[enter, summer adventures]

Let’s just say that summer adventures are a rather marvelous thing. I’ve set out upon exploring the intrepid unknown in more ways than just one – literally and figuratively. God has placed me in situations that take me far outside of my comfort zone and I am watching myself being stretched and grown in the process. Unexpected. This summer has been wildly unexpected. In the midst of all of that, the past month has been one full of moments worth capturing and storing away in my collection of memories. Flying alone again. Catching fireflies. Cherry picking. Laughing with friends. Enjoying time with family as we drive across the country. I’ve already been away from home for two weeks and the trip is still only just beginning. Looking forward to seeing what else is in store for the days ahead…

minimalist challenge

30 days. 465 items.

On June 1st, I began a minimalist challenge to purge my life of unnecessary objects so I can live more simply and be more effective without the distraction of too much stuff that clutters both my mental and physical spaces. Stuff is a distraction, and it’s a distraction that I don’t need or want. My parents and a few of my friends embarked upon the journey with me and we each got rid of one item on June 1st, two items on June 2nd, three items on June 3rd… continuing on in like manner until thirty objects were eliminated today bringing us to the grand total of 465 items removed from each of our lives in total. The more I got rid of, the more I wanted to eliminate and I know that this challenge is something I will do again and again in the future to motivate me to get rid of the unnecessary that causes me to have a cluttered mind and prohibits me from living a streamlined and simple life. When you have less, it’s easier to maintain a clean and organized existence.

I took a photo every day so I would be able to look back and have a visual of everything that I once held onto in my life but have since let go of. I’m not sharing all thirty photos, but here are a few that represent my month-long minimalist journey fairly accurately.

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”
-William Morris

packing for a month of travels

On July 1st, exactly one week from today, I am embarking upon a month of travels. First, I’m flying to visit friends in Maryland for a week before flying to the Midwest where I’ll meet up with my family who are going to be driving there. From there, we will all be road-tripping back to Maryland to stay with my grandparents on the Eastern Shore before heading back home and visiting Philadelphia and Colonial Williamsburg on the way. As a result, it’s going to be a trip full of lots of varied and different activities in a myriad of locations. And it’s going to be a hot and humid summer vacation. Because we’re going to be traveling with seven people + seven people’s stuff + coolers with food to eat on the road, we’re going to have very limited space so I’m packing all of my clothes, toiletries, and accessories for a month into a weekend bag.

My particular weekend bag is the large Allrounder by Reisenthel. It’s a great bag that I finally and just recently invested in and I know that I’m going to get a lot of use out of it in the future for camping get-aways, wedding weekends, and road trips. I found many tutorials online on how to roll your clothes to maximize space so I rolled all of my items and organized them into labeled bags so it would be easy to compress them for more space.

In order to bring as few items of clothing as possible but still be able to have variety in my outfits, I’m sticking to a color palette of black, gray, and denim for my basic pieces that I can mix-and-match and add light-weight scarves or jewelry to in order to add color and interest. I will definitely be doing laundry on the trip so that definitely helps in not having to pack quite so much.

I’m bringing three basic black tee-shirts, four blouses, one cardigan, two dresses, two pairs of pants, four skirts, two pairs of pajamas, one cargo jacket, one sweatshirt, three camisoles and two pairs of black leggings for layering, three pairs of shoes, five light-weight scarves, swimsuit, shorts, and rashguard, and a sunhat. Not pictured are socks and other such necessary items.

It looked like I was packing too much when I laid everything out, but then I had to keep reminding myself that I needed several different types of outfits for different destinations on the trip so I decided to commence with the packing and hope that everything fit.

I rolled each item of clothing and put it into a ziplock bag. Everything is organized and space-efficient. I didn’t do anything with my two jackets because I’ll be carrying them on the plane. I always try to carry my bulkiest item(s) with me and it has always worked out very well.

All the little bags of clothes fit into my travel bag with room to spare. Any extra space will be filled with toiletries, socks, etc., my sunhat, and shoes.

And here it is! All ready to go. I have at least two weeks’ worth of clothes in this bag with plenty of options for different outfits for different activites depending on where I end up throughout the course of the month of July.

Do you have any packing tips that you’ve found particularly helpful in your travels? If so, I’d very interested in hearing them.