Being a nomad makes you a minimalist and packing list expert, and that means applying multi-purpose thinking to your gear – including your trash.
“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” -Unknown
In most cases trash is just trash, but sometimes trash can be useful tools and even equipment. Living out of a backpack or in an otherwise highly mobile lifestyle, your immediate possessions and available functions are proportionately limited.
We perceive trash as things that no longer have a purpose or has lost its intended usability. As vagabonds, we learn to appreciate the value of the little amount of things we can carry and their functions. These limitations and inspirations broadens our thinking to what a “thing” can do.
I always have at least 1 or 2 plastic shopping bags as part of a my packing list.
Found everywhere and thrown out all the time, these are extremely underrated when considering what more they can be used for beyond taking goods from point A to B.
Silica Gel Packets
These little things come in a variety of shapes and forms in everything from OTC medicine, snacks, clothing to even electronic products.
Instead of throwing them out instinctively like most people, save them – it will reduce moisture damage to your gadgets and documents while keeping your clothes fresh and less damp.
By definition coins aren’t trash, it’s money no matter the denomination. But we Westerners often dismiss small change as if it is trash.
As a nomad in a foreign country, I always try to use every bit of change I get before leaving for another country. It becomes useless outside of its country and can’t be used for currency exchange like paper money, and it can get heavy.
I find it best to keep change around for buses as you often have to pay exact change or as they don’t give you any change, having to pay rounding up.
As a minimalist perpetual traveler with limited carry space it may sound strange to keep socks you won’t use anymore as part of your kit.
All you need is a single pair, old with a hole or two will be fine – something no one except you and your mother would touch. In this rolled up mess will be your stash; a roll of backup cash is perfect for this but anything could work that’s small enough.
Pack it along with your regular socks or laundry pouch and you’re good to go, ain’t foolproof but it does work.
I literally collect and keep every single ticket stub, event pass, transit card and receipt. I’ve been doing this since I started vagabonding in 2012.
This gives me a detailed account of much of my adventures, finances and otherwise forgotten memories. There’s also a highly practical reason; airline reimbursements for delayed / lost luggage.
In the few times my luggage has been delayed by more than 24 hours, I’ve received over $900 in compensation. Never lost, just delayed. I was able to get the max amount by providing proof of the cost of goods of my luggage contents and necessities purchased because I didn’t have my luggage.
As you may know, all of my gear is carefully selected to an almost obsessive level.
So instead, I only carry and refill any purchased bottled water then throw away when I’m traveling again. Instead of carrying a large container of empty space most of the time in my pack.
However, I do carry a micro water bottle in my day / go bag for emergencies at all times.