KIS(S)

Keep It Simple (Stupid).

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Beauty

Constantly reminded, and happy to have seen so many contrasts, we try and keep things simple even if we are back in Sweden and have decided to settle down for a while.

Here, in Northern Europe, much of the basics for living are so comfortable and it’s easy to get caught up in making perfect or comparing with others.

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Simple packing

After living with less things and constantly coming to new places, we try to remember to let life and the experience be in the center rather than making the outer things perfect. It’s more important, to us, to have fun, feel relaxed and meet ourselves and other with compassion and love. When caught up in the spinning wheel of “should have, could have, would have”, those basics are easy to run away from. Maybe we all of a sudden believe in the thoughts of all we “should” do, have or be, instead of asking ourselves what is important and joyful to us.

Keeping it simple can be done in many parts of life: how much foods we buy and store, what to pack for trips and traveling, when communicating with others, in the planning of activities and every day life, how we interact and play with kids (and how many toys, activities and things they “need”), how we design our home and how perfect we want it, social life, to what degree we engage in and at work, and more.

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Train ride to get to Gnesta

When packing to go north to visit my dad and extra mom, I found myself worrying about what to bring, and then I was reminded about the simplicity we’ve had during the long-time travels abroad; if something is missing – either borrow or buy what I need, or be without. And it’s very rarely so important that I can’t be without for a few days.

It also is very good to only unpack what we truly want and miss from the storage; there are many things that are still in the boxes! And I mostly wear the same clothes I’ve had in the past six months, only some warm hats, jackets and underwear is added.

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Today snow!

When in doubt, we think of our life and the friends and family in Sri Lanka where the expression ‘less is more’ felt more real than ever.

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Kitchen "cabinet" in Sri Lanka

//Wivan

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Packing dilemma

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Some of the last things

We’re getting ready to move on from Kuta to Amed and I just said “something needs to be done”.

Our packing is rather full, especially now when we only wear light clothes and flip-flops instead of the pants, shoes, sweaters and other warm stuff on our way here.

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My two backpacks

It’s fun though, because what we carry now has let us span from summer in Sweden to surf camp in Portugal, a motorcycle tour in Sicily, a week in Greece, late summer with animal care in France, to warm Bali with snorkling gear and climbing shoes. And we have work out-clothes and running shoes, plus we’re ready to meet spring in Colorado.

In here there are also documents, tablets, first aid kits, computer, yoga mat, coffee makers and water bottles. We have already gotten rid of so much stuff, so what we bring along really are our favourites.

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Anders' bags

But, when it’s getting hard to close the backpack, and when we’re thinking it’s a bit heavy to carry, it’s time to do a little adjustment. So, we’ve started thinking about it and discussing pros and cons. Let’s see where we end up with this.

Next time we post something, it’ll be from a place closer to the beach!

//Wivan

Concert, snacks and dressing for a party

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Before concert

Earlier tonight we found ourselves in a church, waiting for a concert to start. We’d been invited by friends of the host we’re staying at for the moment, and the only thing we knew about the concert was that the musician was to play a Celtic drum of some sort.

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Celtic music

It turned out to be a wonderful concert, with a German musician who played several different Irish instruments, and sang. Afterwards we were invited to take part in a mingel-party with great snacks and wine. All was free, and we were smiling at how nice things seem to turn out when we let them happen.

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Wonderful mix of snacks

And last night, we had invited some friends over for dinner, and together with our hosts we planned and cooked a really good, yet simple, meal that everybody was satisfied with. It’s so nice here, that coming together with friends and family really is important for most people and the step from thinking of inviting someone over, to actually doing it, is rather short.

At this dinner we also enjoyed to be able to use some of the pieces of our wardrobe that are for “party”, actually a simple way of just making our regular outfits go a bit more festive, or to spice everything up a little with a pretty necklace and a shirt.

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Wivan with a necklace and a headband

When it’s turned a bit cooler, like it has here now, it’s no longer warm enough for Wivan to wear a skirt or a summer-dress, so the long pants have to do.

Now we’re ready for another week of “workaway”; a few hours of work in exchange for food an accomodation. And at this place we’re really being spoiled and loved to the maximum!

// Anders and Wivan

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Anders cooking last night

Evaluating packing after 6+ months

Recently we celebrated being on the road for six months in a stretch. On November 2nd last year we moved out of our house, and on the 5th we drove from Sweden down to France.

A few weeks ago Anders brought up the question of our packing.

If you could bring anything, regardless of size or possibility to pack it, pick one thing from what we used to have in our house to bring on our future travels.

Some of Anders' music equipment

Some of Anders’ music equipment

The “exercise” was to see if there’s anything we miss so much, or that would be possible to find a solution to, that it would be worth trying to add into the packing or to arrange at future destinations.

Wivan came up with two things: the Vitamix blender (super cool high-speed blender), and our own bed.
Anders had one single thing he’d love bringing along: one of his guitars.

Wivan's Vitamix blender - now adopted by her mom

Wivan’s Vitamix blender – now adopted by her mom

After some consideration, Wivan realized she actually doesn’t want to have a blender in her packing, and the bed, well, that’s another story…

Anders has started looking at different options of smaller guitars that one can bring a bit easier than the big fancy ones.

So, what things/clothes/gadgets in our packing do we treasure the most?

