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I was forced to pack ultra light, more so than I usually would, because I was taking my camera and most of my kit with me too. I deliberately took old clothes that I knew would get wrecked when I was trekking (and boy did they) so that I could discard anything that was beyond rescuing towards the end of the trip.
I can remember feeling hugely insulted by one girl in our group (the kind that dresses nicely and delicately and still wears make up even in the 40 degree plus humidity of the jungle) who looked me up and down and made a face as if to say "what the hell do you think you look like?"
I bordered on being angry and then reminded myself that in a country that has so much to see and so much to learn from, her main concern was with looking good; she was missing out, not getting it. Completely different values. Her loss, not mine.
But it is striking at times, how vastly different that people's values can be and if people like to stay in denial about the impact that their lifestyle has on the world, holding the thought that somehow they are immune and can carry on doing as they like, then we will stay right on course for massive collision.
In terms of what I took for 16 days in Thailand:
Camera kit (the heaviest of the lot)
Spare hearing aid and batteries
Basic clothes and swimsuit
Basic toiletries and bug spray/sunscreen
Hiking books and walking sandals
1 paper journal
Dry fast towel
Sunglasses and hat
1 Mobile phone
All in a medium sized backpack. My camera kit was in it's own bag that just fits into the on-flight baggage restrictions.
I didn't miss anything except hot showers! Cool water is refreshing but not when it gives you pins and needles. I just loved living basically, being around people, seeing beautiful places and not being bogged down with all that accumulated stuff that I don't really need. I associate sleeping on floors with a feeling of freedom.
I was homeless for 4 years on and off when I was younger and got used to living with the minimum possible, with my stuff all being stored in a friend's loft. A few years later I went to get all that stuff back, I hadn't missed any of it. I wouldn't be afraid to have to start all over again with nothing, it's an opportunity more than a loss, because I don't value 'things' in the way that so many others do.
Great comments In Wales. We really don't learn how little the "extras" matter until we give them up. I am sad to say that after many years living on the road, I never learned to pack as lightly as I wished. Now we live part of the year in a 3600 sq ft house and the rest in a 400 sq ft apt. I think we are usually happier with the 400 sq ft.
I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears
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