Travel Like Gandhi: Become a Minimalist

“Travel like Gandhi with simple clothes, open heart and an uncluttered mind..”

In 2015 I set off on famous pilgrimage across Spain called the Camino de Santiago, where I walked across the country over a 31 day period. I will never forget the first day of the Camino as I started in France in the Pyrenees Mountains with my 15 pound bag backpack and lots of unnecessary items that I carried “just in case.”

I started practicing the idea of minimalism months before and I thought I was doing a good job until the first day, where I had to walk 6+ hours up the Pyrenees Mountains with this heavy bag on my back. After a few hours of walking I noticed that I started to struggle with the weight, but I ignored it, knowing that I just couldn’t separate from anything in my bag.

In the first five days of the Camino I experienced pain in places that I never knew was possible and I had developed serious blisters that made each step a challenge to take.

I worked to keep a smile through the pain, that was until I met Carl from South Africa.

“How much does your bag weigh girl?! You have to be carrying more weight than most guys are even carrying on this walk. I hurt every time I see you take a step.” Carl mentioned

I glanced at him, envious of his small backpack and said “Ah it’s not really that heavy. Everything will be fine.”

For the next couple of hours I walked with Carl and we had such a deep conversation about life and the material possessions we have here on Earth.  We discussed many different topics, but he always referred  back to my heavy backpack.

“What kind of things do you have in there?” He asked.

“A notebook, a small book, two pairs of shoes, sandals, 6 shirts…” Before I could go with the list, he stopped me, glanced at me and smiled.

“Sarah, it’s day five of thirty one. Its clear that you are in pain due to the weight in this bag and as a result you have unnecessary clutter in your mind. Do you need really need all of these items?”

As I looked at him I really thought the answer was yes, however the truth is that Carl came into my life at the perfect time and got me really thinking about the relationship I had built with these things in my bag.

Carl helped me make a real connection with the material clutter I had in my bag with the clutter in my mind.

I walked ahead of Carl and thought about all that he had said. I knew deep down that he was right. I knew that losing a few pounds from my bag would help reduce my pain and even my mental clutter. I couldn’t become an expert over night, but I decided that each day I would begin getting rid of different items.

Slowly but surely, I released the feelings of attachment I had to my material possessions and instantly I noticed a difference.

My heart started to open up and my mind began to feel a new sense of peace and freedom as I left a new item from my bag along the trail each day.

Carl taught me a lesson on day 5 of the Camino that changed my whole Camino experience and that is true freedom comes when we break free from the material possessions of this world and tap into our heart and soul.



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