Sunday, January 28, 2018

We Carry our Fears

This was taken a year ago inside the bus.
This was taken while hiking the Appalachian Trail.


This is a term we hear in the hiking community a lot but I think it applies at home or on a bus (as in our case). When I first started hiking the Appalachian Trail I had at least five pounds of extra stuff that I thought I needed. As time went on I slowly got rid of extra pieces of equipment with each town stop. I can remember somewhere around the five hundred mile mark being at the laundromat washing our stinky hiker clothes and going through the stuff in my backpack. Hikers around me were laughing at some of the extra stuff I had carried up steep mountains for five hundred miles and never once used!  At that point I knew they were right and ditched anything that I hadn’t needed so far along the way. It seems to be the same with our everyday life too. How much extra stuff do you own? When we first moved on the bus we both downsized quite a bit. I thought we had done well and only kept what we needed. But as time went on I was continuously getting rid of stuff we just hadn’t used yet. Taking all of our stuff out of the bus to move the furniture around has been the equivalent of that laundromat visit at five hundred miles on the trail. I can’t believe all of the extra stuff we have carted across the country! I bet our gas mileage would have been better it I had ditched it 3500km ago! 

I guess it is a process. Right now as I prepare for a Pacific Crest Trail hike gear choices are on my mind a lot. I know that I won’t be starting out with five pounds of extra gear but I bet that even after hiking as much as I have there will be a few extra unneeded items that start with me. Why? Why do you think that is? 

When I talk to friends about this hike, they ask questions that sound crazy to me. “Do you have a gun?” “What weapons will you carry?” “Aren’t you taking more clothes than that?” From their perspective, they wouldn’t feel safe without a gun or a weapon or extra clothing. They would be willing to carry extra because it would make them feel safe. I did the same when I started the Appalachian Trail. The question is, what are my fears now? What am I choosing to put in my pack that  is just based on fear and not a necessity? What is in my bus right now that is based on fear and not reality?

The reality is that we as humans need very little to survive. Access to clean water, food (and not as much food as you think), a very basic shelter and a way to keep warm. Not much more than that. There are hikers who have sub five pound packs and hike crazy, long distances. There are vagabonds/ nomads who live their lives with what they can easily carry. 

I’m not suggesting that we go to these extremes. I will be carrying a few luxury items in my backpack (phone, battery bank, solar panel charger to name a few)  because I want to document my journey and I enjoy keeping in touch with friends and family. On my bus right now we also have luxury items. Things we both enjoy and want to keep. Tools, dremels and paints to create things come to mind but I know there are more. I want to eliminate the needless things. I want to eliminate anything I carry out of fear. What do you carry out of fear?

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