How I Packed 2 Weeks Into 2 Carry Ons

Right before leaving for Europe this summer, I posted a photo of my “luggage”, i.e. two small carry on bags, and received dozens of messages asking if I was nuts.

I was going to be travelling for two whole weeks and I decided to only bring two carry ons for a couple of reasons. This trip was going to be different than my last; we were staying maximum three days in one place, hopping on every mode of transportation possible, so a suitcase really wasn’t feasible. Also, with taking flights every few days as well, I did not want to have to pay to check a bag.

And I can say, that after surviving two weeks with only a backpack and a gym bag, for next time: I will bring even less.


How is this even possible (people have asked)? It is very possible and very efficient. My only suggestion for myself to better the experience of bringing so little, is to nix the gym bag (hard on the shoulders) and invest in a bigger backpack, like this one for example. 

Reason being: balancing two bags while running through bus stations in Scotland (this happened so many times you wouldn’t believe it) can be difficult. A backpack would have totally been worth it.

My roommates each brought a backpack and a small carry on suitcase. Again, easier on the shoulders than a gym bag but still having to balance two items is harder than one.

See below for the list of what I packed and some tips on how to pack so light!

Image-1 (39).jpgLayers, layers, layers

My main concern when going to England was the weather. It can go from cold to hot within minutes so I needed to make sure I brought enough layers. Pack clothes that go well together (my entire travel wardrobe consisted of pretty much only black, white and grey.) so that if it gets cold you can keep adding layers. My main outfits on my trip included: pair of pants, tank top, sweatshirt, and a jacket.

Sharing is caring

A great thing about travelling with friends: sharing clothes. I only brought one “going out” outfit for our trip but because my two other roommates did too, we all were able to share and switch up our outfits each night.

Only you will know

The good thing about hopping on a train every two days (is there a good thing??) is that you’re in a new place, every two days. That means, no one knows you wore those leggings three days in a row. No one knows that sweatshirt has gotten more life in the past week than it ever has. You’re the only one who cares (and as long as you take precautions, see point below) you’re the only one that knows.

Keep it clean people

If you can’t afford to do a wash (laundromats are expensive!) wash your clothes in the sink! Hostel living is not glamourous but it gets the job done. Also key: dryer sheets tucked into your bags (keeps everything smelling a little bit better). Make sure you separate your really dirty clothes from your semi dirty clothes from your unworn clothes, within your carry ons if possible. I tucked my really dirty clothes (think socks that have been worn just a few too many times) into a side pocket but you can also put them in ziplock bags within your travel packs.

Rollin, rollin

Roll anything and everything! Roll your t shirts, roll your jeans, roll all your underwear. I’m serious, it’s the only way to get everything to fit. Such a pain to do this every two days but worth it. I even folded my Longchamp bag when I wasn’t using it to make more room.

Hope this helps when you’re packing for your next trip!


Minimalism Challenge – Ten Things


As part of my minimalism challenge, I am doing a lot of thinking. Thinking about all the crap I own, all the junk that weighs me down, and all the things I could be doing if I wasn’t restricted by any of it.

As mentioned in one of my earlier posts, I am really inspired by The Minimalists. In one of their essays they challenge readers to write down the ten most expensive things they own and then the ten most enriching things (experiences included). It’s called the 10/10 Materials Possession Theory and it’s supposed to show you what really matters in your life. 

I decided to do the challenge and incorporate it into my Minimalism challenge because a lot of what I am trying to do is simply perspective. So if I can perhaps see my most treasured objects for what they really are, I can be more persuaded to get rid of them.

My ten most expensive items included things like my guitar and my favourite leather jacket – amongst a bunch of other crap I never really needed.

My Ten Most Treasured Items

  1. Trip to Europe #1 (2015 – with my three best friends. Inspired me to become more involved within my university the following year)
  2. Trip to Europe #2 (2016 – with my two best friends. Revealed to me that I can’t see myself living abroad, but reaffirmed my love for travelling)
  3. Christmas with my grandmother (2015 – my last Christmas with her)
  4. After supper walks with my mom
  5. Hockey games with my dad
  6. Lazy sundays with my boyfriend
  7. Going to the spa with my sister Terra
  8. Gym sessions with my roommates
  9. Going to coffee with my aunts
  10. Going for drinks with my closest friends

The point of the challenge is to see that none of these coincide. None of my most expensive items were necessary for any of those experiences to happen. Something to think about as I move forward with my own minimalism challenge. I encourage all of you to try this challenge!

Thanks for reading,

Shelbs xx

Minimalism Challenge: Technology


I’m the worst when it comes to my phone. Sometimes I have days where my thumb is glued to the screen, and others when I want to throw it out the window! I’ve come up with a few ways to minimize my usage and cut back on my technology dependence.

  1. Turn off push notifications (you won’t feel the constant pull to check your phone if you know you have no notifications)
  2. Delete apps from your phone (so that when you want to use it, you will have to go through the process of redownloading it… might lead to less usage)
  3. Unfollow people you don’t care about (that sounds harsh – unfollow people whose accounts don’t inspire you or who make you feel anxious or who don’t post content you enjoy…)
  4. No tv watching all day (this one will have to be on a Tuesday cause I can’t miss the Bachelorette…)
  5. Unsubscribe from email marketing (limits the temptation to online shop)
  6. Sort through your inbox until it reaches zero (so satisfying…)
  7. Go through photos on laptop and phone, deleting those you don’t need (no one needs 5 copies of the same selfie, each edited with a different filter…)
  8. Deactivate accounts (Did this one the other day with my instagram)
  9. Turn off smartphone for one whole day (perhaps a Sunday…)

Wish me luck!

Shelbs xx

The Minimalism Challenge



So I did something awesome today.

I am creating my own personal minimalism challenge.

Don’t freak out, I’m not going to purge all of my possessions and live out of one small backpack for the rest of my life. But I am going to start simplifying.

Because that is essentially the point of minimalism. Simplifying one’s life by discarding possessions/relationships/thoughts that don’t hold any value. By value I don’t mean monetarily, I mean intrinsically. Does this item/friend/mental state provide you with any benefit or not? Is it even harmful to you? These are the questions I will be asking myself over the next couple months as I move slowly into a more minimalist lifestyle.

Why am I doing this? I will probably be asking this once or twice (especially when I go looking for my favourite pair of pants – only to realize I got rid of them) along the way so I thought I would clear it up now.

Minimalism is a spectrum. I’m sure you’ve heard about certain people living off of 30 items or less and being totally content (like Colin Wright  who lives with less than 50 items). And then we have the total opposite (broadcasted to the general public with a little show called Hoarders). I’m leaning towards the minimalist side, because I’m fascinated and disturbed by how much meaning we give material objects. Someone’s value shouldn’t be determined by how much stuff they own. I don’t want to lead this all consuming lifestyle. I would like to start contributing to the world rather than simply taking.

CaptureThe reason for my inspiration is The Minimalists which has some really awesome essays about getting rid of physical stuff to open up the opportunity for more meaningful experiences.

I will continue to update my minimalist journey as it continues. Stay tuned!

Thanks for reading,

Shelbs xx