Small Space. Big Life.

Footloose is fun!

Yesterday I wrote about our family weekend in San Diego, and how it reminded me that I’m more available to life and my family when I’m not busy corralling stuff. In thinking about that, I noticed that there’s more to the equation than not having a lot of stuff along. Part of the reason we took so little with us to San Diego is that we planned to be out doing things, and so didn’t need to bring a lot of stuff to keep us entertained. All we needed were shoes, a camera, water bottles, a map, and a sense of adventure.

And sunscreen. Boy, did we need sunscreen. Unfortunately, in traveling light, we forgot to take it with us each day. Some skin damage was the result.

I am a bad mom in this respect.

I realize that our footloose, light-travel mentality is not equally available to all. Our kids aren’t so far out of diapers and naps that I forget how much gear that required (and we had a minimal diaper bag). And there were a couple of folks at the zoo with oxygen tanks — clearly, not optional baggage. But it is available to most of us, and when we leave our comfort zones (for us, this meant ditching the stroller for the first time ever in six years) — all of a sudden all sorts of opportunities open up. The gift of going light is speed and the ability to switch gears quickly, to take advantage of what the situation offers (for example, because we didn’t take the stroller with us to the Zoo, it meant that we could take a lovely, meandering path down to the crazy-cute pandas that we otherwise would have avoided because of the stairs).

Having now spent a long weekend with kids doing things in a new city — without our stroller or a lot of stuff — I’ve got a better idea of what I want to take and what I want to ditch when we go again. A new backpack, for example, that’s a better fit for my back and easier to carry. A neoprene sheath for my camera, so I don’t need to take a bulky camera bag with me. A zoom lens for aforementioned camera, though there are delightful challenges that come with working with what you’ve got when it comes to camera lenses. A couple of lightweight, hooded fleece sweatshirts for the kids, for when it’s chilly in the evenings.

I’ll keep the water bottles, wallet, and sense of adventure. Those worked out well this time.


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