Your Packing Light Guide
Meet my Kiwi friend, Katherine, The 5 Kilo Traveller and fabulous resource for all things “travel light” and “pack light”! Hailing from Hamilton, New Zealand, she is the first in a new series spotlighting women over 50 rocking a new focus in their midlife chapter.
If you’re like me, it’s inspiring to hear about women our age seeking fun, trying something new, or sharing different perspectives on living our best lives.
And why not? We’ve earned the privilege to pursue new adventures. With careers changing or winding down and the kids out of the house, we now have the time to shift our attention to where we want to head next.
So grab your favorite beverage, sit back, and get to know Katherine and her philosophy that when we travel light, we travel best.
"Not all those who wander are lost" — J.R.R. Tolkien
The 5 Kilo Traveller Back Story
Like many women over 50, Katherine’s worn a few different hats: wife, mom, employee, volunteer, fundraiser, etc. Her main career has been in nursing, a noble profession caring for others’ physical needs. Oftentimes, there are emotional or mental needs that present, as well. So yes, hospital workers definitely need an outlet to refresh and renew their own spirits.
A few years ago, her daughter left home for university, which was a stark reminder that her son was not far behind, either. It was time to contemplate her imminent empty nest. How did she envision spending newly available time and energy on just herself for a change?
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The First Midlife Solo Adventure
It was a planned ladies trip in 2017 that led to the birth of The 5 Kilo Traveller. When a friend bailed on Katherine right before booking, she was momentarily disappointed. But then her next thought was, “What if I did this anyway—by myself?” And so she did!
At the end of a glorious four week tour in Croatia and Italy, Katherine, looked back with awe. “It’s not that I lacked confidence before I left. It takes confidence to venture out as a solo woman. There were things I had to figure out on my own.”
In fact, her confidence amped up as her trip progressed. And she also realized that she was never really alone because of how many people she connected with along the way. It was reassuring and delightful to encounter other like-minded women in search of adventures, too.
Yet experiencing unmetered time to simply be was truly glorious! Katherine knew she needed and wanted more of that. “Filling every minute of every day—it’s exhausting! Being busy and having so much stuff seems to be societal values. Is it a competition?”
It felt like a lifetime since 20-year old Katherine had travelled alone across Europe. So it was exhilarating to do what she wanted, when she wanted, once again. As she put it, “I was over being told what to do!”
But to ensure she could do things by herself…no husband to carry her luggage and no friend to guard her bag during a bathroom break…a massive amount of planning and a minimal amount of belongings were key. And so somewhere between creating her trusty spreadsheets and lightening her load, The 5 Kilo Traveller was born! Oh, and for my fellow Americans, 5 kilos is roughly 12 pounds.
"I love spontaneity as long as it's carefully planned." — The 5 Kilo Traveller
Core Philosophy: Travel Light & Travel Solo
The joy simply radiates in Katherine’s face as she chats about how liberating her travel light approach really is. Yet she is completely respectful of anyone’s preference to travel with more.
“I’m not here to tell anyone what to do. But if you want to travel light, here’s how.”
Traveling light was initially about the weight of her bag, but overall lightness became an integral part of her everyday life, as well. She focuses on clearing clutter from her mind, her wardrobe, her relationships…ahhh, a gal after my own heart!
But strictly from a traveling perspective, she firmly believes going solo empowers the traveler. When you are able to carry everything you need on your back, you remove restrictions. No waiting in baggage claim (or having the airlines lose your luggage!), no hauling wheeled suitcases up flights of stairs or down uneven, cobblestone streets.
Solo traveling accommodates a mindset reset. One can revel in unscheduled time to think, to reflect, and to breathe. Take a nap, go for a hike, linger at a sidewalk cafe…you alone get to choose what will restore your balance!
Katherine views her website and social media accounts as a creative outlet, not a moneymaking endeavor. She’s simply passionate about the power of packing and traveling light and so she loves inspiring others to do the same. Receiving feedback that another woman discovered the pleasure of traveling solo because of Katherine’s example is her greatest reward. Sounds like she’s found her happy place!
"Carry the lessons, not the luggage." — Saïd Amin
Katherine's Top Packing Tips
While her website and social media accounts are packed with a plethora of traveling light ideas, her favorite tips are as follows:
- Don’t pack “just in case” stuff. I carried a swimsuit all around Europe and it never once came out of my bag. I only swim in the hottest weather and it was Spring. Always check the weather forecast!
- Pack merino /wool clothing that doesn’t need daily washing. I didn’t learn this until after my trip. I washed everything after one wear, not realizing that I could air my merino t-shirts every night and wear them for several days in a row with no smell!
- Wear comfortable shoes that you’ve broken in at home. On my first trip, I packed black sneakers. I foolishly bought them just before leaving. I could only wear them when I didn’t have far to walk. Big mistake as they were also heavy and bulky in my bag.
Writing A New Midlife Chapter!
The Wrap On How To Travel Light
Why travel light? Why go solo? Katherine’s own words brings it all together:
“Your dream may not be to travel light or to travel solo. But I know that many women around their 50’s (make that any age to be honest!!) get to that point of thinking, “What’s next?”
I’m not here to tell you what is next, but that there is a NEXT…. a next stage, a next plan, a next dream. We just need to get off our chuffs and grab it by the scruff of the neck!
Listen to your heart. Do something for you.
Kick that fear out of the park! And GROW YOUR WINGS!”
Nothing thrills Katherine more than inspiring other women to follow in her footsteps. You can connect with her here:
Do you dream of shifting into your own new adventure? Head here for how to get started. Already on your way? Share what’s happening with a comment below …and thanks for stopping by!
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6 thoughts on “Travel Light: The 5 Kilo Traveller On How To Pack Less & Roam More”
I love Katherine and her light travelling philosophy. It just makes such good sense. And I always try to adhere to it when I travel myself. But she is the Queen! With a tip for everything.
(So funny that you had to interpret 5kilos for Americans. The 12 Pound Traveller doesn’t have quite the same ring to it!!)
I concur with bestowing the Royal title of Travel Light Queen 👸🏻 on Katherine! And yes, we Americans are not “metrically” inclined with our thinking so a translation was in order 😉
Good ideas from Katherine. I went on a solo vaca at 57 & it was interesting on many levels. Traveling light is a wonderful thing.
Very empowering to go solo, isn’t it? And yes, we try to travel carryon as much as possible. We need far less than we think. Though I do like options 😉
I absolutely loved this article Mary! You know I love to travel, sometimes without my husband due to his work. I suffer from overpacking. I say I’m going to do better but that “just in case” pops up several times and I’m tired of lugging around so much stuff.
I’ll head over to Kathryn’s website and follow her lead on my next trip to Europe coming up very soon.
You’re going to love Katherine, Jan! My packing weakness is the weight of all my personal products… skin and hair stuff. But she has terrific tips for that, too!