Walkin’ Weightless in Bali

There is a certain amount of pre-meditation that I go through every day. At this point, it’s almost automatic, the way I need to make swift calculations – of volume and weight – every single time I leave my place. And not only because I walk, walk and walk some more.

Aside from doctor’s orders to minimize the weight that I lift at all times (no more load-bearing activities, thank you very much!), I have grown accustomed to gauging, sometimes merely by sight, whether a given item goes into the mix – or stays behind. I’ve developed a not-too-precise, but pretty workable, selection process, by which I separate necessities from the rest.

Taking a cue from childhood, daily preps before walking out the door go something like this: I pack my bag and in it I put… first, the essentials: wallet, sunglasses, umbrella, camera, reading glasses, pen and of course… my hand-phone! That is usually IT. It’s not much, you may say; but for me, ah yes, it certainly is. In fact, on some days, it ends up being too much.

So imagine if I want to take along a small bottle of water; not always possible, so I make sure to guzzle down as much as possible before I head out. Or, say, I want to bring along my small notebook and pen/pencil; well, that will add a bit more weight; can I handle it or do I need to remove something else? What about sunblock? Mosquito repellent if I’ll be out at dusk? A hat maybe?

It ends up being an exercise in compromise; in weighing the pros and cons of one item vs. another; which thing can I most do without? Which one – say, water – can I buy along the way? I start every day with an almost imperceptible scan of stuff I think I need; then I reduce, reduce, reduce.

True, I’m a woman. But thank goodness, even in my teenage years or as a young adult, I’ve never had a penchant for make-up, creams and lotions; I’ve never been one to carry around combs and brushes, never been known to pack tweezers and nail scissors. So from this angle at least, my ability to travel lightly has been a blessing, unaffected by the invisible structural changes to my body.

Consider this: As an imminent lessee, I’ve had to visit the house – oops, MY house! – on numerous occasions, sometimes to oversee final construction work, others to measure rooms, walls and floor space. The first couple of times, I borrowed Made’s measuring tape. But then, I realized that it would be more convenient for me to have my own, partly because I’d be measuring in stores as well. Which brought me to the tipping point: how can I possible add the weight of a retractable measuring tape to my already-limited weight allowance?

I searched high and low, almost begging my friend David to lend me his teeny-tiny, almost weightless tape. But I chickened out; after all, David is a guy and we know that guys are loathe to part with their tools, tapes and cars. So I continued with my search.

And then, one fine day, while I was at Delta (supermarket), eureka!

So now, a yellow plastic Japanese-made tailors’ tape, blessedly falling into the lightweight category (hooray!), has managed to join the ranks of daily stuff in my bag.

And that, dear friends, because every ounce counts, is how I’ve yet again, despite taking on heavier responsibilities, I’ve still managed to maintain a penultimate lightness of being.

Oh my guardian angels, how you work wonders. leading me to the brightest (and sometimes lightest) solutions, every step of the way…

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