1 Pair of contact lenses cleaning and storing solution
3 USB cables
1 USB wall charger
2 Pairs of noise cancelling headphones
That’s 63 items.
I like to call myself a minimalist. Could I have had a good retreat with fewer things and without distracting others? My wife came with me, so not endangering my marriage is also a requirement.
2. Comfortable packing list
What if we remove the “obviously you don’t need this” items?
50l hiking backpack
1 packing cube
Pair of jeans
Pair of yoga pants
2 short-sleeves t-shirts
1 pair of boxers
1 pair of socks
1 travel-sized bottle of shampoo
1 travel-sized bottle of body soap
Electric toothbrush (and brush teeth once per day instead of three times)
Smaller toothpaste container
2 toiletries bags
1 pair of contact lenses cleaning and storing solution
2 USB cables (phone + headphones)
1 USB wall charger
1 pair of noise cancelling headphones
We’re down to 37 items, or 58% of the original list. Is it down to essentials? Let’s put our caveman hat on.
3. Minimal packing list
I don’t need a packing cube anymore, the backpack has three compartments.
I could have dropped the jeans and belt, and travel with the meditation pants. I can’t replace my sweat glands, so I still need two t-shirts.
I could have also left got 2-in shampoo and body soap and save 1 item. I would no longer need one of the two toiletries bag, and food may not taste the same without the tongue scrapper, but this isn’t a cooking or physical cleansing retreat.
And finally I could have also dropped the iPad and sleep mask, read on my phone, and just be patient with my roommates at night time . At this stage in my evolution I still need the noise cancelling headphones, though, and the phone could save someone’s life.
We’re down to 28 items, or less than half (44%) of the original list.
4. How do I grow from this?
What caused me to pack too many things?
Clothing: Too much aversion to hand washing clothes, and too much aversion to risk (will I run out of shampoo?). Can be fixed for the next retreat.
Toiletries: Too much care about how I look. Can be fixed for the next retreat.
Misc: Too much sensitivity. The Vipassana style of meditation that I practice should eventually fix this.
Personal over-packing causes aside, what makes us bring the most things?
We didn’t evolve to live at 1,300 meters, or in other words, heat transfer. If I want to pack less for a Vipassana retreat, I will have to go to a warmer place or finish the Wim Hof method.