Marie Kondo is a Japanese organizing consultant and author, named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of 2015. She is now famous across the globe for her hit show on Netflix, “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo”. Arguably one of the hallmarks of her show and philosophy, is to ask yourself if the items you have spark joy in your life….
You may be thinking, “yeah, I like Kondo too, but how does tidying relate to travel?” In my opinion, quite a lot. There are certainly specific ways, in addition to general big picture concepts.
Specifically, one could learn a lot from this concept of organization and tidying up and apply it to one’s packing. Obviously with what I do for a living, I take a lot of trips with people and I see how various people pack for their trip. Universally, I would say that 95% of people over-pack. For some, the idea of wearing a garment more than once is so odious, that they pack for virtually every situation that could possibly come up under the sun and do so in a variety of colors and fabric textures. The great thing, is that they have such a wonderful variety of things at their disposal. The bad thing, is that especially if they are on a holiday where they are traveling from hotel to hotel, they are constantly lugging multiple heavy bags, and when they get to their hotel room, half the room is taken up with their belongings. As soon as they board a small regional jet to get from destination to destination, they are assessed with huge baggage fees. Lastly, their bags are so full, that they have a little room to buy new things, thus limiting one of the fun things of a vacation, shopping.
Speaking in general terms about how the concept of tidying up and making room for more of the joy in your life relates to travel, vacationing can be a time to disconnect. It is on vacation where we can regroup, recharge, and even reimagine the lives we want to have. Tidying up is much more than merely organizing your items. It is also about decluttering your mind.
I actually started writing this article when I was in the United States, and I’m continuing it as I am traveling in Bali, Indonesia. I am sitting on a beautiful Balinese bed, looking at palm trees and the ocean. The idea for this article came to me while in the United States but it has been taking this vacation that is truly given me to incorporate Kondo’s principles firsthand.
Back home, if feels like I am doing a million things, and pulled in a million directions, juggling all the things I have to do. On my vacation to Bali, the biggest thing I’ve had to organize, is if I want to see a temple before or after I visit some rice paddies, or take a dip in the pool. It has created space in my mind, space that is been opened up for a variety of thoughts, and even no thoughts at all, but merely meditation. Much like I cleaned and organized my office before leaving the USA, my mind has been cleansed during the trip.
Bali has also been the perfect place to consider the concept of bringing more joy into my life. The people who live here seem to have more of a focus on peace, harmony, simplicity, and joy than any place I have been. The island is predominately Hindu, and every day the residents of Bali go to their family or village temple, to spend several minutes praying. When you buy something at a store, the shopkeeper will often take your money and then touch it to items in their store as a kind of blessing of appreciation and to bring more good fortune. Also, everywhere across the island of Bali, you will also see small baskets of flowers (and other items), which are devotional offerings to the gods. This results in mindfulness, that is present in everything they do, and in how they live their lives.
Lastly, it seems like everyone we have met in Bali works only 10 minutes from where they live. No one is spending an hour joyless commute getting to work. In the West, we are so focused on being, and doing, and achieving, but at what cost?
When I was younger, and I traveled, I used to run around seeing as many things as I possibly could. I have always had a bit of a fear of missing out (FOMO) which has driven a kind of intensity in my travels. It’s led me to see and do a lot of different things, but it has also made me exhausted. This trip I have done it differently, and I have had more clarity as a result. I have balanced seeing/doing things and relaxing, and the result is that I feel more recharged and at peace.
If I had someone else organizing all of this for me, I would gladly take part in activities and little adventures, but since I do that for a living at Zoom Vacations, it has been so nice to just literally do nothing. Like Marie Kondo, I have asked myself if various things on this trip will bring me joy or if I am about to do them because of a sense of obligation. I have made “joy” the driver behind my vacation, and a relaxed, tidy mind has been the result.
By the way, I highly suggest a vacation to Bali. One of my absolute favorite things to do and something that always brings me joy, is touring different hotel properties. Since we are organizing future trips to Bali for Zoom Vacations, I have seen a number of hotels on this trip, and each offers something different, special, and unique. If you are planning a trip to Bali, drop me a line, and I will steer you in the right direction for the kind of experience you want to have.