Attachments and Appreciations

Ask any person if they could live with only two pairs of underwear for half a year and basically no luxury items at all (besides an e-reader if you are feeling fancy). I bet you, 9 out of 10 will look at you with horror spread across their face and respond: “But how are you going to  do without this and that?!” My simple answer always followed: “You’ll find out you will actually not need much stuff.”

The bare essentials

One of my many reasons/attractions for hiking the PCT this year, is that I want to experience what it is like to live with only the essentials crammed in your backpack. I feel like for me, it would create so much more headspace to not have to worry about all the ‘stuff’ I normally have. With thru hiking, it gets toned down to the bare minimum. Past weeks, I was endlessly editing my baseweight on lighterpack, trying to scrape off what I could scrape off to start with a decent baseweight. I went through a process of reclassifying items that I would have normally deemed as “the bare essentials” (aka my amazing yellow avocado camp flipflops or sleep leggings), but are now going on the “luxurious pile”. Unfortunately, they did not make the list.


I want to fully experience this simplistic way of living and I believe we have way more things nowadays than we actually need with the consumerism society. However, it did get me thinking about the things I am going to miss whilst on trail and am maybe more attached to than I initially thought. Maybe I will encounter missing things that I did not even know I loved in the first place. I love good food more than anything and where I live, the fruits are the juiciest you will ever have and the vegan desserts abundant. So this is something I will miss for sure! A soft roomy bed and a shower will be things I will be probably daydreaming about whilst in a delirious state under the scorching Southern Californian Desert sun.

The big but

BUT. And there is a big but to counteract this shortage of luxury items. Living out in the beauty and peacefulness of nature and experiencing life in all its simplicity: eating, sleeping, moving and connecting with people. This is something that will be a rare period in most of our lifes. Waking up with the sunlight seeping through your tent and the calls of birds, instead of your noisy alarm to remind you have to go to work. Having mountains, lakes, rivers and forests to look at instead of the city jungle of skyscrapers and traffic. Connecting with people over a meal (probably cold-soaked noodles but ey, a meal it is) around a campfire instead of slouching in front of the tv at night. For me, this is one of the biggest pulls towards hiking the PCT: simplicity and connection. Even though I already live in a sleepy town with a lot of natural beauty around me, a life as a thru hiker can not be easily simulated in your daily life.

Freedom in simplicity

For me, finding out what I am attached to and then overcoming that attachment by finding out I not ‘necessarily’ need it, adds to my feeling of freedom. The freedom of knowing I don’t need much to feel truly fulfilled and happy and that a lot of things just act as distractions from the important things in my life.

What are your attachments that you will miss, and what do you feel like you are going to appreciate most on trail?

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Comments 1

  • Karin Hament : May 18th

    Lieve Michelle,

    Hier een groet uit Zeewolde. Wat mooi om te zien dat je dit doet. Helemaal op jezelf aangewezen en leven met zo weinig. Eigenlijk hebben we allemaal niet veel nodig in dit leven. Wat zal deze ervaring je rijk maken. Ik wens je nog veel mooie, indrukwekkende momenten en vele warme mensen op jouw pad.
    Liefs Karin moeder van Sabine xxx


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