No Baggage Challenge

Baggage makes order of a frantic material world.  I can think of my purse, my gym bag, my bike pannier, my reusable grocery bag, a backpack for school, a shoulder bag for larger things my purse can’t hold, and my lunch bag; that’s seven bags I use frequently throughout the week.  And when I travel, I have bags within bags that function like a perfect filing system.  In my backpack (I usually take a backpack) is my main toiletry bag, which has within it separate bags or containers for soap, shampoo, makeup, medicines etc, which are themselves small containers.  Baggage and storage create order for us in the middle of a crazy world of material goods.  They have become not only a practicality, but a cause for comfort like an adult security blanket (smart phones being the teddy bear), and so integrated into the normal day that they are almost never thought of.

The image of myself on a plane without some sort of bag is impossible to create.  I tried to picture myself strolling down the aisle, both hands in my pockets, and slipping directly into my assigned seat.  Just sitting there quietly while everywhere around me, luggage was being hammered into overhead bins, and purses were being kicked into floor space.  Imaginary me looked like a lunatic–maybe even suspicious.  There is no way I could go to another country without the comfort of even some small weight upon my back.  A bulging weight that tells me I didn’t lose something, and that tells others I’m not crazy.

My mom, who easily embraces the revolutionary while comfortably making no volutions, proded me to investigate the No Baggage Challenge for myself.  On this challenge, travelers trek with only the specific name-brand jacket (that is a maze of hidden pockets and secret zippers) on their back.  The most evident sacrifice, that probably requires the most adjustment, is the clothing capacity.  Bagless travelers expect to fold away only one spare clothing set within their jacket, switching sets and washing frequently.  I toyed with her challenge and figured there are only two circumstances that would make no-baggage travel practical–neither of which categories I belong to.

This jacket is designed for the Modern Minimalist.  According to the design of this travel jacket, you’ve simplified your living situation to necessitate only an iPad, an iPod, an iPhone, your wallet, and (space-granting) a few helpful toiletries.

This jacket works best for travelers who have money.   You don’t need to trail stuff after you if you have the ability to buy and dispose in guiltless abandon. Having money is undoubtedly the most feasible way to make bagless travel work.

Now, if you can manage to get away with no-bag travel, there are a few ideal benefits.  Just get up and go: there is no need to tether yourself between hotels solely to accommodate your stuff.  Avoid the tourist trap: there is no desire to fill extra space with souvenirs if that extra space is going to be pressed against your body for the duration of the trip.  There will be no extra baggage fees, and less chance of misplacing some extraneous item in the constant shuffle of travel.

So if the culture works for you, then bagless travel isn’t the most ridiculous solution to luggage rack fatigue.  In the course of history, if we have moved in the direction from trunks to suitcases to rolling backpacks, then jacket-luggage is visibly the next step.  I can accept that.  For some of us, though, who have kids, medical, comfort, hygiene and beauty needs, travel will continue to be bagful.


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