Minimalist Travel Cult – Why I Renounced My Faith

11698 25

Back in May last year, I joined the cult that is ‘minimalist travel‘ and decided to see what life would be like travelling with carry-on luggage only, as a three month challenge (and ended up doing five). Like any other religious organisation – I became indoctrinated quickly into the regime and committed my allegiance to the church of travelling light. I found myself making irrational defence statements for “my fellow people” who also travelled the world with a backpack, small enough for a kiddies lunchbox and maybe a pencil case (a very small pencil case) and who likewise had about three items of clothing to choose from.

Looking back, I have noticed that I was completely kidding myself. Like a battered wife; I clung on to the imaginary love that I wanted my object of desire to be. But he just left me with pain and took away a fraction of the best years of my life.

Yeah – minimalist travelling sucks! Well for me it does anyway. I don’t doubt that it works for others and the minimalist mantra goes hand in hand with the Tyler Durden quote;

“You don’t own your possessions – they own you.”


I like things that I own. Yeah, I said it. I am officially coming out of the flashpacking closet and affirming; “I AM WHAT I AM!” Accept me, or reject me as the person who I prefer to be. I want out of the minimalism game.

I’ve grown tired of pretending I’m somebody I’m not.

Exhausted with seeing all the other smart guys on a night out (Italians do it better) with their array of matching, deliciously metrosexual clothes – standing out like a peacock from the crowded ‘Singha’ vest wearing backpackers.

Dear minimalist travel; our fling was wild and intense, but I have found a new love and we are very happy together. She holds 65 litres and even an extra 15 for a day sack. (Not to mention beautiful extra compartments). I get more out of her than I ever did with you. I feel you were all take, take, take and I grew tired with being the only one who was putting something into this relationship.

You lied to me from the beginning, minimalist travel. And that hurts. The broken promises such as you would “save me time” still lingers in the air and I just want to move on with my life. Sure, it was intriguing and exciting at first. Skipping past massive airport queues (who we judged because they weren’t a part of our cult) when we departed airports, but what about when we arrived at the next leg of our journey? We still had to wait in visa queues, or go through airport security. By the time we got through – the other folks’ bigger luggage had already arrived – so not a lot of time was really saved at all.

I get the feeling that you just say the same shit to all the boys who you fall under your magnetic spell. I feel so stupid!

My new love doesn’t believe in limits. She supports me and and even has enough room for fitness equipment and I don’t have to worry about aftershave, deodorant, toothpaste and a zillion other liquids that are a pain in the arse to not travel with.


I wish you well, minimalist travel. Although I don’t know what I ever did see in you, there are many others who do. Enjoy them and be happy together. And I’ll know who they are – because they will be the smelly travellers with a teeny backpack, looking down on me when I’m unpacking my sexy wireless headphones, indispensable new beard trimmer and more than 2 pairs of clothes.

This is indeed a breakup and no, there won’t be; “one more time” for memories sake. It’s not me; it’s you. Oh, and I totally faked it. Every time.

Minimalist travellers Vs Flashpackers – which are you? Have you ever transcended between the two? Did minimalism seduce you too? 



Join the Conversation


  1. OCDemon Reply

    Don’t feel spurned, minimalism. He just didn’t appreciate you. Unable to see past your slender frame and inadequate ability to carry more than daintily-sized loads, he failed to grasp your greatest strength of all: Your extraordinary ability to enable sheer laziness. Come with me, my darling. We’ll see the world together. And I promise I’ll never let you wallow down there with the other checked luggage.

    1. Anthony Reply

      Have fun together, you’re made for each other 😉

  2. Ian Ord - Where Sidewalks End Reply

    bahahaha – great post and I understand your pains – I’ve witnessed so many of them. Though you certainly had a lustful beginning. Rushing through airport check-ins and laughing at all those at luggage carousels. I saw it.

    I sometimes struggle with the minimalism, but for me the rewards still outweigh my heavy 85 L ex. We had our fun, but life happens too quickly to be stuck wondering why my bag didn’t show up, or how I’m going to make it to my next hotel before my back gives out 😉

    Enjoy your new romance – the lack of your carry-on just means more space in the overhead for me 😛 Great post dude!

    1. Anthony Reply

      Ian Ord – here he is. The catalyst of the challenge that broke my naive heart 😉

  3. Rachel Reply

    I have a 65 liter pack and a 22 liter smaller pack, for my electronics and crap. I only have to do laundry every two weeks or so. Take that, minimalism! Also it’s nice to have a little variety in outfits.

    1. Anthony Reply

      Join ussss, joooiiiiiiin usssss! 😀

  4. Turner Reply

    haha I am an out of the closest flash packer myself. I would go so far as to say that I abhor backpacks. I prefer wheels.

    1. Anthony Reply

      You metro, retro, sexy bastard.

  5. Beverley Reply

    I don’t travel light, ever. EVER! I mean I can go on a weekend trip with a 7kg carry-on bag but for trips longer than that it’s a big no no. I think it’s because I’m not constantly travelling and therefore I tend to accumulate things – having been in Auckland for 10 months now I’ve accumulated quite a few more things, namely clothes (who wants to go to an office job looking like a backpacker? No thanks!)

