Via Negativa Traveling

Inspired by Nassim Taleb, a thought about travel:

Before traveling, don’t stress so much on what to bring, but focus and think deeply on what NOT to bring!


  1. When traveling, decide what you DON’T care to do, or what you don’t want to do.
  2. When talking to locals, instead of asking them ‘what to do“, ask them: “What touristy and stupid things should I NOT do?”
  3. When packing for your trip, decide what NOT to bring, what NOT to pack, what devices NOT to bring.
  4. Treat travel as an opportunity for ‘simulated poverty’ (Seneca’s idea). For example — are you brave enough to leave your phone at home? Or your iPad? Or your laptop? Treat it like a fun game — intentionally UNDER-PACK for your trip!


What are you traveling for?

cindy face side
Kyoto #cindyproject

I think:

Traveling is a good way to SUBTRACT the internet, SUBTRACT your worries from back home, and SUBTRACT all the silly noise back home.

Wifi-less travel

Uji/Kyoto Ryokan #cindyproject
Uji/Kyoto Ryokan #cindyproject

For example I am about to leave tomorrow to Cuba for a week, and will not have access to the internet (this is what I am the most excited for). I wonder:

A week without internet? What will I do, and NOT do?

What camera equipment NOT to bring

Another thought:

Figure out what superfluous camera equipment to leave at home.

For this trip (one week in Cuba, two weeks in Mexico City), I am only bringing RICOH GR III. I will use ERIC KIM NECK STRAP.

For clothing, Outlier.NYC Ultrafine Merino T-Shirt in black. Black merino wool leggings. Black ExOfficio boxer briefs.

Strive to become maximally minimalist.

Insanely lightweight is the goal

Kyoto #cindyproject
Kyoto #cindyproject

This is what I have learned from my decade+ of travel:

When in doubt, throw it out.

99% of the things we think we ‘need’ in travel is superfluous. Furthermore, if we truly see travel as a road to adventure, having LESS makes things more interesting. Treat it like a fun ‘creative constraint’:

See how little you can pack for your trip.

Minimum viable travel

Kyoto flash. #cindyproject
Kyoto flash. #cindyproject

What is the minimum viable amount of stuff you can bring for your trip, without any serious downside?

Let this be your guiding force!



Umbrella and flash in color. Kyoto, 2017

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