Corporate Career and Minimalism: What’s in the bag of a full time Tech Worker/ Traveller?

How many times have you traveled, and after coming back, realized you’ve barely used half of what you’ve packed? Now imagine yourself living in 5 different places in a year. On another thought: What would you pack in your bag, if you were to be traveling full time, moving to different places at a quick pace, and at the same time, working a full-time corporate job?

Over the last 2 years (out of my 10 years career so far), I’ve been living abroad from my birth country, living initially in Chile, to unscheduled long stays in Mexico, to weekly trips around Latin America, to moving to Turkey, a couple of months in Europe, and most recently, landing in Manila, Philippines for a while. All of it while working on a full-time job as an Operations Director for a multinational tech company.

digital_nomad_capadoccia
Early mornings in Capadoccia: not a bad place for a conference call.
digital_nomad_kas_turkey
Kas, Turkey – with the island of Kastellorizo, Greece, in the background.

One thing I’ve learned is that to be able to travel around the world while working on a corporate job is that you need to be practical and MINDFUL about what you’re carrying in your bag.

Packing for “what if” scenarios, such as “What if I have to attend a Gala event? I MUST have a tuxedo, for that matter”, is really not the definition of practicality, and the result will come down to expensive extra luggage fees, the hassle of dispatching bags, the back pains and, of course, unused stuff stamping their visas around the world, without leaving your bag.

With that in mind, what exactly do I carry inside my bag, and how many items I found to be necessary to keep my work, travel, and hobbies routine?

minimalist_belongings
All my material belongings fit in less than 4 square meters: 64 is the final count.

Ask yourself a question, before putting any item inside your bag (or even before just buying/ keeping that, for instance): What would happen if you lost that item, and you couldn’t afford to buy that item for a full year? If the answer is “Nothing” (and you’re being honest to yourself) then that item definitely shouldn’t be there at all. You’ll see the magical power of that question if you apply it to your wardrobe.

So, coming down to the breakdown of all my 59 items, let’s start with the clothing department.

Clothing

-8 t-shirts (6 black ones, 1 grey and 1 white)
-1 beach style shirt
-2 sets of pants (blue and black jeans)
-3 sets of shorts (all swimming friendly)
-6 pieces of boxers (underwear)
-8 pairs of socks
-3 pieces of thermal clothing (thermal shirt, pants and hiking pants)
-1 waterproof/ foldable jacket
-1 winter cap
-1 neck warmer
-1 Brazil football jersey
-1 pair of shoes (good for running, work, amateur hiking)

Tech

-1 MacBook Pro 2020
-1 Ipad Pro 2020
-1 Iphone 11
-1 pair of Airpods Pro
-1 Sony WH-1000XM3 noise cancelling headphone
-1 Kindle Paperwhite
-1 JBL Clip 2 Speaker
-1 Camera Sony Alfa 6400
-1 Cable bag with all above’s charging cables

Health/ Hygiene

-1 bag with tooth brush, toothpaste, deodorant, medicines and sunblock
-2 pairs of glasses (Sun and Reading)

Others

-1 Brazil Flag
-1 set of surfboard fins
-1 Elastic Resistance Band (workout exercising)
-1 passport
-1 wallet
-1 journal
-2 notebooks
-1 pen
-1 backpack Osprey Transporter 40 L (photo in the end)
-1 backpack Deuter 28L

In a full bag (and ready to go) setting, that’s how it looks, with both bags fully able to board airplanes, buses, or any other transport modal, without the need to dispatching it.

minimalist_bags
Full 2 bags: Ready to go!

Some of the decluttering comes with adjusting your lifestyle to avoiding the need for regular life purchasing, such as furniture. Living in furnished rental apartments, renting or borrowing a surfboard when at the spot, getting a ride, or “ubering” instead of having a car, having a Kindle, instead of buying physical books.

Personally, when I land in a place that I’ll be staying for a couple of months, some small needs come up as “necessary” to fill some of my personal tastes, such as a coffee machine or wine glasses (if not available), which I end up donating at the end of that one long stay.

It is a fact that the work environment that you’re deployed in will play a key role here. The difference of working as a Digital Nomad, to a startup manager, to an IBM director, to a court judge, will play a role in the clothing you might “need” for working purposes. But even in those scenarios, personalities such as Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson, and Barack Obama proved wrong the hypothesis of infinite attire owning. Simple looks can even support your decision-making!

Go for practicality, go with what you need, go with what you want, and explore decluttering not only from your unused objects – but most of all, start decluttering from what society is “expecting” from you! I’m sure your weight removal (both in the luggage room, and emotional) will play a major role in your daily life and mind space.

And you? How many times would you answer “Nothing” to the question “What would happen if you lost that item, and wouldn’t be able to afford it for a full year?”

Published by Gui Porto

Traveler, wanderer, minimalist, tech enthusiast. What am I thinking right now?

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