Just back from an incredible, exhilarating, exciting, exhausting trip to southern India. Saw beautiful temples, amazing wildlife (elephants, bison, deer, boar, monkeys, etc.), sublime beaches, and some of the craziest drivers I have ever experienced. And the food... the food!
There's nothing like backpacking through a country like that for 3 weeks to really put in perspective the amounts of STUFF I haul around with me - what I need, and what I think I need. For example, do I really need that extra pair of sneakers, or would I rather give up the couple of extra pounds in my backpack? Do I really need to wear a clean pair of pants every day, or can I make due with less?
Don't get me wrong - I'm not a minimalist, and I don't think there is anything wrong with having nice things. If that makes you happy (and there are certainly plenty of nice things/possessions that make me happy), go for it! I'm just saying that carrying around everything you need on your back for a few weeks really helps you think about what you need and what you want... and it helps you appreciate the little things, like a nice clean skirt, a newly washed T-shirt, or that travel yoga mat that you weren't quite sure you should bring!