    1. Anthony Reply

      I concur, Bev!

  6. Flashpackatforty - Craig Reply

    Well finally Anthony has it really taken you this long to come out of the flashpacking closet, We always knew you were, each time we read your posts our flashdar would start making strange noises. Pack big and stuff that luggage with all the gadgets and chargers you can lay your hands on and rejoice in your stylish co-ordinated clothng.

  7. Jaime Reply

    I love this & yes if it’s not for you it’s not for you. I love my 40L and wouldn’t have it any other way, but mostly that’s because I’m lazy and don’t want to carry more than I need. Oh but don’t worry just cus I travel with a carry on doesn’t mean I don’t have 6 shirts or some jeans… I don’t know how it all fits in my bag but I have everything I need and even space for the souvenirs I buy on the road. Yes I like possessions too, but just small ones from around the world.

    1. Anthony Reply


      oh I remember at the start of my minimal travel challenge that you were rocking that 40 litre – interesting to see you’re still going strong!

  8. Teo Reply

    YOu have Lots of Courage and faith on yourself.. otherwise it is not possible to travel without stuff..

  9. Jean Reply

    THANK YOU! thank you for being real. and you DID try..for 5 months of minimalist travel, that’s a huge success. you tried and you know it doesn’t work for you. i myself am so not the minimalist traveller. i try at times for short breaks and that theory of “you can always buy what you forget to pack” ends up costing you more. I really liked this post!

    1. Anthony Reply

      Don’t fret, Jean – I got your back 🙂

  10. Julio Moreno Reply

    Dear former love,
    You dumped me? Let’s be real, you never believed in us in the first place. You ran at the first sign of trouble when you were too lazy to do a little laundry. Yeah yeah, maybe not enough fits in me, but…so what! Do you really need to carry three pairs of shoes? Why do you use more clothes in one week of travel than one month at home? In fact, it was I who was tired of you. Take no offense, I am sure “stuff” will make you happy, stuff always makes people like you happy. I have plenty of suitors and don’t need you. But don’t think for a second that you dumped me. I saw right through you from the start and never opened my heart.
    Your Former Backpack.
    PS: That passport you lost on our last trip, yeah….I did it on purpose….so what!

    1. Anthony Reply

      Dear former backpack,

      I distinctly remember you clinging onto me, desperately as I told you some home truths. I understand you’re at the stage 1 AND 3 of the breakup: Denial and anger and this is hard for you to deal with. I do need 3 pairs of shoes, because that is me and my new love doesn’t make me feel bad for my human desires.

      p.s. Size certainly DOES matter 😉

      1. Julio Moreno Reply

        Dear Former Lover pt2,
        Interesting that you would throw the “size” argument in my face, as if it was ME who didn’t “measure up.” You talk the big talk now because, you know what, you’re in that honeymoon stage with luggage.
        I know how you act in that stage. Do you remember when I was light enough already, but you checked anyways to see if you could “find something else you didn’t need?” You know, those things used to make me feel special.

        Yeah, yeah size does matter. That is exactly what the guys at check in will tell you when you miss me and try to bring your huge luggage on the cabin. I will be there laughing at you when they refuse and charge you extra for checking in a bag. I know you will try to act cool and not acknowledge me for a while, but I will be here, waiting for you to come running bag the first time an airport official tells you, “sorry sir, we seem to have lost your checked in bag.”
        Sincerely and Bitterly,
        Your former backpack

  11. Around the world in 80 girls Reply

    After visiting being on the road for nearly 3 years and visiting over 40 countries I can safely say that i will never again travel “light” Even my 80 liter backpack was too small in most situations. I really resent the smelly backpacker look you get from people even though i showered multiple times a day.
    I need more space for clothes damnit! I’ll be flash packing only from now on.



    1. Anthony Reply

      Here, here Mr Skywalker! MT ironically glamourised 😛

  12. Pooja Reply

    If I manipulated my clothes with secret zippers to the point that I have more clothes than it actually seems, like all of it is reversible clothing and a dress that separates with into a top and skirt (which is also reversible) am an ambitious minimalist or hidden flash packer? 🙂

    1. Anthony Reply

      Pooja – you are a hustler of the highest degree. Come and modify my backpack! 😀

  13. Announcement: I work too much! | Travel World Heritage Reply

    […] I want to become more involved in the blogging community. Whenever I want to read my favorite blogs but have to choose between that or writing another post, I usually choose the latter. I hope that with more time, I can finally get re-inspired by As We Travel, have a laugh with That Backpacker, or rant again on Man vs. Clock! I missed you guys, and Anthony, your backpack still misses you!!! […]

  14. budmil iskolatáska Reply

    I recently just like the worthwhile details anyone offer with your content. Let me book mark your current web site and examination again right here routinely. My business is reasonably specified I am going to understand lots of brand new material in this article! All the best . for the following!