Updated: Oct 18, 2019
"This is my experience on using the New York Times best seller, "One Year To An Organized Life" by Regina Leeds to enhance my quality of life and establish lifestyle routines. I admire her take on getting organized one week and one area at a time because I thrive on achieving little accomplishments in moments. I hope this inspires you to get the book, follow along, and establish your own lifestyle routines as well!"
- Cheli Njoku/The Cheli Experience LLC
I was so excited to see that June was focused on all things travel! No, I don’t cheat to review the chapters ahead in the book; I love the surprise reveal. With that said June’s chapter on Traveling Light was a pleasant surprise for me. Traveling is my favorite past time. It’s one of the main reasons I started the blog and influenced the name of my website - LiveWellExploreOften. I also travel often for work so traveling is a constant in my life.
I felt the subject on travel was very timely for June as a lot of us tend to travel more during the summer. The kids are usually on vacation from school and we are equally inspired by great weather to make vacation plans. The goal - reconnect, rejuvenate, explore.
I really enjoyed reading all the shared experience, wisdom, and tips the author had to offer. Especially her take on the “Travel Checklist” and tips on traveling light. Who is guilty of packing a bunch of stuff they never use on a trip? I’ve been guilty of over packing...and under-packing if you can believe that. I once underestimated my itinerary and weather and it affected my travel experience greatly.
On my trip to Marrakesh in Nov 2016 I did not take due diligence to make myself aware of the weather in the location i was staying in. On my day of arrival it was cold and I was outside taking pictures in an evening gown. The rest as they say is history. My cold got worse with each day and I had a full on fever by the time I departed for home. Despite my illness (...and I’m a grumpy sick person..) I had a memorable time and I can’t wait for my next visit.
I've been blessed with the opportunity to amass a lot of great travel memories and destinations - both local and international. However, the one that sticks out the most will be my 2014 trip to Jaipur India. It was brave, unexpected, giving, humbling, and rejuvenating. My intention was to volunteer as a teacher for street kids alongside the nonprofit organization Sankalp Volunteer. I came to give; but Jaipur gave me so much more back in return - in wisdom, authenticity, culture, love, and friendships.
I look forward to another experience volunteering in India soon -
this time with Shanti Bhavan. Especially now that my girls are getting older and more empowered.
Below I share some of the takeaways that stood out during my read on Traveling Light.
Make a Master Travel Checklist:
Create categories (Grooming/ Clothing/ Documents..) and start listing items within the categories. Its best to create the list on an app like Excel so you can tweak it over time, save the changes, and print if needed. As we grow, our lifestyle and needs will change. The master checklist I had for travel when my girls were toddlers is not the same as I have today. Also, my checklist for business travel will be a bit different from pleasure/family travel. So I invest in two checklists to keep things more intentional.
I started creating travel checklists and travel routines as a teen when I would prepare to leave college for my summer breaks in Nigeria each year.
My checklist was not just for what I was taking with me on my trip but also for what I would need upon my return back to school. It was consistent and reusable. Coming back to school to find all my essentials for dorm living already in place and waiting for me was priceless.
I also relied heavily on travel checklists and routine when traveling with my girls when they were babies and toddlers. Knowing how much “stuff” is needed to care for a baby, I couldn’t afford to forget anything I needed for the trip or leave anything behind on our journey back. I had a timed routine that I followed; especially if I was traveling on a work day.
It included my timeline action steps -
timing from work to daycare, timing from daycare to home, timing from home to airport (or road trip) and time spent getting through TSA. The timing kept me from feeling rushed and anxious.
Because if I assigned a timeline to each event leading to our final destination, I felt confident in my preparation and journey. It may sound a bit over the top but for me it was necessary.
I knew if I didn’t organize my trip in that manner down to the last action step, it could lead to poor time management which equals chaos and anxiety. With two babies? No Bueno.
My pre - scheduled car service pick up in Delhi Airport. A convenience if you’re not driving.
Maximize Your Outfits:
I pack minimal, staple, items that can be worn multiple ways to prevent over-packing. I also do this to ensure everything fits in my carry-on so I don’t have to check in my luggage if that is my goal. I thoroughly hate the feeling of arriving at my destination only to find my luggage did not make it. So I try my best if possible to use my carry-on luggage. If I know ill be doing some shopping at my destination then I may pack in a bigger suitcase so I’ll have room for my purchases. I could also simply buy another suitcase at my destination. I maximize my outfits by packing “uniform style”. 3 to 5 white and black tees, two pair of pants/skirt and a blazer can go a long way and takes up very little space in my suitcase. You may add a couple of scarfs to dress up those T-shirts and blazer combos too. I personally use a statement necklace as opposed to a scarf to give my uniform an added impact. This works perfect for me on work travel as well. I don’t want to overthink what I’m wearing.
I want my focus to be more on the business at hand.
Work Travel Basics
I‘m not just speaking of pro-active flight check in, but also in regards to where you’ll be staying. Your travel hosts and the conveniences you can expect..or not.
Always confirm expectations with your hosts prior to travel; be it the people you’re staying with or the hotel. This will help you identify what items you will need to pack as well as what will be provided for you - the essentials. This action step definitely helps with packing light and also with planning a reliable and intelligent itinerary for your stay.
On my first trip to Amelia island, checking in with the hotel manager prior to arrival helped me create a vision on things to do, where to eat, and hotel courtesy expectations. We also got a free room upgrade to a suite when she understood my daughters would be traveling with me!
By the way, that trip became my first Travel blog post on this website and the rest as they say, is history.
Thanks to the author's take on June’s chapter on Travel, I feel even more confident as I prepare for my upcoming July Summer vacation with a renewed sense on using checklists, prepping for departure and my return.
I’ll leave you with three more useful tips when planning your next trip below.
Remember, life is not a party you get invited to, you should already be there.
Enjoy the journey!
Check the weather report for your travel location as well as any existing travel location warnings you should be aware of.
Let your bank know when and where you’ll be traveling especially if it’s international. This way they’ll understand your spending is not a cause for a fraud alert which could end up freezing your account.
Try not leave any perishable items at home prior to traveling- bananas, plantains, left-overs, milk, vegetables/salads etc...
Respect your privacy and security. The whole world does not need to know you’re out of the country(local travel as well). Limit your social media transparency until you return.