Two and a half years ago I waved goodbye to my mum at London Heathrow Airport with nothing more than a backpack and a huge grin on my face, ready for my most exciting adventure to date.
I’d spent weeks preparing for a year long trip through Asia and Australia, with a significant amount of that preparation taken up by packing. I was determined to pack as lightly as possible, knowing that every item would be an extra weight on my back, carefully weighing up what I actually needed in an attempt to reduce the load.
This post isn’t about packing though. At least not in the sense of how to pack, but rather how learning to survive on the most basic essentials is one of the most liberating experiences you can have. The backpack that accompanied my travels contained my sole belongings for over a year and yet it was more than enough; even without my backpack, I would still have had access to food, water and shelter.
The longer I travelled, the more I realized how much emphasis modern society places on having material things and how stifling this is in terms of a person’s personal and spiritual development. While relying only on what I could fit inside my backpack, I gained a new sense of freedom and appreciation, and having ‘stuff’ became unimportant very quickly.
What was important was the fact that there I was, exploring some of the most breath-taking places on Earth, and loving every minute of it. I could not help but feel exceedingly thankful for the opportunity that I had to travel, knowing how privileged I was to go on this journey of education and self-discovery; a journey that allowed me to broaden my mind and immerse myself in new, fascinating cultures.
Ultimately, traveling with nothing taught me the value of living with nothing. While my mind was engaged in survival mode, it ensured that I lived completely in the moment and that I made the most of all experiences on offer. My trip was life-changing in many ways; but perhaps the lesson in simple living was the most profound of all.
Follow Charlotte Pordage on her journeys here.