A thought about “Stuff”
Christmas evening, my mom and I sat on my childhood bedroom floor as I started to unpack and take inventory of my growing AT gear. Mom amuses me while I pick up each item, describe its utility, weight, and its comparison to other brands. I love talking about gear. It has become somewhat of an obsession. “Synthetic, down, wool, fill number, gortex, layers, too heavy, ‘unnecessary’, wicking, polyester…” you name it, I have probably talked entirely too much about it since my relationship with the trail began. I loved it when my mom looked at this pile of “stuff” and said, “It makes sense you care about these things… this is going to be your home.” She’s right.
One of the most fascinating things about acquiring backpacking gear is that you realize how cluttered your “real life” is. Why do we need so many shoes, especially ones that hurt our feet? Why do we need a another “little black dress”or why do we need so much damn hair product? What is this obsession with “new” when you already have an item that works perfectly fine? Why do we waste so much food? I have been doing a lot of “work” in this department. I have been cleaning up, donating clothes, giving things away to family and friends. It’s difficult during the holidays because we are constantly giving and receiving things that no body actually needs…My mom calls these cleaning spells “purges.” I do these most commonly during transitional phases in my life. I need to de-clutter my living spaces so I can focus on de-cluttering my mind.
I am absolutely intrigued with “tiny homes” (this housing movement where people live in abnormally small conditions–sometimes on wheels). It forces the homeowner to live minimalistic, to utilize space, to emphasize quality over quantity, meanwhile allowing you more liberty to live outside of your home–What?!? CRAZINESS *sarcasm*. We live in an era where we believe that bigger is better, we need the latest version of an electronic, we need 2 cars, 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms… we are wasteful and our environmental footprints are getting larger and larger, while climate change is presenting us with record breaking occurrences of natural disasters that should be taken as reminders that we are in fact, so small…
I will be moving form my beloved home in Charlottesville back in with my parents and 87-year-old grandmother on February 1st to save some money. I am scared about this transition, but this is just another one of those important “checkpoints” that brings me closer to starting the trail.
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