I've always been an over-packer. When I went to summer camp as a kid, I'd back twice as many clothes as I needed "just in case." I used to have nightmares about showing up to places without my bags. I wanted to be prepared.
I haven't changed much. When I moved out of my dorm the day before yesterday, I was amazed by the amount of stuff I had accumulated. Clothes I'd picked up from a thrift store, books I'd intended to read, a dozen plastic razors, a stuffed Marshmallow Peep... Some of things I'd brought with me, but some I'd amassed.
I think that's bound to happen when you settle into a place. Stuff starts creeping up around you like moss on a damp wall. It comes whenever you start to belong somewhere, and that stuff ties you to the place even more.
This is a little jarring when you have to move everything out. Suddenly you question why you have four bottles of lotion or pairs of corduroy pants in three different colors. Suddenly your place is gone and all you have is your stuff.
In the Grand Canyon where I'm headed, I need to pack a summer into just a suitcase and a carry-on. That means two or three dresses, a handful of t-shirts, one sweater-- it means I need to box up what I can't give away and get by on less.
This is a good thing for me. I don't find my identity in the things I own, but I do find a sort of safety in owning more than I need. It's hard for me not to throw an extra couple tubes of toothpaste into the bag, or a coat. (I know I'm going to Arizona in the summer, but you never know...)
Cutting back to essentials means I can make my journey about what I'm going to do and less about what I need to bring. I'm stepping forward on a leap of faith, saying you know what? One hairbrush is enough.