Lightweight Travel – more accurately travelling Lightweights

Buying street food in Djemaa el Fna, Marrakech, Morocco on Mallory on Travel, adventure, adventure travel, photography

Your nose may just take you to where you want to be

If you came here looking for the Zen of minimalist and lightweight travel with great tips on how to cut down the weight in your pack, sorry there are not any of those words of wisdom in this post!

Still here, have I got you intrigued enough to read a few more sentences, maybe a whole paragraph or perhaps just scan read to get the general gist? In a way that is kind of appropriate as the scan reading is a similar to being a ‘travel lightweight’ usually only getting half of the story.

We all choose to travel for our own reasons; this is a theme which is hit upon many times within this site. It is not about judging others but hoping to give the over cautious a little nudge towards being a little more adventurous at times.

 “A life which involves zero risk is a safe existence”

Playing it safe and planning every step of our lives let alone trips will often mean that so much of what life has to offer will be missed out on. Looking at it from a different angle there is probably not a really wealthy person alive that has not taken a few risks along the way.

A life which involves zero risk is a safe existence, but it is not living life to its maximum, making the most of every opportunity or squeezing every drop of enjoyment out of it.

Lightweight travel In the medina of Marrakech, Morocco on Mallory on Travel, adventure, adventure travel, photography

Exploring the backstreets

“but then I am biased”

Travelling is certainly not the only way to finding fulfilment, having friends and family around, bringing up children and having some stability and security work for many.

The chances are that annual holidays are taken, either ‘staycations’ or abroad, but often they will be to well established resorts, possibly even all inclusive. They still provide plenty of opportunity for some enjoyment, relaxation and even some adventure but there will be fewer opportunities for the latter. This seems a little restricting to me but then I am biased.

“A great adventure may require extensive planning, but often the epic adventures are totally unplanned”

Even within the ‘independent’ travel community of backpackers there are some that need to be totally prepared, needing to plan every step, every phase of the journey.

This is an admirable trait in many ways but unexpected adventures are available to those that are open to them. The greatest attributes an traveller can have are observation and curiosity, they are often more useful than even physical prowess or extensive experience.

Music and lightweight travel in Marrakech medina Djemaa el Fna, Morocco on Mallory on Travel, adventure, adventure travel, photography

Performing musicians in Marrakech

Caution should not be totally thrown to the wind however, the third most useful attribute is probably common sense, which enables curiosity to be tempered. A great adventure may require extensive planning, but often the greatest adventures are totally unplanned.

“an itinerary that lacks flexibility also lacks spontaneity”

Good observation requires the use of all our senses, not just merely just seeing what is happening around us but also listening and even usaing our sense of smell may provide clues . Seeing a large group of people and wandering across to see what is happening is simple enough but following some strange sounds or the fragrance of aromatic spices on a breeze is another.

Being naturally curious and following our senses will often bring us upon totally unexpected experiences, a troop of performers or musicians down a small out of the way back street, a shaman performing some ancient rites or an impromptu beach party.An itinerary that lacks flexibility also lacks spontaneity and those following such a rigid schedule may completely ignore any signs that something interesting is happening around them. This means missing out!

Lightweight travel required amongst the sand dunes of Wahibi Sands desert in Oman on Mallory on Travel, adventure, adventure travel, photography

Seeking alternative environments

Keep those senses sharp and combine them with common sense, if anything looks out of the ordinary bail, but in most cases it is only an adventure that will develop.

“last man standing is a rite of passage for the adventurer”

The ‘attitude for adventure’ is not only found in those intrepid few that seek out the most remote locations to explore. Regardless of whether a traveller finds themself in a backstreet hostel in Mogadishu, an outside cabin on a luxury cruise or a chalet all-inclusive resort in Antigua, all have opportunities to explore and find adventures which suit their tastes.

The worst possible place to be a ‘lightweight’ is of course the bar, last man standing is a rite of passage for the adventurer. Top tip, it is not necessary to get drunk; it’s a marathon not a sprint, pace yourself and outlast the ‘competition’. It is not necessary to achieve this every night, the first night of meeting a new group of friends will suffice and you will remain a legend and solo travel rockstar for your time together!

“don’t be a travel lightweight, live a little”

A little healthy caution is not a bad thing, neither is being organised and making all sensible preparations for your trip. Letting it totally control the manner in which we travel however is in my opinion a mistake, be a little more flexible, embrace adventure and make the most of your trip, don’t be a travel lightweight, go on live a little!

PS Anybody still disappointed there were not any tips, find some here: lightweight travel.

Excitng lightweight travel mecca, Fes in North African Morocco on Mallory on Travel, adventure, adventure travel, photography

Fes, Morocco so much to explore


Comments 12

  1. Kate O'Grady

    Great post Ian, once again you’ve hit the nail on the head. The most important thing a traveller brings with them is their attitude.

    “A life lived in fear is a life half lived.”

    Spanish proverb.

    1. Post

      Thank you Kate glad you liked it. We think alike it is that attitude of adventure that I keep harping on about, those that have it will always have adventures wherever they maybe.

    1. Post

      Glad you decided on which pack you were going with in the end Ayngelina, 20 litres lighter will certtainly make the exploring easier too.

  2. jade

    I like planning- I like knowing that I will have the time to see all the places I have bookmarked and saved- however with each trip I try to plan days that aren’t planned… does that make sense?! Also- love traveling with very little luggage, allows for nights spent away from hotels.

    1. Post

      I am not suggesting there is anything wrong with planning ahead for any sensible contingencies Jade but when in becomes obsessive and every single move has to be planned to the most minute detail I think the spontaneity has been lost and the potential for some unexpected adventures. Sometimes it is just good to go with the flow.

  3. John

    Iain, a life with zero risk does not exist. There is no such thing as safety. I suppose that is a strange thing to hear from a man who worked for 14 years as a Safety Advisor, however the job entails managing risk. It is pretty near impossible to prevent a joiner hitting his thumb with a hammer, but preventing more serious injuries and ill health was a different story.

    As for travel it is like life, to enjoy it to the full unless you put something in, you will not get much out. Going outside your comfort zone may not be enjoyable at first but the benefits are soon realised. Sometimes with an ear to ear smile!

    1. Post

      John you are welcome to take things too literally if you wish but there are plenty of people that live their lives without any real risk. Marriage is a risk, buying a house involves risk but they are not really what is being discussed here.

      A guy on my course when I was transferring to the PT Corps swore blind that his Dad had never stepped foot off the island of Anglesey, if that is indeed true whilst he obviously had taken the risk of getting married he probably had not taken many other risks in his life.

  4. Reena

    All great advice. I find it’s necessary and helpful to do a lot of planning, but also to have flexibility to change and adapt those plans as you go along… you’ll often find or hear about great new things causing you to stay longer or go someplace new, but you’ll often also find that a particular town isn’t as interesting as you expected, so you can move on more quickly.

    Many of my best travel experiences have been following my eyes, ears, and nose to something strange and unexpected…

    1. Post

      Thank you Reena equally good advice it sounds as if you have the travelling all sorted and are totally savvy. The best adventures are not always the anticipated ones.

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