Anders in his hoodie, Fjällräven pants and flip flops

Anders in his hoodie, Fjällräven pants and flip flops

Anders:
The high-quality clothes I wear every day: Fjällräven trousers, Icebreaker hoodie, Teva boots, Ullfrotté socks, and Hängmatta yoga pants. Not to mention the flip-flops from Reef with a built-in beer opener!
I am also happy for our tech-stuff: the HP-computer that’s like an entertainment- and connection center. My portable PlayStation Vita game, the waterproof Sony smartphone for photography and reading.
Apart from that I like to have the little Bialetti Moka Express to make great coffee wherever we are.

Wivan's famous orange trousers and grey wool sweater

Wivan’s famous orange trousers and grey wool sweater

Wivan:
The basics: high-quality clothes, jacket, boots and socks. Quality is King!
My thin yoga mat and the nail mat, Yantramattan.
The coffee-maker, definitely one of my favorites! And my waterproof Sony tablet that I use for reading books, blogs and other things. Scarves – used as blankets, over-pants-skirts and pillow covers.

Conclusion: We don’t have many things or clothes we haven’t used or will get rid of when packing for coming trips. Maybe some things will be exchanged for a clean, fresh version rather than the sweaty and stinky ones we’ve used daily since almost seven months…

Some things just don't get fresh any more...

Some things just don’t get fresh any more…

Stay fresh! // Anders & Wivan

Shopping for new stuff

In the past five months we’ve pretty much used the same clothes most of the time. What’s in our backpacks is what we bring along. In the car we have some boxes with car-related things and some basic groceries, but everything is stored in such a way that when we get on the next airplane we have everything personal in one large and one smaller backpack each.

Our backpacks :-)

Our backpacks 🙂

Actually we haven’t even used all the things we brought yet; our flip flop sandals are only worn once, and one of Wivan’s two skirts is now put away after only been worn once.

In just a few days we leave France to go to our next house sit in the Azores, a group of islands out of Portugal. When going through the things we won’t use, we have also found out what we’d like to add to our packing. Though we will be going to Sweden again in June and then have the ability to find some of our stored clothes and things, it seems like we’re thinking very differently now from what we used to – so we’d like to get some travel-friendly things for warmer weather. The plan is to spend next fall and winter in a warmer place.

Good things can be used in various settings...

Good things can be used in various settings…

Spring time seems to be good to find deals on last year’s collection of summer wear before all the new things get in stock. Wivan has ordered some new swim wear, a dress and a skirt online and both of us are getting a couple of new pairs of wool socks, wool is our latest favorite material for clothes! To put the online order together has taken weeks, really. Everything that goes in the packing is considered several times and we really don’t want to bring along useless stuff or clothes we don’t like.

Green Icebreaker sweater and gray Ivanhoe of Sweden

Green Icebreaker sweater and gray Ivanhoe of Sweden

And on the other hand – we really have used the wool sweaters we got last fall. Wivan’s gray one from Ivanhoe of Sweden just recently had it’s first wash ever. Earlier we just let it hang in the fresh air every now and then to freshen up. Wool is an amazing material! Anders’ green wool sweater from Icebreaker almost is a trademark of its own by now – he loves it and has worn it both in restaurants, for walks and snow boarding. So those were really good investments. You find the post about gearing up from October here.

Picture from Malmö last November

Picture from Malmö last November

What’s your favourite piece of clothing to bring on trips?

// Anders & Wivan

What to wear?

When we first got to the Workaway host we’ve stayed with for a week, we were told to “dress for painting tomorrow”. And we were thinking… What do we actually have that can be used for painting?

Dressed for painting

Dressed for painting

The thing is; our packing is rather compact, since we’ve got all of our clothes and belongings in a backpack each. We do have the car, wich opens up some bonus possibilities, but still, the clothes are limited.

Anders in his 'painting gear'

Anders in his “painting gear”, and also a helping paw…

We found out we’d be good in our relax/yoga clothes. So Anders is wearing his brown pants from the Swedish brand Hängmatta and a t-shirt from Craft. And Wivan’s using her comfy-pants bought at a Spanish market last spring and an ecological singlet from Kapp Ahl.

Anders and the dog having a little break

Anders and Benji having a little break

 

For outdoors, these clothes work as well, and Wivan likes taking her rain-pants over the blue comfy’s to stay dry. And we’ve got our really good boots to put on and thereby stay dry and are good with pretty much any type of work or weather.

Us in the middle of an outside working day

Us in the middle of an outside working day

Wivan started using her “fine long sleeve shirt” for outdoor work, since the wool-jacket wasn’t an option. And that’s just it, things and clothes need to have more than one function in order to really work when travelling. We’re learning by doing.

Today we’re spending the day in fancy Nice, probably taking the train to Monaco. And our outdoor-clothes, with pants from Fjällräven, will be the choice of the day. Everything can be used for any occasion, as long as you remember a trip like ours is not about fashion… 😉

Enjoying some painting

Enjoying some painting

//Anders and Wivan

Gearing up

Lately we’ve written about packing and what things to bring or not to bring on a journey. For us the challenging part is that we don’t know exactly where we will go in the long run, or what climates we will encounter.

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Trying out new shoes

So when thinking of this we have heard from others, tested ourselves and realized that layer on layer will be the thing for us. Meaning we won’t bring as many designated clothes but rather basic stuff that goes well together, and that can be worn in different situations and weather.

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Shopping for boots

Since we now see how much stuff we already have, we’re a bit cautious not to get too much new clothes. But, we have worn out our old jackets and boots so yesterday we went shopping for some new gear. We go for good quality that will sustain and things that we really like and can see ourselves in for a long time.

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Playing at the store

We also got a 100% wool sweater each. Wool is cool since it can stay fresh for a long time even without washing up, as long as one ventilates the clothes every once in a while.