I only travel with a tiny carry-on and backpack for all flights and trips, no matter the length. The secret sauce for me is five days of clothes total and lots of laundry. Just last September I traveled to Southern Spain for a black-tie wedding and Lisbon for about two weeks. I spent three hours packing to get down to the absolute basics, but I made it to down to one tiny carry-on and backpack that included three fancy outfits. My key for that trip was sturdy sandals (like Birkenstocks) that can double as sneakers and one-pair of relatively low-maintenance heels that can double for day-dressing.
I have a practical appreciation for efficient public transit. I will always take the train over a taxi, so I need to make sure that I can fit through any turnstile. Funny enough, I met my French boyfriend because I couldn’t get my suitcase through a metro turnstile en-route to the airport, and then this beautiful man showed up to help me. Our romance was short, but definitely had some cinematic-worthy moments.
The other aspect to my minimalism is that three years ago, I sold all my furniture before moving to San Francisco. In a series of two years, I moved cross-country four times for work and spent a lot of time sleeping on friend’s couches. I couldn’t accumulate stuff because my life had as much grounding as the wind. Fast forward to today, and all I dream about is buying a bed and staying put.
I LOVE airports! From one place I can go anywhere in the world continually blows my mind! I can stay at one gate and go to New York (my hometown), Bangkok, Abu Dhabi or Atlanta. That’s nuts! I arrive at airports two hours in advance, but I love exploring airports and get caught up in the restaurants and shops. On more than one occasion, I’ve heard over the loudspeaker, “This is the last call for Flight TBD. Wendy Wecksell we are about to close the gate.” At which point, I run across the terminal to make the flight and get stared down by all my fellow passengers with a clear “WTF!?” expression!
A plane can be quite constrained for me, despite my enjoyment of flying because I’m in my natural state when I’m in motion. I grew up as a dancer and it’s still something that brings me a ton of joy. My desire to stretch my legs requires an aisle seat, to not be a total nuisance to the people next to me. I’ve gotten better at sitting still after 15 years of yoga and a fairly disciplined meditation practice. I make sure to meditate on the plane, do some seated yoga poses, journal, listen to Audible, perhaps do some long-form writing or deeper thinking work. If the flight is 5 hours or longer, only then do I watch a movie.
Wow, I am literally one-step away from living the life of an early-bird special.
On the food side of things, my friend Molly Maloof, who is a physician in SF and focuses on life-hacking, taught me that the way to fight jet lag is to fast on planes. Therefore, I only drink water on long flights. Since I’m a serial coach-flyer (welcome to start-up and philanthropy world!), I’m not tempted with free wine or yummy food options.
I swear by my RAINS backpack and Away suitcase for luggage. You’ll always find coconut oil in my toiletry bag – it’s good for your hair and body, and triples as a makeup remover. I don’t tan. I tomato. I take this sunscreen with me EVERYWHERE! In my suitcase you’ll find my Happiness Journey moto jacket, cropped Hanes t-shirts, Sweaty Betty capri pants, my thrift store cargo jacket or Mexico is the Shit jacket, and Le Spec aviators. This mini steamer is my answer to wrinkles, no matter how I fold or roll my clothes. I literally dance down streets and airport terminals, so Spotify is a must for my phone. I’ll also listen to books on Audible during a flight.