human kindness and the importance of travelling light

I just made my way to Australia for the second time in my life. When I was younger, Australia seemed like a very far off land that you could’t really go to unless you were very rich and very adventurous. There’s a lot of things that my younger self thought that haven’t quite turned out to be true, of course, but my family hadn’t really travelled far unless it was for work, and I couldn’t see myself working with anything that would take me to the magical land down under. I would never have believed, had you told me when I was ten, that I’d be going to Australia twice in my life (at least!).

I was 100% sure that my baggage allowance was 30kg, but as it turns out, it was only 20. I had tried very hard to take only the non essentials and leave everything behind that I couldn’t absolutely see myself using a lot during three months, and I still weighed in at 28.5 kilos. I suppose I am pretty materialistic. I’m not even sure what it is that I’ve brought that weighs so much, but maybe I’ll open my luggage and find I’ve brought my pet anvil.

Obviously, going over by that much doesn’t come cheap, but the check in attendant asked me to repack a little bit as otherwise she’d have to charge me 190 pounds(!!!) and of course I obliged. I like to try shedding the non essentials along the way, and travel light not only when I am going somewhere, but through life. Beauty is an important ideal, but I’d like to think that it can be achieved with minimal luggage. I am constantly torn between this belief, informed by my dear grandmother, who spent the last five years of her life trying to throw everything non essential away and still leaving us with way too much stuff after she passed, and my natural tendency to hoard absolutely everything, which I believe also comes from her. It’s a struggle.

Oh, and they didn’t charge me at all. The second time I came to the check in desk, the attendant seemed pleased that I’d at least made the effort, so she let me through scot free. Sometimes all you need is a smile on your face and people will do what they can to keep it there.

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