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Why Lists Are Good For You

Lists make the overwhelming manageable. This is why so many of us appreciate and even seek out to make and read lists. It also explains one reason why we’re lured to social media, as all the information comes to us in the form of a list, prioritized by an algorithm and fed to us in a digestible format.

As I mentioned in a recent post, I’m prepping for a trip to Lima, Peru to see my daughter Alexandra and experience a week in her warm city by the ocean with my sister-in-law and best friend along for the experience.

I’m making lists of things to pack and basking in the fact that I can take TWO checked bags for no additional cost. Isn’t that unbelievable?

One bag will have all the items I’m bringing to Alexandra from the States including books, clothing and small treats that aren’t popular in Lima, and the other will stash my stuff for a seven-day trip.

Right now, my list to pack includes:

  • 4 pairs of pants
  • 7 tops
  • Underwear assorted
  • Backpack with computer and items to read
  • Winter coat to stash in car in long-term parking in Chicago
  • Large scarf to use as pillow and cover for the airport layovers and on the plane
  • 3 pairs of shoes
  • Toiletries including makeup
  • Sunscreen: This item is really important as UV radiation levels are high in Lima all year round as this article over at Lima Easy attests. The article includes other useful information including climate as well.

I will be doing a photo shoot with Alexandra, too, so I’ll bring along clothing that will help me look my best. As a rule, I tend to pack light and wear the same clothes, jeans and pants, for more than one day. I live in t-shirts. But for this trip, I will bring some more fashionable tops to splash up my general frumpy look for the sake of the shoot.

The tips provided by Catherine McGloin over at Skyscanner in her article “15 of the Best Packing Tips Ever” is insightful. I will say I’ve tried the vacuum sealed packaging and found that I overpacked and ended up having a much weightier bag once I sucked the air out of my things. I understand how being wrinkle free is of value, but I say pack light and pack easy fabrics instead.

Even though the article suggests relying on digital tools to read books and magazines, I bring books and resist reading off a device, because I already spend so much time on them daily. I’ll bring less to read and focus on what I do bring. And if you don’t want to haul books and magazines home, donate wherever you are located at the time you complete the read.

I advocate bringing less as a rule, and here is my short list as to why:

  • You don’t have to think too much about what you’ll wear if you wear basically the same things.
  • Stuff doesn’t get in the way of your experience. With the promotion of minimalism as a worthy practice, taking off on a trip without all your usual baggage can be a release. Contending with a reduced number of items can open you up to the expanse of what is possible. Think of yourself as a world traveler capable of going the distance on less.
  • I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen travelers do the last minute unpack at the airline counter because their bag is too full. If you don’t bring it in the first place you won’t have to pay for it in money or headaches at the check-in.

Christian Eilers has a great list in his article “Why Travel Light? 10 Reasons to Pack Less” over at Dauntless Jaunter. I liked his point that it is good for your health simply because hauling is bad for your back and posture. Eilers doesn’t consider this point as big a deal, so he must be on the younger side. Believe me, as you age, weight matters. We haul around plenty on our body, so why be burdened in our baggage?

Other travel lists on my mind include:

The list of things I’d like to purchase before the trip:

  • 1 hardbacked suitcase
  • 3 pairs of pants
  • 2 tops
  • New pair of walking shoes

I plan to take reading for the trip which includes:

  • A massive amount of business tips and information my daughter Alexandra pointed me to on HubSpot
  • The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll
  • Perhaps my current selection for the Real Lives Book Club

So far on the list of things we’ll do in Lima are:

  • Visit museums: I’ve been to Lima three times now so it’s exciting to expand the list of museums I’ve seen in the city. This list over at Peru Hop titled “Best Museums in Lima: Our Top Choices” added ones I’d not seen or didn’t know about from prior visits. I plan to hit the Museo Larco and see the collection of ancient Peruvian pieces, and I’m always interested in old mansions and the colonial influences in places I travel which is why I’d like to see Museo Pedro Osma.
  • Eat really well.
  • See the ruins within the city called Huaca Pucllana. I’ve seen them, but it is a pleasure to wander around with each visit.
  • Eat really well.
  • Spend time basking in the sun and enjoying the ocean view walking El Malecón. I never grow tired of the walk and the view.
  • Eat really well.

If you catch the emphasis on eating, it is because Lima is known for its great cuisine. As much as I enjoy walking and sightseeing, I have NO problem hanging out and eating and doing lots of nothing. Alexandra and I have some business-related projects to attend to and I plan to do some shopping in the wholesale district for items for Storied Gifts Shop, so downtime will be minimal, but we will DO NOTHING when we can.

I’ll be bringing my phone and computer, too, even though I probably won’t write or work as much as I think I will at this point. That is where the journal comes in handy. I’m about finished with one and ready to start my next empty little companion which I hope to fill with lists for 2020.

Each year about this time I become inspired to create lists and plan for next year. Even if I don’t keep all of the goals or meet all the deadlines, I think I get farther by writing things down in lists. The bullet method of journaling should help me make more sense of my lists and track my activities to my goals better.

Not every list needs to be a to-do one. I talked about the most inspiring list that will make you feel better as you write it in a recent post here, and over at Today Parenting Team, Angela Fry offers up “33 Lists to Make When Life Throws You Off Your Block.” Angela’s list is creative with a number of great suggestions. I’m partial to her idea to create a list of favorite memories, and I’d add in the mix to write your list of most memorable meals so much so that I podcast with guests on the topic.

Lists make big ideas and concepts manageable and give us a visual itinerary of dreams, wishes, goals and fanciful fodder. Can you think of lists that are journal worthy? Please share your favorite. In the meantime, please keep your eyes on our shop for a selection of items we'll be adding from our visit in Peru!


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