly pronounced, but it was clear: it is going to be much about pizza and pasta (and sometimes risotto) again. We even hopped on a train to Naples – to eat the best pizza in the world (which I still need to test more, because, ironically, I was not in the pizza mood and was eating pasta instead. To be precise, spaghetti vongole (with seafood) with the sea view to match it and the Capri island in the distance). Mind you, I am not the kind of travel blogger who does useful posts like “what to do” and “where to eat”. Mine are just stories that make me smile, little practical information included. Hope, it is ok with you, as it is very ok with me 🙂

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