Jason Nemer is at home literally everywhere, so his life fits into a suitcase.
Jason Nemer’s feet are submerged in a pool at Chalananda, a retreat center in Jalisco, Mexico that for all intents and purposes feels just like home. “I’ve been coming here for about six or seven years,” says Nemer, the co-founder of AcroYoga International, which offers workshops, events and instructor certification in acroyoga, a practice that combines acrobatics, yoga and healing arts.
The center sits in the village of Villa Corona, which is in a volcanic valley surrounded by mountains, lakes and the things dreams are made of. “We have thermal, hot spring pools, water slides, tons of butterflies and lots of migratory birds,” Nemer says as he fends off a push toward the pool from his friend Alexandra Ruiz, a fellow acroyogi who lives and works at the center. “It’s a very lush, amazing place.”
While the native of Mexico could easily make this his home, soon he’ll be gone, off to the next stop on his journey. “I haven’t been in the same place longer than three weeks in over five years, so I’m constantly on the move,” Nemer says. On his 30th birthday, shortly after establishing the AcroYoga International instruction and certification program with Jenny Sauer-Klein, the van in which Nemer was living was stolen and his idea of “home” began to shift. “From that point forward, I didn’t have any ties to any possessions or being in one place, and that got me on my global wanderings.” Six years later, in 2009, he left his permanent residence in the Bay Area and has been traveling full-time ever since.
Now 41, Nemer travels the world sharing his practice, and he cherishes the experiences and stories he gains more than any possessions. Just this year, he traveled to more continents than most of us will see in a lifetime. With his feet beginning to prune from being in the pool too long, Nemer recounts the places he’s visited since January. “I’ve been to Europe, Asia…didn’t do Middle East this year…Canada.” He trails off but starts again, under his breath, “Did I do South America? Yeah, I did Brazil this year, so did South America as well. Little bit of everything.”
Life out of a suitcase
Nemer lives out of a suitcase as he goes from friends’ houses to Airbnbs, hotels and residential spaces where he does teacher trainings or five-day acroyoga immersions. He’s become an expert on what to pack — and what not to pack — so we asked Jason to give us his top tips for traveling light, traveling smart and traveling with purpose.
1. Pack your best underwear.
“It might sound strange, but always bring some good underwear. You realize when you don’t have your good underwear. Start at the basics — good underwear and good socks go a long way. It really depends on the climate that you’re going to.”
2. Leave room in your bags for new things.
“I never want my bags to be full, because then I won’t have room to buy the local stuff. So if you’re thinking, ‘Should I bring this extra pair of pants?’ then buy a pair of pants in town from the guy who makes the pants on the streets. If you’re packing your holiday bag and you’re thinking, ‘Do I need to bring this?’ then one of the reasons why you should say no is to allow space for buying some local stuff. Chances are you’re going to get stuff that’s cooler, more unique and, depending on where you go, a lot cheaper.”
3. Value experiences over souvenirs and selfies.
“I put a lot of value on experiential things versus objects, and a lot of times it’s consumable. You know, buying gifts that people can actually eat or drink. I think the most important thing is experiencing things versus owning things, and a lot of times the more you own, the less freedom you have to be able to engage with different things.”
4. Pack essentials in your carry-on.
“You never know when they’re going to lose your suitcase, so in your carry-on bag have one change of clothes and all of your important stuff.”
5. Always carry a cigarette lighter phone charger.
“Anywhere in the world, even if the plugs are different, if you’re in a cab and you’re going from A to B, it’s always nice to know that you can charge your phone in any Uber and any taxi if you have a phone charger that plugs into a cigarette lighter. A lot of times nowadays, not having your cellphone is almost like being dead.”
6. Bring compression socks for the flight.
“While in the air, airplanes put pressure on your body and it’s a super-dry environment. You want to stay hydrated, you want to keep oils on your skin before and after, and a lot of times you get off a long flight and your feet can hardly fit back into your shoes because of all the blood that’s being pushed down to your feet. So, compression socks just help to alleviate the reality that you’re sedentary and in a high-pressure environment, literally.”
7. Less is more.
“The less you bring, the more potential you have to bring back. Don’t overdo it with your packing. It depends on who you are and what you’re doing, but you shouldn’t ever pack more than one outfit per day. Happiness doesn’t come from your things. Happiness comes from your experiences, and the lighter you enter into your adventure, the more present you can be with the magic that’s around you. Less is more.”