Optimism is more than a mindset–it’s a way of life that demands a high-level of positive thinking. Whether you’re facing a tight deadline at work or are dealing with a family emergency, keeping your spirits high can be a challenge–and a critical one.

Enter the summer months–where families are taking vacations, conferences are in full speed, and weekend trips to the beach are common. While traveling is often thought of as a relaxing getaway, there are many elements related to the activity that are not. Traveling can be stressful. Arranging for a pet or house sitter. Scheduling time off away from work. Deciding what to pack.


Collection of travel things


To keep the stress out of traveling, I like to adopt a mindset that strips the packing process down to the basics. It’s fast, it’s easy, and it makes the act of traveling far more enjoyable.

Skis, Boots, and Poles

In order to be successful at this model, one must simply consider the absolute essentials when it comes to packing. The metaphor–skis, boots, and poles, describe the essentials of skiing. Those three items are the only things you really need to ski. While you could probably brainstorm a list of twenty other items that make the time enjoyable, that’s not the purpose!

This mindset is not about packing just a single change of clothes. It’s a mindset that encourages the traveler to leave behind his or her current possessions and to venture out into the world with things they need the most.


Car on map photo


Positivity Beyond Packing

Making an effort to focus not on what to pack but what you’ll be doing on your trip will help prepare you to enjoy the experience and to leave behind the details that often cause stress. If you’re worried about not packing enough nice clothing to wear, shift your attitude: who will I see there to impress? Unless you’re traveling purely for business, give yourself a bit of freedom to dress and act simply on your trip.

Summer is a great opportunity for you to try out this philosophy. The next time you’re packing for a trip, keep your focus on the bare minimums. Don’t allow yourself to get caught up in the materialism of your life. Focus on experience. Focus on finding the people and the places that bring you joy.

As poet Mary Oliver writes:

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,

the world offers itself to your imagination,

calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —

over and over announcing your place

in the family of things.


Airplane in the sky