In 1981, I had just come home from traveling around the world with me, myself and I. My one and only backpack for the journey weighed 23 pounds at the onset.
So imagine what it was like in 1980 to plan such a travel adventure when there were no ATMs, cell phones and other kinds of digital assistance to make such a journey easier. I’m talking about cutting up multiple resources to create a customized guidebook, choosing a lightweight 35 mm camera, figuring out versatile clothing for all four seasons, finding safe places for travelers checks, and including a small container with a few of my favorite things to remind me of home—some sand, a seashell, a suncatcher, a ceramic turtle.
My journey took me to the East Coast first to explore my own country’s roots and government. My budget was $20 a day which was tough in NYC. Staying at the President’s Hotel, I thought that no president EVER slept there. Then it was off to Europe, Southeast Asia, India, Hong Kong, Japan and down under to Australia and New Zealand. During a train ride from Munich to Salzburg, my decision to become a travel consultant when I returned became a reality for 10 great years before the internet made it easy for people to plan their own travels.
My first residence post world travels was a 200-square foot studio overlooking the ocean in Manhattan Beach. Compared to my previous lifestyle, I lived in a palace that I relished for 12 years. Since then I’ve lived in a 150-square-foot space with kitchen access and up to 1500-square-foot residences.
People often tell me I’m a minimalist regardless of the space I live in. For me, my home reflects what I learned traveling—that I get so much more out of life with less stuff. Of course over time, I have acquired the basic furniture, but the essentials and accessories are carefully chosen. I like empty drawers, cupboards and shelves. From what I’ve read about the importance of decluttering and keeping it simple, the underlying benefit is the feeling of peace and tranquility. Isn’t that what we all want? To feel there is a serene place to relax, rest and recharge. For some reason, this story came to mind. Maybe it’ll speak to you.
Published by Orange County Register, May 11, 2023