Shout out to Mardo

Gotta give credit where credit’s due.  I didn’t intuitively learn all these light packing techniques on my own; just like everyone else who has ever spent a lot of time honing a certain skill, I had plenty of help along the way.

Going all the way back to childhood, I was never at any point a heavy packer (I learned early from my parents).  In my early 20s, I typically traveled with one of those popular wheeled rectangular standard-sized carry on bags that you see just about everywhere nowadays.

But it wasn’t until a month-long summer trip putzing around Australia after finishing grad school that I really saw what was possible in the realm of bare minimum light travel.  I learned this through a guy named Mardo, a portly Australian librarian and part time Sumo who would be my roommate for those several weeks.  Mardo was a good half foot taller and 80 pounds heavier than me, but he managed to pack for his entire holiday in a single, small backpack.

Devil’s Marbles. Northern Territory, Australia; 2009.


Not a 50 pound monster sized hiking sack like what you see young backpackers hauling around Europe.  A regular, normal backpack like what many of us carried in high school.

I saw this thing and was floored in disbelief.  How could someone this size pack for this long of a trip in that small of a bag?  I was proud of my packing skills until I met this guy, saw how tiny his bag was, and realized I could learn some serious knowledge from this man.  Thus, the foundation for my ultra light packing obsession which years later eventually led to the inspiration for this website started with this eureka moment in Darwin, Australia.

So thank you Mardo if you end up reading this at some point.  My back muscles and sanity are grateful for your inspiration.



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