Packing Light: Thoughts on Living Life with Less Baggage

Packing Light: Thoughts on Living Life with Less Baggage by Allison Vesterfelt


Have you ever looked around at your life and wondered if there is something more?   Something more than nice clothes, a nice house, a good job?  Have you ever wondered if there is more to life than working hard to be comfortable?

Ally Vesterfelt found herself wondering these things, but instead of shrugging her shoulders and getting back to life as usual, she took a trip.  Selling everything that didn’t fit in her car, she and a friend left their comfortable lives and set off on a six-month adventure through all fifty states.  Along the way, Ally learned that living life with less baggage isn’t as easy as she thought it would be.

Packing Light is a beautiful memoir that invites readers into a grand adventure with many moments of self-reflection.  I couldn’t put it down for two reasons: I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next, and I couldn’t wait to see what would be revealed in me through Ally’s thought-provoking writing.  I found myself dog-earing pages so I could keep flying through the adventure and come back later to dive deeper into certain passages.

I could see my attempt to change perspective because of my health issues in these words:

Vision changes everything.  Sometimes we need to change locations in order to see something amazing, but sometimes it’s simpler than that.  Sometimes what we need is to change our perspective.  It’s not about ignoring expectations, or lowering them.  It’s about letting the events of our journey shape our expectations, even as they shape us.  If the location where you’re standing is less than energizing, check your vision.  Don’t abandon your expectations.  Try to see them from a different perspective.  

I felt encouraged by the challenge to do what I was meant to do:

When you are living your passion, people around who were once sleeping will be woke up.  That’s how you know.  When we become who we were made to be, we come alive, but the people around us come alive too.  Listen carefully.  Watch.  Are people responding?  Are they changing?

I felt convicted about my tendency to pretend like everything is fine:

I thought I was making it better by keeping it to myself.  I thought I was saving her from carrying the heavy weight of my baggage.  But even unspoken baggage is heavy.  There is no way to save people from it, to save ourselves from it.  Keeping it quiet just makes it heavier.

I could keep going, but I want you to have the experience of reading this book for yourself.  You can buy Packing Light: Thoughts on Living Life with Less Baggage on Amazon or at any major retailer.

You can also enter to win a copy below.

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  • Dena Norton September 3, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    Sounds like a great read!

  • Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine September 3, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    I always try to live with less baggage by tossing out things daily! It is a great way to rid some stress even though it may be hard to get rid of something, once it is gone within a few days I won;t even remember I ever had it!

  • Jess @ Floptimism September 3, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    I’m in the middle of trying to transition out of my parents’ home, up to a new state, while landing my first job. It’s been a crazy few weeks and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to calm down anytime soon, so I’ve been trying to handle it by keeping things simple, getting rid of physical baggage instead of trying to pack it up and move it with me…long story short, I think I would definitely enjoy reading this book right about now!

  • Tracie September 3, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    I have recently been feeling the urge to get rid of extra “stuff” in my life. This book sounds like it goes right along with that.

  • Colleen September 3, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    This book sounds like one I would really enjoy! Thank you!

  • Kaylin September 3, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    I decided to take a big adventure and big risk by applying to dietetic internships this fall. I hope I can get one!

  • Marisa September 3, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    I’ve been trying to “downsize” my stuff and live simpler. It’s much harder than I thought…mainly because of the temptations everywhere to buy MORE!

  • Emily September 3, 2013 at 11:51 pm

    My latest adventure has been moving across the country with my husband! Sounds like a great book.

  • Ally Vesterfelt September 4, 2013 at 7:29 am

    Alysa — thank you so much for sharing about Packing Light! I loved reading your thoughts and the comments from your readers. So glad we get to give one of them a book!!

  • Erika September 4, 2013 at 8:04 am

    Less is more! I’ve always felt this way but since having a child I feel even more strongly about it. I want him to appreciate what he has and to not want/need everything and so my husband and I have been getting less and doing away with things.

  • Danica @ It's Progression September 4, 2013 at 9:04 am

    This book sounds fantastic…I took a huge leap of faith this past Spring to go back to school to turn my passion into my career. It means that, while I’m in school and starting out, it’s going to be a tighter time financially for my husband and I, but I’m determined to make my dream a reality!

  • natalie g September 4, 2013 at 10:04 am

    I have been hearing a lot about her book lately and I would love to read it! I think I read an except on Donald Miller’s website. I need to learn how to live with less….

  • Heather September 4, 2013 at 10:07 am

    My greatest adventure was deciding to hop a plane and visit a guy I barely knew halfway across the country after one great date. He’s now my husband!

  • Holly September 4, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    We try really hard as a family to do and live with less *stuff*. We focus, instead, on experiences rather than things and this has been a wonderful way to shape our family values. Thanks!

  • Robin September 4, 2013 at 8:09 pm

    In college, I applied for a scholarship to study in Europe for a year. I ended up receiving the scholarship, and it changed my life forever. I made friends I am still close to 20 years later! Now, I just need to work on having less ‘stuff’ in my life…

  • Christine September 5, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    I would love to win this.

  • Hannah Thweatt September 6, 2013 at 6:16 am

    This past summer, my church group took a trip in which we would essentially be “living homeless” for a week. Since our ministry was a homeless ministry, our leader wanted us to be able to walk in their shoes. We could only pack what we could carry on our backs and we had to walk a little over a mile to our destination. It was life changing. Especially after reaching out to those who had even less than what I had on my back; to know that kind of poverty exists in the United States, right down the road from me. I learned I could do so much more with less.

  • Kelley September 6, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    I have tried to reduce the “stuff” in my life. I spent years working hard to buy things and now I see they are only things and I wish I had spent my money on experiences and making memories. I cannot change the past, but I can change my future.

  • Michelle September 6, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    I could definitely use a little self exploration right now, the book sounds great!

  • Michela September 7, 2013 at 7:11 am

    This short introduction to the book is very inspiring. I am looking forward to reading the book!

  • Kate @ Indulgent Wellness September 7, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    I like to think of myself as an anti-hoarder. I LOVE to make trips to Goodwill to donate items that aren’t useful to us anymore. I just have a tough time convincing my husband that certain things are no longer needed!

  • Katherine September 8, 2013 at 9:14 am

    I just hiked through the mountains of Peru carrying the things I needed on my back. Reducing stuff was a must!