Sometimes living with less will make you appreciate the small things in life.
We as Americans love stuff in general, the bigger the house, the nicer the luxury car, kids in designer clothes. We are an extremely materialistic society. In September, we spent almost a month in Europe. I realized something, less sometimes really is more. We packed exactly one carry on bag for each family member, no toys, and only one device per person. We quickly realized that our kids didn’t need all of the things.
I worried about not taking toys with us, but I was not carting them around for a month to six different countries. We allowed each of the kids to take a device with them, but really only for the plane ride. In the end we got first class on the way there, and three of us sat up there on the way home. The kids didn’t even touch them. Guess what, they didn’t even miss their toys. It wasn’t necessarily because we were going non stop either, some days we stayed inside because of the rain. My kids found board games in one of our Airbnb’s and played those for awhile. We couldn’t watch TV because it was in a foreign language. Sometimes they literally just sat and stared out the window.
My oldest noticed, “Mommy, we don’t hear bells ringing at home, smell baguettes, or just enjoy meals.” My youngest (7) skipped through the Jardin de Tuileries, as we sat around a fountain in a garden just people watching. We hiked up to the Neuschwanstein Castle, then took a horse drawn carriage down, all in the rain. My middle daughter actually skipped the entire way too. We strolled through tiny towns we stumbled across while driving, just breathing it all in. My kids were enamored with the architecture, the people, and the food.
We survived even though we didn’t bring enough clothes. We didn’t expect it to be quite as cold and rainy as it ended up being. Thanks to washing machines, and lines to dry our clothes it was completely fine. We learned to make do, and my kids learned to just go with the flow on things. We explored Paris in the pouring down rain, being the cool kids we are, we donned ponchos and kept on going.
Once in a lifetime trip, the only way to describe it, I gladly slowed down and enjoyed life. Nights spent eating for hours, walking miles a day seeing anything and everything, soaking up art and culture. If you have never been I recommend it, just to slow down and enjoy life. You will quickly realize you do not need all of the stuff we are so acclimated with here in the States.