Content while travelling



It travels with the discontent, making them slaves to shopping centres and souvie shops.

At 47, I’m trying to REDUCE the amount of “stuff” in my life.

I imagine if I was 17 again and in acquisition mode. More and MORE T-shirts and Parrott earrings (don’t judge, it was the ’80s).

I had this excitement and never-ending quest for curios to decorate my future adult home. Of COURSE I was going to need a ceramic parrot swinging on a piece of bamboo and walls covered in alpaca. I had eclectic taste.

30 years later, that sort of decor is so far from my current taste which is now very Meridith Baer: clean white and crisp.

Should a bright blue towel find its way into our homes, it quickly becomes a mop or cleaning rag. “Out! Out! Damned spot of loo colour!” I think.

Aside from bits of red, animal statues for Feng Shui or art on the wall, beige, white and grey with silver sculptures is as busy as it might get.

I would say that the taste of my youth was cluttered as was my mind.

My poor Auntie Thelma, rest her kind soul, allowed me to “decorate” my half of a shared room with all matter of Parrott and fuzz. No inch of my part of the room was safe.

Years later, I yearned for calmness and clarity. Too much stuff clutters my space and my mind. I cannot think straight with clutter.

Not looking for decor items and clothes while travelling frees up so much time now.

The best things to “bring home” are photos, ideas and memories. Sights, smells, tastes and sounds. Seeing baby fur seals in their river nursery and photographing the stunning coastline of NZ, the scent of Sczechuan hot pot in China, the taste of perfectly cooked rack of lamb with mint in Auckland and the voices of the people we met.

“How you going?”
“This little feash was strugglin’ owt on the reeaf ean ah sayved ‘im.”
“Ne how” (you well?)
“Sheh sheh ah” (thanks, man)

I also love some of the innovations I saw:
*switches ON the wall outlets
*heated bathroom floors
*heating the bed instead of the room
*universal plugs in hotels
*having to use your the hotel key for electricity
*flat travel liquid tubes
*fresh cream in the mini fridge *double full mattresses to make a “super King”
*refillable hotel shampoo, soap
*family style dining
*a “pen” that reads books out loud

As far as gifts are concerned, the “children” we know are grown or already have a cadre of “stuff”. No need to enable the clutter pathway for the next generation.

*Only 4 of 6 bottles of Marlborough wine survived the trip to China (a sad, flat box came around the corner of the luggage conveyer. 3 bottles consumed in Chongching. 1 a gift for a dear friend in Chengdu.

The only ” things” we are bringing back are a hat from NZ and the Mandarin learning pen set I have been wanting for months.

That is enough.

We are content.


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