Why Travel, Pack, and Live Light?

A reminder to self:

Always optimize for ultra-lightweight.

Why ultra-light?

RICOH GR II x Eric Kim WRIST STRAP — the best ultra-lightweight travel street photography setup (note how you can charge it with USB!)

Today I made the sucker mistake of over-packing my backpack with superfluous shit I didn’t really need, and after walking around all day (sore shoulders and neck), another reminder to self:

Always optimize for ultra-lightweight.

Why do we over-pack?

I know for myself, I often over-pack and carry too much shit with me because:

  1. Fear: Fear that I will not have the ‘optimal’ or the ‘best’ equipment. In reality, having ‘less than optimal’ equipment is often far more than enough!
  2. Desiring the ‘best’: When I go out, I want to have the ‘best’ equipment, to maximize my creative productivity. In reality, the difference between ‘very good’ and ‘the best’ might only be 5-10% percentage points different. Thus, you don’t need the ‘best’ when traveling or on the road (or in everyday life). Good is more than enough!

Why living nomadically is tricky.

What is on my desk in my AirBnb Apartment in Mexico City

When in doubt, always better to under-pack than to over-pack. When I am traveling for a trip, my adage is:

When in doubt, throw it out.

But living nomadically is tricky, because I’m not “traveling” — I am more or less permanently living on the road. Thus everything I have in my backpack is technically my home.

RICOH GR II in my front pocket

However the good thing is that when living nomadically, you aren’t always “on the road” or constantly “traveling”. For example, Cindy and I are living in Mexico City for this 1 month, and the only transit we have is going from LAX to Mexico City, and we can just leave all of our stuff in our AirBnb Apartment.

Lumix g9 macbook laptop

But generally when we leave the apartment, to either walk around town, to explore, or go to work at a coffee shop, a nice reminder to myself:

Always pack LESS than you think you need!

Benefits of ultralight

  1. Increased productivity: When you have less stuff/equipment/devices on you– you must make the best of what you have! This has helped me innovate more, and be productive with whatever device I have on myself.
  2. Less fatigue: Less fatigue means improved mood, more energy/vigor/creative power. This will also help you be more creative and productive.
  3. Fewer Distractions: Having too many devices and stuff is often a distraction. By packing less equipment, you will be more focused with the few tools you have– thus once again, increased productivity.

Stay ultralight,


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