Sell Your Crap and Hike: A Rebellion Against Contemporary Society
As another Black Friday dawns on us we will see, once again, the images of people trampling over each other in a race to be the first to consume. Americans, like cattle, will herd themselves mindlessly through sprawling shopping centers. Consumerism in the United States is a never ending quest for “stuff”, for things we have no need for. We attempt to fill the void in our lives with next hot item. Advertising conditions us. In the normal world we are bombarded by advertisements whose goal is to make us feel a pressing need for their product. From the corporate names of football stadiums to the simple act of checking our mail, consumer culture attacks and entices.
Noam Chomsky once spoke about the 19th century labor unions and their fight against what they called the “new spirit of the age: gain wealth, forget all but self.” The “new spirit of the age” certainly holds it’s tight grip around our culture today. The trivialness of society is maddening. We live in a constant rat race, our only goal to get ahead of the next guy. Society expects us to be productive citizens, to serve, to be slaves to the economy. We are expected to work until we are old and there is no joy left in life. We are expected to put ourselves in debt until we die. Hiking the Trail is my rebellion.
On the Trail you step away from the material world. In the woods there is no television. There is no internet. There are no billboards. It is simply you, in the woods, with a pack. For six months this how you live. On the trail you learn what you truly need to enjoy life. The honest truth of the matter: you don’t need much. That is what is most freeing about the trail. You put away your worldly possessions and spend six months in oneness with nature and good people. All that junk you have at home? Who cares? Who needs it? We spend our entire lives accumulating to only die with regrets. But, no one ever died with the regret that they didn’t have enough shit.
The Appalachian Trail Will Radically Change Your Priorities
The lesson of minimalism is something we learn very early on the trail as we shed unneeded items to shave weight. Our priorities begin to change. As our need for material things disappear we begin to focus on ourselves. We have time for introspection and contemplation. In the needlessness and simplicity of trail life we find we are far happier than we ever were in the past. We can truly better ourselves. In the real world I had my accumulated junk. On the trail I had everything I ever wanted. Seeing what was over the next hill was far more gratifying than any career accomplishment or material gain. As my hike continued and as the trail restored my faith in humanity one thought rose above all, that this is how life is supposed to be.
So, I guess what I’m really trying to say is that it’s time to sell all of your shit and take a hike.
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This sounds like a plan! I’ve long wanted to do something like this. I don’t like junk and really don’t want anymore of it. I want to dump my crappy apartment too.Then put all my junk that i don’t sell in storage and get a friend or family member to let me use their address. Anyone got any advice?
“On the trail you learn what you truly need to enjoy life. The honest truth of the matter: you don’t need much. That is what is most freeing about the trail.”
Well said! Freedom and peace: the things you really want to find and keep.