When a piece of clothing or a pair of shoes is starting to wear out, I take a critical look and ask myself, "Could this be a one-way?"
A one-way is something that goes on a trip with me but doesn’t come back — on purpose. (The stuff that doesn’t come back unintentionally is just lost.)
Most recently, on a trip to Turkey, a pair of pants that were starting to get baggy became one-ways. I threw them out in a hotel room in Istanbul before I left, creating more room in my luggage for the stuff I bought in the Grand Bazaar.
On other trips, my one-ways have included pants, shirts, running shoes and a jacket. When my running shoes start to wear out, I buy a new pair and put the worn ones aside until my next vacation. Then I take the almost-worn-out shoes on a one-way trip.
One-ways can be purchased, too. Before the husband and I went to Russia and Scandinavia in 2007, I bought a very hideous but warm purple jacket for $6 from Goodwill. I wore it all over the place and then dumped it in Amsterdam.
(I was relieved to get rid of that jacket because it made me look like a giant grape. My husband wanted me to keep it because, well, it made me look like a giant grape. He said he couldn’t lose me in a crowd.)
The downside to my one-way strategy is that nearly worn-out or second-hand clothes can make you look a bit shabby. (Or grape-like.) The upside is that you’ll most likely never again see the people who think you look shabby. So who cares?
Books also make good one-ways, at least the ones you’ve finished reading. We’ve often left behind guidebooks in a hotel or walked them over to a youth hostel.
Spouses, iPods, headphones and passports do not make good one-ways. Money, on the other hand — that’s always a one-way.