For 3,000 people, it's that time of year again. Friday July 5, is the kick-off to the third annual World Domination Summit in Portland, Oregon and the attendees are buzzing on Twitter and Facebook and the city of Portland is getting ready to rock with a mini-invasion of sorts. Really rock!
What started as a small and intimate gathering of 500 of author and world traveler Chris Guillebeau's legion of loyal supporters in 2010, has morphed into a not too intimate gathering six times that size this year. The theme of WDS, which I wrote about after last year's event, is "How do you live a remarkable life in a conventional world?" Nowadays, more of us are getting that is the only way to live our lives and be at our most creative and productive, in a world that seeks conformity and security. That isn't the world we live in anymore and WDSers (as we affectionately call each other) have known this for a long time.
Last year I ventured to Portland alone literally not knowing even one person. I was in a fairly insular place personally and was prepared to see what came towards me during my six days there. Having always wanted to visit Portland, I intuitively knew this would be the perfect opportunity. Synchronistically, although not surprising to me, I met and forged a friendship with one other person (who happened to be staying in the room across the hall in the hotel) and we are both returning this year and co-hosting a meet-up and doing a pre-WDS Radio Enso appearance to connect people who like us, are seekers on a spiritual path, wanting to create a more conscious world. WDS is a friendly mecca for connecting with a wide range of like-minded people.
One fellow attendee posted recently on Facebook asking "What are you bringing to WDS?" It made me smile, as I saw what one female was bringing in a picture she posted. It was one of last year's gifts, a WDS backpack surrounded by very few belongings and her cat half hidden under the backpack. Hmm. It got me thinking about the art of traveling lightly. Not something I know how to do. I've mastered the art of packing to maximize my suitcase interior and keep my clothes relatively uncreased, however, lightly is not a word that is part of my travel vocabulary.
Having had many health issues in my life, I have learned to always be prepared. And as a woman, I find myself curious, yet in admiration of other women who can pack everything they need in the tiniest amount of space and carry it onto the plane to make a quick departure on landing. My toiletries alone, always seem to be well...pretty heavy.
It might have started for me as a teenager when my best friend and I did a lot of globe trotting together. The summer we headed for the south of France, we became somewhat of a running commentary, when people on trains and in hotels wondered (out loud) what exactly we needed to bring that filled these huge "valises". In those days, luggage didn't have wheels, so we were lugging trunks filled with who knows what, onto train platforms and up many flights of stairs, in charming, but elevator-less French Riviera hotels. Somehow not too much has changed for me. Except I do have luggage with wheels now.
Not that long ago, when luggage weight allowances were still at seventy pounds, my daughter Lani and I had an amazing trip to Sedona, Arizona where we always go rock and mineral shopping. When we checked in to return home, her bag weighed slightly over the seventy pounds and the airline check-in person asked "What have you got in there, rocks?" "Yes" we answered in unison shaking our heads, "in fact we do have rocks in there." Smiles all around.
So I started packing early to see if I could somehow adopt a new attitude on this trip. To see where I could lighten the load. It's summer, so my clothes don't weigh much. Good. Then I came to the vitamins and supplements and toiletries and realized that unless I dramatically change my health protocol, much lighter isn't going to be too possible. Yes, to smaller sizes of everything. I even checked online to see what experts suggest. The recurring theme was smart and practical. I seem to have done mostly everything that was recommended and still, alas, I know my bag will not be light.
As I was packing, I realized that maybe some of us aren't meant to travel lightly. Literally and figuratively. I'm light in other ways in my life. As an air sign with five other planets in air, I do travel lightly as I cruise the cosmos of ideas, hovering slightly above the planet most of the time. Living in the physical has always been challenging for me and has been a life-long journey which I write a lot about in my upcoming book Confessions of a Middle-Aged Hippie. For you earthbound folks, it might be hard to understand, however, it isn't always that easy for some of us air people.
This year I know will be different for me at WDS. I have three friends coming, partly because of my ecstatic reporting of my last years' experience. And this year I'm not as insular and am feeling overly anticipatory about the possibility of connecting and meeting as many new people as possible. For now, I'm okay leaving the traveling lightly to others. I'm fine with whatever weight I bring with me to the event.
Love to hear what tips you have on the art of traveling lightly.
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